Bhut Jolokia Chocolate: A More Subtle Ghost

Same super-heat, with smoky sweet undertones.

Scoville heat units (SHU): 800,000 – 1,001,304
Jalapeño reference point:
100 to 400 times hotter
Origin: India
Products and seeds: Bhut Jolokia Chocolate on Amazon

The infamous ghost pepper is a devil of a chili: A slightly sweet super-hot with a deceiving slow burn. And its cousin Bhut Jolokia Chocolate (a.k.a. ghost pepper chocolate) follows suit, but with a twist beyond its dark complexion. It has a more subtle flavor – slightly sweeter with a hint of smoky – that’s reminiscent of other “chocolate” chili varieties like chocolate habaneros and chocolate scorpion peppers. Used with extreme care, it’s delicious in extreme barbecue sauces, hot sauces, and marinades.

How hot is Bhut Jolokia Chocolate?

It’s on par with the typical red ghost pepper (855,000 to1,041,427 SHU), with a slightly lower minimum and maximum heat (800,000 to 1,001,304 SHU). In terms of our jalapeño reference point that’s 100 to 400 times hotter than a jalapeño. Obviously, the ghost – no matter the color – is not a chili to trifle with lightly. It’s used in military grade pepper sprays and even as an elephant deterrent in India.

The heat can be deceiving. Ghost peppers are infamous for their slow burn that build up over time. On first bite, you actually taste the chili’s unique flavors, but soon the heat upticks (approximately 30 seconds) and continues to build for 30 minutes before (again slowly) dissipating. Eating a ghost pepper of any type is a commitment to fire.

There are many questions over which is hotter, the chocolate ghost pepper or the typical red? On paper, the Bhut Jolokia Chocolate’s range is, as mentioned, slightly lower at both ends. But that’s a range, not the average heat. It’s often the case that the “chocolate” variety of chilies tend to taste slightly hotter due to them staying on the vine a little longer to reach their full mature brown color. Of course, a chili’s heat varies, too, on the geography in which it’s grown, the soil type it’s planted in, and even the plants that are grown around it. When it comes down to it, expect the same extreme heat with the possibility of the Bhut Jolokia Chocolate being on the upper end of its range a little more often.

What does a Bhut Jolokia Chocolate taste like?

The flavor profiles are somewhat similar, but the chocolate ghost pepper is a bit more nuanced in its profile. It’s a bit more fruity with a hint of smoke. You’ll enjoy these flavors before the hammer comes down with that slow burn heat.

How can you use this extreme chili?

As with any extreme hot pepper, great care should be taken with the Bhut Jolokia Chocolate. One simple touch can lead to painful chili burn, so kitchen gloves should always be used. Kitchen goggles, too, are highly recommended as simply being around the oils of the ghost pepper can cause that burning sensation.

With safety covered, start enjoying these super-spicy chilies in extreme hot sauces, BBQ sauces, and marinades. It’s also tasty in rustic Indian and Mexican dishes, providing just that hint of smoke. We also love it in smoky bean or beef chilies or stews. Know a little goes a long, long, long way. Just a sliver of any ghost pepper can be enough to spice up a pot.

Where can you buy Bhut Jolokia Chocolate?

Don’t expect to find the chocolate ghost pepper at your supermarket. The heat is so extreme that most general stores won’t carry it. Just like with other super-hots, look for farmer’s markets (you may get lucky if you have a local pepper farm) or (your better bet), pick up Bhut Jolokia Chocolate seeds, plants, hot sauces, and powders through online vendors.

Remember, if you decide to explore the heights of the pepper scale, do so with safety in mind. The Bhut Jolokia Chocolate may look mellow in color compared to the normal red variety, but it carries that same extreme kick. Explore with eyes wide open and err on less rather than more until you get comfortable with proportion vs. heat ratio.

UPDATE NOTICE: This post was updated on May 1, 2022 to include new content.
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