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All About Hot
Hot sauce gets its heat from the capsaicin in chile peppers, so when you douse your burger with Pain Is Good Batch #37 Garlic Hot Sauce you can thank those little capsaicin molecules for the burn, the sweat, and the euphoria that follows. Here's why and how!
Hot Sauce In Your Nervous System
Dip a chip nice and deep in Pain Is Good Batch #37 Habanero Garlic Salsa and eat it. After you're done screaming and you've had some milk, doesn't the world just seem like a mellower, better place?
You do get a high off hot sauce and salsa, and it's a natural high. The capsaicins trick the nerve endings in your mouth, nose, and throat into thinking you've just singed yourself. Your brain, eager to please, responds by releasing endorphins. It's the same high some people get from jumping out of airplanes, climbing mountains, or running marathons.
There's no evidence hot sauce is habit-forming, except in the sense that feeling good is habit-forming.
Hot Sauce In The Lab
Of course, being dedicated to the art of sizzle, we get more precise than just hot and hotter. Our guide is the famous Scoville unit. Dedicated chile-heads and hot-sauce aficionados live by it.
Wilbur Scoville came up with a way to measure the heat of chile peppers in the most straighforward way you could imagine. He ground up chiles, diluted different quantities of the powder in sugar water, fed the dilutions to people, and tested their reactions. Wouldn't you have liked to be there for that ...
Capsaicin in pure form is so potent that Scoville had to break out the zeroes; one part capsaicin per million rates 15 Scoville units. Once he had that starting point, Scoville wrote up a 1-10 scale of capsaicin concentrations, in multiples of one hundred, starting at 0 and topping off at a blistering 350,000. That's 35% capsaicin and 65% sugar water. Some milk over here, please!
Hot Sauce Heats Up In Juan's Kitchen
That was 1912, and the scale is still good, with one exception; our hot sauces busted the charts! The top of the scale, 10, goes to 350,000 Scoville units. Thing is, pure capsaicin rates at 16,000,000 Scoville units, and there's plenty of room between 350,000 and 16 million. Room for pepper spray and serious hot sauce.We broke the mold with Da' Bomb The Final Answer Hot Sauce at 1.5 million Scovilles. But then, we didn't stop there: As if it weren't enough having created the world's hottest sauce and a legend once, we had to take it all the way with The Source at an alarming 7.1 million. Unless you count pure capsaicin, that's the world's hottest sauce, folks.
Oh, and we don't tie people to a chair and feed them hot sauce to get our Scoville measurements. High-Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) gives much more accurate results, and no humans are harmed in the development of our products!
The Hot Sauce Is In The Peppers
How hot your hot sauce ends up being depends on your peppers. (Scoville's scale was intended to measure the peppers themselves 1, so little wonder it got busted once Juan started working his magic on those babies.)
At the wimpy end of the chart, the bell peppers in your garden rate a nice fat zero. Anaheim, Cherry, and Pepperoncini earn between 100 and 500. Kick it up to between 1,000 and 1,500 and you have your Poblano. Now we can start to feel the heat.
Jalapeños are hotter but still rate at the lower end of the scale between 2,500 and 5,000. Dry and smoke a Jalapeño, and you have a Chipotle and up to 10,000 Scovilles. Serrano, at 10,000 - 23,000, and Cayenne, at 30,000-50,000, pave the way to the big leagues.
We get serious with the Japanese Santake and the Thai, 50,000 to 100,000. The real bruisers, though, are the Jamaican Hot (up to 200,000), Scotch Bonnet (up to 250,000), and the Habanero at up to 350,000.
Of course, someone always has to break the mold (we should know). The Red Savina variety of Habanero is the current confirmed record-holder 2 at 577,000. Don't touch your eyes after chopping one of these babies. Better yet, don't touch anything!
Hot Sauce First Aid
Technically speaking, the different varieties of capsaicin are oleoresins. Not to put too fine a point on it, they're fatty molecules. As such, they're not soluble in water. When you overdose on hot sauce and try washing it out with water, you're not doing much except helping to spread the stuff around in your mouth.
Capsaicin is soluble in dairy products and, if you're over 21, alcohol (ahem). Milk works, and many say yogurt works even better. Rice or bread help soak up some of the capsaicin. Beer? Well, there's more water than alcohol in beer, so while entertaining is not very effective. You'd have to reach for stronger stuff (not that we're encouraging that). Or you could drink olive or vegetable oil if you really have the hot sauce desperation.
Is Hot Sauce Harmful?
Can you overdose on hot sauce? Well, yes and no. You'd have to drink most hot sauces by the gallon. Of course, if you have a medical condition, any kind of stress to the system can hurt you, including wind sprints, cliff diving, air travel, and hot sauce overindulgence. Consult your doctor.
Serious stuff like our Da Bomb sauces or The Source are not to be trifled with (and not to be used for practical jokes!). You can easily blister up your mouth, and, yes, there is a point where it can cause permanent damage. Enjoy the fire. Don't play with it.
Believe it or not, but there are people who do clinical studies to test heat levels. There is in-fact a lethal dosage, and there are concentrations where capsaicin starts to blister your skin. But we know we can trust you not to down a teaspoonful of liquid that burns blisters on your fingers. If you really feel like doing that, consult your doctor first! You'll thank yourself and us in the morning.
 Capsaicin content and heat level vary with the place, season, soil, and all kinds of other stuff. The ribs (the soft, pale parts inside the pepper) contain the highest consentrations. Dry the peppers, and you usually increase the heat. Juan's is on top of all that so you don't have to be.
 Indian scientists claimed to have measured the Naga Jolokia, or Tezpur, variety at a whopping 855,000 Scovilles, easily making it the world's hottest pepper, and by a wide margin. Watch out for the Francisca, too; rumor has it this is the new contender.
Original Juan offers a variety of products with varying levels of heat to tantalize any palate. Our products have been tasted by expert chileheads, fanciful foodies and diehard sauce-lovers. We have analyzed feedback from customers and critics to set appropriate heat ratings for each of our products. Each taste bud is not identical. However, we do find a rare occurrence where the heat rating and a customer’s palate disagree. If this happens…please accept our humble apology…and enjoy the confirmation that you are unique…perhaps even a little… “different”. Simply adjust on your next order and pat yourself on the back for expanding your comfort zone. And remember… “Pain is good”.
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