LA Times: Objective Chiles

Objective Chiles

LA Times 1998

Every hot sauce claims astronomical “Scoville units,” referring to an old-fashioned and somewhat subjective system of evaluating chile hotness.  Now the hot sauce catalog company Mo Hotta Mo Betta is taking the issue out of the speculative realm.  It has submitted all its hot sauces to a laboratory for High-Performance Liquid Chromatography analysis.

The lab used by the San Luis Obispo-based mail-order company rates Tabasco at 2,140 Scoville units, El Yucateco Habanero (green) at 8,910, Dave’s Insanity Sauce at 51,000 and the infamous Mad Dog Inferno at 89,500.  A dry mixture of ground peppers comes in at 180,000, which must be pretty close to the natural limit.

True chile loons will just have to try Mad Dog Inferno and its like.  But, for the record, the numerical ratings are accompanied in Mo Hotta Mo Betta’s catalog by a “thermometer” scale, which doesn’t bother to distinguish among levels over 5,000 units.  Above that level, hotness is not so much culinary as, let’s say, recreational.

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