Mucho Burrito becomes first Canadian food chain to offer ghost pepper

Jordana Divon
Shine On

Hoping to attract spicy food lovers and daredevils alike, Canada's Mucho Burrito chain has rolled out its own Ghost Pepper burrito, making it the first national franchise to offer the spicy sucker on a menu.

"Heat-inspired dining is a hot trend right now, and we really wanted to spice things up for our guests," says Alex Rechichi, CEO and president of Mucho Burrito, in a statement.

It's impossible to forget the first time you watch a ghost pepper video.

These are the digital records littered around YouTube that typically feature one brave (or crazy) soul consuming a ghost pepper on camera, then spending the next five minutes contorting in agony as one of the world's hottest chili peppers burns its way through their digestive tract.

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Ghost peppers, more formally known as Naga Bhut Jolokia, grow primarily along India's northeast, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, but are now cultivated around the world. The three-inch peppers measure up to 1 million on the Scoville scale — the ranking used to determine a chili's spicy heat factor.

To put that in perspective, Tabasco peppers (yes, the peppers used in Tabasco sauce) only pull a ranking up to 50,000. To really put that in perspective, law enforcement grade pepper spray rates 1.5 million, making it a much closer neighbour on the heat scale.

This is a pepper so hot it's rubbed along fences in some countries to keep elephants away.

Although the Naga Viper recently dethroned the ghost pepper for its "world's hottest" ranking, public fascination with the blazing hybrid hasn't budged.

"With heat-seekers looking to try out new food adventures, we decided to do something that has never before been done and test their limits by bringing the ghost pepper to Canada for the very first time," says Rechichi.

As of Monday, diners can order the special burrito in two designations: Hotter than Hell and Wimpy. The special runs until Nov. 2, or perhaps more fittingly, Mexico's Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead.)

Both burritos come with ghost pepper bacon, ghost pepper-infused fig marmalade, spicy Mexican rice, salsa and a choice of meat — not that you will be able to taste much once that pepper starts to work its magic.

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While "Wimpy" certainly isn't by any standard, the Hotter than Hell is where you'll get your money's worth. Because in addition to all the pepper-laced ingredients, these bad boys get topped off with a splash of pure Ghost Pepper sauce.

Banking on the YouTube trend, Mucho Burrito is launching a daily giveaway contest in October, encouraging all attention-loving consumers to post photos of their Ghost Pepper burrito experience on the company's Facebook and Twitter pages.

But if you're going to attempt this feat of culinary masochism, please take note. Ghost peppers work on a delay, which means they get hotter as time passes. Many naïve consumers have gotten into trouble by underestimating the multi-coloured pepper's slow boil and biting off more than they can chew.

To remedy its effects, many suggest gulping down a carton of milk. If Mucho Burrito were really enterprising, they'd offer their Ghost Pepper burrito special with an enormous side of dairy.