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India's Pepper Bomb Could Be Serious Weapon; 'It's A Dangerous Pepper'

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India's Pepper Bomb Could Be Serious Weapon; 'It's A Dangerous Pepper'

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India's Pepper Bomb Could Be Serious Weapon; 'It's A Dangerous Pepper'

Handle them carefully. They're dangerous. (Manish Swarup/AP) hide caption

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(Manish Swarup/AP)

A San Antonio restaurant owner who has lots of experience with the world's hottest pepper says the Indian Army shouldn't have any trouble "weaponizing" the fiery bhut jolokia chili.

"I can easily see that," Joey Prado, owner of Chunky's Burgers, told NPR's Melissa Block this afternoon. "I think we have a weapon here in the kitchen every time the guys forget to take them off the grill."

"We've cleared the restaurant out a few times because they lost track of how long they were keeping it on the grill," he added. "It's a dangerous pepper."

As the BBC writes, Indian scientists say they're working on a "chili stun grenade" using bhut jolakias.

The idea would be to immobilize the enemy with waves of spicy hot gas.

By the "Scoville Scale," which measures the "heat" of peppers, bhut jolakias are by far the hottest on record — they come in at more than 1 million "units." A jalapeno registers a relatively "cool" 2,500 to 5,000 units.

A few people in the world can handle the bhut jolakias, known as "ghost chilis" in India. Last year, a 26-year-old mom in India set a world record by eating 51.

But at Prado's restaurant, where there's a "4-Horseman Burger" on the menu that you have to sign a waiver to buy because it includes the ghost chilis, he's seen his share of customers in agony.

"Tears coming down, the nose is running, the lips are bright red from being on fire. They're just coughing (and) having trouble keeping it down," Prado says. "It looks like ... their puppy died or something because they're just crying."

Here's some of the conversation he had with Melissa:

India's Pepper Bomb Could Be Serious Weapon; 'It's A Dangerous Pepper'

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Much more will be on All Things Considered later today. Click here to find an NPR station that broadcasts or streams the show. Later, the as-broadcast version will be posted here.

Chunky's Burgers, by the way, starred in a recent episode of The Travel Channel's Man v. Food: