It’s official: A chili exists that’s hotter than pepper spray. The Carolina Reaper, a.k.a. the hottest chili in the world, peaks at 2.2 million Scoville heat units (SHU)—or 140 times hotter than a jalapeño and 200,000 SHU hotter than your average canister of pepper spray.
But while hot peppers might end with the Carolina Reaper, they don’t start with it—as the YouTubers below can attest. The five of them have personally felt the burn of a few of the other hottest chilis on record.
If you think you think you can handle the heat, grab ‘em while they’re fresh, because October marks the end of chili season.
ChilliDave of the Clifton Chilli Club vs. the Naga Viper (Up to 1.349 million SHU)
How bad did it burn? “Well, chilis don’t physically burn—that’s the chemical in them called capsaicin. It still felt like having a mouthful of molten lava, though.”
How’d you feel that evening? “I did suffer a little from what we call ‘capsicum cramps,’ a burning sensation in the digestive tract that causes cramping.”
Any tips for dealing with the heat? “Definitely use toilet paper infused with Aloe Vera.”
Alex Ernst vs. the Trinidad Scorpion Butch T (Up to 1.464 million SHU)
Why did you decide to eat the Butch T? “Honestly, I just wanted to see how hot one of the hottest peppers in the world was. It was a terrible experience.”
How did you prepare for the challenge? “I ate a big meal beforehand, which you should definitely do if you’re going to eat this pepper. It coats your stomach and helps lessen the burn.”
Would you do it again? “If someone paid my rent for a month.”
Neil Smith of the Hippy Seed Company vs. the 7 Pot Douglah (Up to 1.853 million SHU)
Did you expect the chili to be so hot? “It was actually a total surprise. I hadn’t tried the pepper before making the video, and it definitely surpassed my expectations.”
What were the next 24 hours like? “I could pinpoint where the pepper was in my body, and everything I ate or drank tasted metallic until my sense of taste came back.”
Is there anything you shouldn’t do while eating hot chilis? “Don’t drink water or beer afterwards. All they do is move the pepper’s oils around your mouth and throat, making the burn feel even worse.”
Nikki vs. the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion (Up to 2 million SHU)
What did you expect going into the challenge? “I can usually handle a lot of heat. I had already successfully eaten the Ghost Chili [1,041,427 SHU], so I knew it would be really hot, but not that hot.”
How bad did it burn? “It was actually so spicy that I puked. That didn’t feel too great either.”
How much would we have to pay you to eat another one? “I’m not gonna lie: I would eat another one for $1,000.”
Paul Parker of Dude! Where’s My Challenge vs. 10 Carolina Reapers
Why 10? “I just wanted to find out how badly they would mess me up. They were far worse than I could have ever expected.”
What were the next 24 hours like? “I was sweating profusely and had frequent toilet breaks that felt like a kettle was being poured on my bottom.”
What did you do to ease the burn? “I ate an entire tub of ice cream, which would have been tasty if I didn’t burn all of my taste buds off.”