Some Like it Hot: Pucker Butt Pepper Company
If you happen to be on Main Street in Fort Mill, South Carolina and see some folks walking around with a glazed look on their face and smoke coming out of their ears, relax, you haven't entered the Twilight Zone. You've just come across people who've been sampling the goods at Pucker Butt Pepper Company.
The amusingly-named Pucker Butt Pepper Company is located behind a small storefront at 237 Main Street in Fort Mill, and if you wonder how the place got its name, just go there and try their Reaper Squeezins hot sauce and you won't have to ask. Made with the infamous Carolina Reaper pepper, Reaper Squeezins is the hottest sauce that Pucker Butt makes. And while it won't really make smoke come out of your ears, it is a potent concoction not to be toyed with; a little goes a long ways.
It's great fun to browse at Pucker Butt Pepper Company where you can try a sample of sauces with names like Gator Sauce, Purgatory, Bacon Me Crazy Hot Sauce, Smokin' Racha, and if you dare, Reaper Squeezins. The sauces all have interesting artwork adorning their labels, making each package a nice souvenir for yourself or a unique gift item to give friends who like it hot. But there's a story behind the goodies that line the walls at Pucker Butt, and if you're lucky you can hear it from the potentate of peppers himself, Pucker Butt proprietor "Smokin'" Ed Currie.
Currie has a large pepper farm with over 100,000 plants to oversee, so he is not always at the Pucker Butt retail outlet. Smokin' Ed is the man who bred the Carolina Reaper pepper, named the World's Hottest Chili by Guinness World Records. Again, the best way to get an idea of the burn is to taste, but if you are the scientific sort, know that the Carolina Reaper clocks in at about 1.64 million Scoville Heat Units. Currie can talk all day long about the details of breeding, growing and harvesting peppers, but he's not afraid to open up about how his life really turned around, got saved if you will, by grace and by peppers. Currie was once a mess in many ways, uncertain about spirituality, severely overweight and battling serious disease. His curiosity about the correlation between lifestyle and disease caused him to delve into the health benefits of peppers, and while the process was a slow one, he is now healthy in all ways, 100-pounds lighter and a firm believer in eating pepper something-or-other every meal. If you see Currie at the store, don't be afraid to ask; he loves to share the story and information.
Those who acquire a taste for the heat of the Carolina Reaper will probably be amazed to know that Currie has already bred a pepper that is hotter. That one is going to stay under wraps for an indefinite period of time though, as Currie doesn't think that humankind is quite ready for it. But, if you're in Fort Mill and those folks with the glazed eyes now have flames coming out of their mouths, he must have changed his mind!
Pucker Butt Pepper Company products, including BBQ dry rubs, hot jellies, salsas, and seeds so that you can grow your own can be purchased online. Find all the info here.
For information to help plan a trip to Fort Mill go here.
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