2,009,231 Scovilles. Capsicum Chinense. In February 2012, the 2012 New Mexico Chile Conference, in association with Jim Duffy of Refining Fire Chiles, announced that the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion is the hottest chili pepper in the world. Clocking in at 2,009,231 Scoville Units, this chili pepper is beyond blistering.
The Moruga Scorpion is indigenous to the Moruga region of Trinidad and Tobago.
In the study, the overall mean heat was measured at more than 1.2 million Scoville Heat Units, the highest measuring at over 2 Million SHU. Belonging to the collection of "super hots", the Moruga Chili Pepper is used in a number of hot sauce products.
The research team in New Mexico planted about 125 plants of each variety of the current “hottest peppers,” including the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion, the Trinidad Scorpion, the 7-Pot, the Chocolate 7-Pot and the previous record holder, the Bhut Jolokia.
Once the plants were grown and the peppers matured, the researchers chose a number of fruits from the plants. They dried them and ground them to powder. They were then tested for their levels of Capsaicinoids.
The capsaicin of these blistering peppers actually wore through multiple pairs of latex gloves that the researchers wore while picking the peppers. They went through about 4 pairs each.
One of the most significant points that chile pepper experts are making is that the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion is a non-hybrid, stable variety. Therefore, it produces more quantity and grows more easily that the Butch T, for example.
It is estimated that “chile heads” will soon start buying seeds and plants to grow their own Moruga Scorpions. Although few are willing to actually eat a whole chile, (and it’s not recommended), the Moruga Scorpion is said to have a great flavor that, if used in smaller amounts, could make deliciously addictive barbeque sauce or hot sauce.
Because the heat of all peppers can vary greatly, many also say that the growing conditions in New Mexico where the study was conducted are perfect for producing scorching peppers, and that it would be difficult to replicate that pepper heat in most other growing conditions. Therefore, people growing them at home probably wouldn’t get peppers on the high end of the Scoville rating, but would they really notice? It’s still going to be scorching and it should have the same flavor, so it could still be worth it to grow them at home.
The red moruga plants grow tall and upright, and produce a good number of chilies, which mature from green to orange to bright red. The pod skins are not smooth but bumpy, reflecting their hornery heat, and are similar in shape to habanero or scotch bonnets, which are more familiar.
The previous record holder was the Trinidad Scorpion Butch T chili pepper.