Animals

Meet Ed Currie, the Creator of the World’s Hottest Peppers

Not just one, but two of the world’s spiciest peppers are the product of one individual. Ed Currie is that man.

He has spent decades perfecting the world’s most potent, exploding chili peppers. He is the breeder of the Carolina Reaper, the pepper that, until 2023, was the spicier in the world. He surpassed his own record this year, using Pepper X, a pepper considerably hotter than before.

Find out more about Ed Currie, his company, and the incredible peppers he has produced below.

Who Is Ed Currie?
Early Days

West Bloomfield Township, Michigan, a moderately populated Detroit suburb, is where Currie was born and reared. He was a student at Mount Pleasant, Michigan’s Central Michigan University. He was born in 1963, and in the 1980s, as a young adult, he began researching peppers. He was interested in the potential interactions between peppers and many factors, including lifestyle and illness.

Growing peppers isn’t the greatest idea in Michigan. Since peppers are highly susceptible to the cold, Michigan has a severe and protracted cold season. Currie traveled to South Carolina, where the environment is more conducive to pepper growing, in order to continue his pepper endeavor on the road. Currie started experimenting with pepper crossbreeding in South Carolina.

The ’90s and Onward

Currie’s pepper idea had taken off by the 1990s. Currie has produced over 800 pepper plants in just ten years of cultivating his pepper fascination. He had resorted to cultivating plants at his friends’ houses in addition to his overflowing yard! Currie had a purpose, but it was a hot one!

Ten years later, Currie and his spouse, Linda Currie, acquired a farm to fuel his unquenchable enthusiasm for cultivating peppers. Currie can produce more than 100,000 pepper plants on the property. This dwarfs his eight hundred plants from the 1990s! In an effort to spread his passion for peppers to a wider audience, he founded his own business, PuckerButt Pepper Company, in 2003.

Currie would produce some of the hottest peppers on the planet in the decades that followed. His love for peppers is evident, as he consistently breaks his own records. Oh, and he’s now known as “Smokin'” Ed. It’s clear why the nickname came about!

PuckerButt Pepper Company
Founding

Established in 2003, PuckerButt Pepper Company was based in Fort Mill, South Carolina. Currie just had to start sharing his love of peppers with everyone since it was such a broad interest.

The focus of their business is on knowledge exchange regarding organic agricultural methods. They use the greatest agricultural techniques when they grow, package, and produce the peppers that the company uses. The mission of PuckerButt Pepper Co. is to inspire and educate pepper enthusiasts worldwide. For this aim, they sell sauces, snacks, and peppers. They also advertise pepper recipes.

Products

Ed Currie’s amazing peppers can be found through several different channels thanks to PuckerButt Pepper Company. The company’s main products are spicy sauces and seeds. That’s accurate! This company sells seeds directly, so you can grow your own insanely hot peppers at home! Nevertheless, Pepper X is currently protected by a patent that prevents the company from currently selling such seeds. However, you are allowed to transport the really hot Carolina Reaper seeds home!

Along with these extremely spicy peppers, PuckerButt Pepper Company also provides chocolates, jams, sauces, and other delicacies that are infused with various substances. Even Carolina Reaper beef jerky is sold by the company!

What is Crossbreeding?

Ed Currie produces his peppers by breeding various pepper varieties together to get ever-more-spicy results. Crossbreeding is the process of fertilizing a different type of pepper with the pollen of another pepper variety. The crossbred pepper that emerges from the farmer’s fertilization of the two peppers will have seeds.

Plant cycles make crossbreeding and cross-pollination slow processes. Not the skin, but the seeds of the first pepper produced since crossbreeding contain the new variety of pepper. Thus, if two bell peppers and jalapeños are crossed, the offspring will continue to taste like the originals the next year. But in that particular year, the pepper that absorbed the pollen from the other pepper will have seeds that resemble a bell pepper and jalapeño together. The offspring of the crossbreeding must be raised by sowing those seeds.

Currie crosses-pollinates his peppers using the paintbrush method. Using a paintbrush, he extracts the pollen from one pepper and applies it onto the other pepper. It’s crucial that this procedure takes place before peppers actually start to pollinate. Since peppers normally self-pollinate, Currie’s crossbreeding prevents this from happening. Cross-pollination is not possible if the pepper has already self-pollinated.

The Carolina Reaper

The Carolina Reaper was Ed Currie’s first pepper to break a record. In 2013, this famous pepper set a record for the “World’s Hottest Chili” according to Guinness World Records. The Naga pepper from Pakistan and the La Soufriere pepper from Saint Vincent are the parents of the hybrid pepper known as the Carolina Reaper.

Scoville Heat Unit

This pepper has an intense heat level. Scoville heat units are a unit of measurement for heat, also known as pungency. Scoville heat units are a measure of a chili pepper’s level of spice. Since capsaicin is the compound that gives peppers their heat, the presence and concentration of capsaicin in a pepper are often measured using Scoville heat units.

Pure capsaicin has a heat level of 15,000,000 SHU, while bell peppers have a Scoville scale of 0 SHU. A spectrum of possible SHUs exists for each variety of pepper. For instance, jalapenos have anywhere between 2,500 and 8,000 SHUs.

How Hot is the Carolina Reaper?

The Scoville heat range for the Carolina Reaper pepper is 1,400,000 to 2,200,000 SHUs. The Guinness World Record book recorded the pepper’s Scoville heat value at 1,640,000, yet since then, other Carolina Reapers have been evaluated with even higher levels of spice. But 1.64 million was sufficient to overtake the record!

Pepper X

The record for spicier pepper in the world has now been surpassed by Pepper X, which took the top spot from the Carolina Reaper. Luckily, Ed Currie was also responsible for creating this pepper!

The Scoville heat unit measurement for the Carolina Reaper is between 1.4 million to 2.2 million, but Pepper X has been recorded at 2.69 million. That is quite warm!

In 2023, Pepper X surpassed the Carolina Reaper to become the world’s spiciest pepper. Since then, PuckerButt Pepper Company has included this pepper into some sexy new goods! PuckerButt sells a variety of spicy sauces that make use of Pepper X’s level of heat. Due to patenting, Pepper X seeds are not currently available for purchase.

Where Can I Watch Ed Currie’s Peppers In Action?

Ed Currie is well-known for his peppers. The PuckerButt Company makes a hot sauce that is used in the popular YouTube game show Hot Ones. “The Last Dab,” the PuckerButt hot sauce featured on the show, was developed specifically for its usage. Celebrities are interviewed on Hot Ones while consuming ever-hotter hot wings. The sauce used on the last wing is called “The Last Dab.” It is 2 million SHUs hot according to Scoville heat measurements.

Ed Currie has also made a few appearances on television. He had appearances on the Netflix programs We Are The Champions and Dirty Jobs. Ed Currie’s spicy peppers had to show up in one of those chili pepper episodes.

In summary

Ed Curries is a hot pepper maestro. He has spent more than 40 years perfecting some of the world’s spiciest peppers. He keeps breaking his own records and, over time, develops an increasing number of fiery chili peppers. Check out Pucker Butt Pepper Company and support both his passion and his peppers. Take caution, though! This is not a pepper for the weak of heart!