How Hot Are 'Thai Dragon' Peppers?

comments (13) September 19th, 2010

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ChrisMcLaughlin Chris McLaughlin, contributor
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My Thai Dragon plant has some little guys that are nearly ready to harvest, some that are still green, and even some little flowers.Click To Enlarge

My Thai Dragon plant has some little guys that are nearly ready to harvest, some that are still green, and even some little flowers.

Photo: Chris McLaughlin

Yesterday my son discovered a new level of hot. We had a family birthday celebration at our house and everyone was out back when I pulled several 'Thai Dragon' peppers off of my plant. I had grown these heirlooms for just such an occasion. Several brave, heat-loving souls were told to take just a small bite of the pepper - just enough to get an idea of the amazing heat packed into those small babies.

Using just the very end of their front teeth, each one of them carefully bit off a teeny tip off of a pepper. It was great fun to see them consider it for a second, then watch their eyes get big as they held their mouths open in between saying some version of, "OH! There it is!". While nodding and fanning their faces everyone also agreed that behind the heat was some pretty darn good flavor.

We were all agreeing that Thai Dragon was hotter than any pepper any of us had tasted before. Hotter than Tabasco and cayenne for sure. Much, much hotter than Jalapeños. Just about that time in walks the man-boy; my twenty-year- old son. I handed him a short pepper and he said that he was just going to pop the whole thing into his mouth. I warned the kid not to do it.

Of course, he is twenty and we kinda wondered if he would do it despite the warning because twenty-year-old boys always have something to prove. Somehow we all ended up in a semi-circle around him. Everyone took turns reminding him to only take a small bite. And that young, manly-man threw the whole thing into his mouth and chewed.

We waited. Then I think we saw his head catch fire. He ran to the sink and put his mouth under the faucet. Then he grabbed the milk container, poured it into a bowl and plunged his tongue into it. Some of us were shouting what we sounded like burn remedies and some of us were just laughing until we couldn't breathe (I'll let you decide which one I was doing). My son headed for the swimming pool and stuck his whole head under water. He brushed his teeth, ate some bread, and then carrots. My family is a sick bunch, we just couldn't stop laughing. Ahhhh, good times.

Nothing
stopped the burn. Okay, that's not entirely true; eventually time did. Anyway, just how hot are Thai Dragon peppers?

Thai Dragon Measured in Scoville Units

Capsaicin is the substance in hot peppers that give them the burn. Different pepper varieties have varying amounts of capsaicin, and therefore, heat levels. The capsaicin is measure in Scoville Units. For instance, Bell peppers and Banana Wax peppers are tasty but mild, and are "0" on the Scoville scale because they contain no heat. Some peppers are considered mild, but can have a little bite bringing them to about 90 units on the scale. These may be called spicy, but still not what is considered hot.

It's not a perfect scale because heat can vary from plant to plant, season to season, and so on. But generally speaking, a Jalapeño is anywhere from about 2,500-5,000 Scoville units. And Thai Dragon is somewhere between 50,000-100,000 units. Lots of fire in that 2" pepper my son popped into his mouth, yes? Believe it or not, he could have done worse. Both Scotch Bonnet and Caribbean Red are twice as hot as Thai Dragon, and Habeneros reach up to 325,000 Scoville Units.

 

*I grew Thai Dragon heirlooms. However, there are Thai Dragon hybrids available, as well.


posted in: hot peppers, Thai Dragon peppers

Comments (13)

dave092162 writes: Chris: I live in S.E. Pennsylvania near Philly and this was my first year growing the Thai Dragon and I must say that aside from the Habenero, this one gave me the best yield out of the many other types of hot peppers that I have grown over the years.....Bar None !!! In my opinion, the Thai along with the Long Red Slim are THEE BEST for putting on sandwiches and hoagies as either variety provide the Perfect amount of complimentary spice and heat. By the way, I am glad I found the site while googling "hot peppers"
Posted: 10:22 am on September 18th
Charley1 writes: I love growing Thai Dragons. After i get a lot, I wash them and then dehydrate them for 3 days. After that, I use an old coffee grinder and turn them into powder. I said spice shakers and I put the powder in them to use to shake on my food. I give many for Christmas presents.
Posted: 3:29 pm on April 5th
Dragon_Pepper writes: So anyway I have some jalapeno peppers growing right now indoors, I started them from seed way late in the season (all the plant places didn't have em So I Planted) anyway propagating this way is quite frustrating. I'm trying to get flowers by cycling the lights. LOL

I've had some really killer yield years with my peppers outdoors, but I had to go from nursery to nursing HOME this year! Ya better be laughing My electric bill sure is.

Alright peace, I'm done, hope I didn't wreck the whole thread.


Posted: 9:37 am on December 19th
Dragon_Pepper writes: Welp I had a nasty signup/posting glitch. I probably look like a NEWBIE lol

Too much loaded in the buffers, then suddenly everything is signed up, validated and posted all at once.

My dear BLESSED MODERATORS, Feel Free to DELETE the extras, YOU have my blessing. I'm sorry, though NEXT TIME, I Promise to restart firefox if it starts to appear to load the buffers up again like that. It was just me pushing hard, okay I admit it POUNDING hard to get in. With such little time I desire to spend online, I would rather be out in my yard if all truth be told.


Posted: 9:37 am on December 19th
Dragon_Pepper writes: Welp I had a nasty signup/posting glitch.

Too much loaded in the buffers, then suddenly everything is signed up, validated and posted all at once.

My dear BLESSED MODERATORS, Feel Free to DELETE the extras, YOU have my blessing. I'm sorry, though NEXT TIME, I Promise to restart firefox if it starts to appear to load the buffers up again like that. It was just me pushing hard, okay I admit it POUNDING hard to get in. With such little time I desire to spend online, I would rather be out in my yard if all truth be told.

So anyway I have some jalapeno peppers growing right now indoors, I started them from seed way late in the season (all the plant places didn't have em So I Planted) anyway propagating this way is quite frustrating. I'm trying to get flowers by cycling the lights. LOL

I've had some really killer yield years with my peppers outdoors, but I had to go from nursery to nursing HOME this year! Ya better be laughing My electric bill sure is.

Alright peace, I'm done, hope I didn't wreck the whole thread.


Posted: 9:35 am on December 19th
Dragon_Pepper writes: Hey friends, I did like this 20 year old kid, just the tip, and spent the next 47 minutes doing like described, milk water beer ice cream cheese nothing helps. I almost spewed my coffee reading this this morning, I HAD TO SIGN UP AND POST.
Posted: 9:19 am on December 19th
Dragon_Pepper writes: Hey friends, I did like this 20 year old kid, just the tip, and spent the next 47 minutes doing like described, milk water beer ice cream cheese nothing helps. I almost spewed my coffee reading this this morning, I HAD TO SIGN UP AND POST.

I bought my first Thai Dragon Pepper, but ever since the first one, I have one come up as volunteer each year.
I don't think "The Scoville Scale" or Rating the Heat of Chile Peppers is good. They don't mention my Thai Dragon Pepper maybe hotter than say Habanero. I have seen a better way to test.
Called, "High-Performance Liquid Chromatography", measuring exactly how much capsaicin and dumping it's fingerprint.

Posted: 9:19 am on December 19th
Dragon_Pepper writes: Hey friends, I did like this 20 year old kid, just the tip, and spent the next 47 minutes doing like described, milk water beer ice cream cheese nothing helps.

I bought my first Thai Dragon Pepper, but ever since the first one, I have one come up as volunteer each year.

I don't think "The Scoville Scale" or Rating the Heat of Chile Peppers is good. They don't mention my Thai Dragon Pepper maybe hotter than say Habanero. I have seen a better way to test but the name is hard to remember.

Called, "High-Performance Liquid Chromatography", measuring exactly how much capsaicin and dumping it's fingerprint.

Now... Where do ya even find one? heh heh happy growing! Be careful with the peppers or pay 47 minutes with mine. I always wondered why the rodents don't touch my volunteer pepper. Tomatoes, big bites out of them. Peppers, not a scratch.


Posted: 9:17 am on December 19th
pajerry writes: WELL THIS COMMING YEAR IM GOING TO TRY GROWING SOME GHOST PEPPERS , THESE ARE THE HOTEST ONES YOU CAN GET ,
WHY IM GOING TO GROW THESE I DONT KNOW ,,,,,,,,,,,,THE SAY THERE ABOUT 2,000,000 THE 3,000,000 UNITS
Posted: 6:07 pm on October 2nd
ChrisMcLaughlin writes: That's a great article! Also, I've read that the super-heat these hot peppers bring make your nerve-endings feel as if they're in true pain. Therefore, endorphins are produced like mad giving pepper-heads an actual "high". Makes sense.
Posted: 1:08 pm on September 21st
Ruth writes: From today's New York Times, http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/21/science/21peppers.html
Posted: 9:25 am on September 21st
ChrisMcLaughlin writes: I think 'Thai Hot' is another variety of the "Thai series" (as I know think of it). One thing is for sure - these peppers make an art out of heat!
Posted: 6:39 pm on September 20th
Ruth writes: Chris, I've noticed that all my hot peppers this year are much hotter than the ones I grew last year. I don't know if my Thai Hots are dragons, but they sure are fiery.
Posted: 2:51 pm on September 20th
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