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The Carolina Reaper Origin Story

Updated: May 14

the origin story of the carolina reaper

Although there are 50,000 types of peppers grown globally, the majority aren't "hot" peppers. Spicy Chili peppers only make up about 4,000 of those. If you have ever researched or looked up the most popular or hottest chili peppers, then you've probably seen or read about the Carolina Reaper. And if you're a fan of spicy food, then you're most definitely familiar with the Carolina Reaper.

The Carolina Reaper pepper is famous for being the hottest pepper in the world (at least until recently when Pepper X over in August, 2023). But what do you know about the Carolina Reaper's origins? Who created the Carolina Reaper and when was it created?

Let's answer all your questions about the origins of the Carolina Reaper and everything else you'll want to know about this crazy hot chili pepper.

Who Created The Carolina Reaper

group of carolina reapers

The Carolina Reaper was created by Ed Currie, the founder of PuckerButt Pepper Company. Currie has been enjoying hot chilis for decades. He got into Chili peppers when he went away to school. Ed expressed in an interview that it was his way of staying healthy with all those wild parties going on around him.

Not only did Currie get into peppers as a way to stay away from parties and stay healthy, but there are also studies suggesting that capsaicin (the active ingredient in hot peppers that makes them spicy) is helping fight against certain cancer cells.

In an interview, Ed stated that "My family dies from cancer a lot," Ed explains. "So I've been researching how not to die."

Where Does The Name Carolina Reaper Come From?

The Carolina Reaper was originally named the HP22B. However, it is now more commonly known and called the Carolina Reaper. The name comes from two things, the state Ed Currie lives in and the unique look of the chili pepper.

The first part comes from the PuckerButt Pepper Company, which was Ed Curries company based in Fort Mill, South Carolina, and also home to Ed, South Carolina - hence where the 'Carolina' part comes from.

The second part of the name "Reaper" came simply from the shape of its tail. You see, these hot peppers have a scythe like tail.

The Carolina Reaper has a very unique shape which has a curly like tail on the end. Which resembles the scythe from the Grim Reaper. Hence where the second part of the name comes from.

How Did The Carolina Reaper Come To Be

In 2013, the Guinness World Records named the Carolina Reaper the hottest chili pepper in the world, with an average of 1,569,300 SHU (Scoville Units). But it all started in 2012 when Currie set out to create the world's spiciest chili pepper.

The Carolina Reaper is a combination of a La Soufriere pepper which is from Saint Vincent and the Naga Viper pepper which is from Pakistan. Ed said that while he was creating the pepper, he wasn't really trying to make the world's hottest pepper. He was just trying to make something good. It just so happens that it turned out to be extremely HOT.... the world's hottest.

However, as we stated in the beginning of this guide, the Carolina Reaper is no longer the world's hottest pepper. Pepper X took over in 2023 (another creation of Ed Currie).

What Does the Carolina Reaper Taste Like?

The Carolina Reaper is not only hot but also flavorful. It has sweet and savory undertones of fruit, cinnamon, and chocolate. So, if you can get past the heat, it's actually a pretty delicious chili pepper.

How Hot is the Carolina Reaper Compared to Other Common Peppers?

scoville of carolina reaper infographic

On the Scoville Scale, which is the scale that measures the heat of chili peppers, the Carolina Reaper ranks in at an average of 1,569,300 SHU.

To give you some perspective, a jalapeño pepper rates anywhere from 2,500 to 8,000 on the Scoville Scale.

So, as you can see, the Carolina Reaper is significantly hotter than your average jalapeño.

What Are Some Commonly Asked Questions About The Carolina Reaper

Now that we have a good idea behind who made the Carolina Reaper and where it comes from, let's talk about some of the most common questions about the Carolina Reaper.

Is the Carolina Reaper Still the Hottest Pepper in the World?

Yes, as of 2022, the Carolina Reaper is still the hottest chili pepper in the world according to the Guinness World Records (officially). Unofficially, there is a competitor called The Dragon's Breath chili, which is supposed to have a SHU of about 2.4 million.

What Are Some Other Hot Peppers?

The Trinidad Moruga Scorpion is another hot chili pepper with an average heat of 2 million SHU. In addition to that, the 7 Pot Primo is also very hot with heat of 1.4 million SHU.

How Long Does It Take for Carolina Reapers to Grow?

It takes Carolina Reapers approximately 80- 90 days to grow.

What Stops the Carolina Reaper Burn?

The only thing that works is casein protein, which is found in milk. Whatever you do though, don't try to drink water or alcohol, as these can make things even worse. You should also avoid wiping your mouth or touching it with your fingers, as you can spread the oils of the pepper.

Carolina Reaper Hot Sauces

There are two hot sauces that we really want to highlight here that are made with the famous Carolina Reaper pepper. The Roasted Garlic Reaper and the Reaper Unleashed.

mikey v's roasted garlic reaper hot sauce

The Roasted Garlic Reaper hot sauce packs some serious flavor and heat. It's the hot sauce you want when plain ol’ hot sauce just doesn’t do it anymore.

You can virtually use this Carolina Reaper hot sauce on EVERYTHING! It's especially good with pizza and pasta!

mikey vs reaper unleashed hot sauce

Next, we have the Reaper Unleashed. If you're looking for lots of flavors but also some great heat, then the Reaper Unleashed is going to be your go-to hot sauce. Mikey V's Reaper Unleashed has the perfect balance of flavor packed with tons of heat from the infamous Carolina Reaper pepper.

It won't necessarily melt your face off, however, it will satisfy even the pickiest chili heads with its unique flavor.

Carolina Reaper BBQ Sauces

Who doesn't love BBQ? AND the best way to enjoy it is with the best spicy BBQ sauce. Here are a couple of BBQ sauces made with Carolina Reaper peppers that you don't want to miss out on!

burnt ends reaper gold bbq sauce

The first on our list is the Burnt Ends - Reaper Gold - Carolina Mustard BBQ Sauce. The Carolina Mustard BBQ Sauce is a take on the traditional South Carolina mustard based BBQ sauce.

Since the Carolina Reaper pepper originated from SC, it just made sense to use it. It's great on pork, chicken, corn dogs, chili dogs, or anything that you would normally eat with a mustard sauce.

mikey v's hall of fame red raspberry reaper bbq sauce

Next is the Mikey V's Hall of Fame - Red Raspberry Reaper BBQ. This BBQ sauce is a bold sauce with hints of raspberries that are heated up with the infamous Carolina Reaper Pepper!

This sauce is sure to please the palettes of all BBQ sauce lovers and Chiliheads!

Last, but certainly not least, we have the Burnt Ends - Reverse Sear - Texas BBQ Sauce. This is an in-your-face version of traditional BBQ sauce.

This BBQ sauce is made with both the 7-pot Primo, which gives a delicious initial punch, and the Carolina Reaper, which continues the burn on the back end. This one might still burn tomorrow.

Other Carolina Reaper Products to Try

mikey v's spicy reaper pickles

If you're a pickle lover and want to add some heat to your next jar, then this next one is for you. Mikey V's Spicy Reaper Pickles are the hottest pickles in the world and they are just simply amazing!

They are of course made with Carolina Reaper peppers and the dills are crunchy with each bite.

Are You Ready to Try the Carolina Reaper

red carolina reaper pepper

Now that you know the origin story behind the hottest chili pepper in the world, the Carolina Reaper, there is only one more thing to find out.

Are you ready for some serious heat and brave enough to try it?

If you think you're courageous enough and ready to try some explosive flavor and heat, try one of our hot sauces, BBQ sauces, or pickles made with the Carolina Reaper. We double dare you!


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