Brain Strain chili peppers were created by North Carolinian chili grower and horticulturalist David Capiello. Since their inception in 2010, they have become known as one of the most scorching chili peppers available on the market, and are widely thought to be the spiciest of all the 7 Pot chili pepper varieties.
Brain Strain ranks at a massive 1,000,000 to 1,350,000 Scoville Heat Units (SHU).
Plant Lineage And Cultivation
7 Pot chilies (the parent plant of Brain Strain) are known for their incredible spiciness, with even the most common varieties reaching a whopping 1,000,000 to 1,200,000 SHU.
In addition to tongue-blistering heat, 7 Pot chilies are known for their complex fruity and nutty flavor, which compliments bright flavors, such as citrus and vinegar.
Capiello began his journey towards creating the Brain Strain chili pepper when he received 7 Pot chili pepper seeds from a chili grower based in Trinidad.
With his initial crop of chilies, he selected the plants that produced the spiciest fruits and used selective breeding to save pods and seeds from plants that had a certain desired trait (in this case, extreme, mind-melting heat).
Preparation Guidance And Flavor
David’s crossbreeding experimentation resulted in one of the hottest chilies in the whole world.
Because of the 7 Pot and Brain Strain chili pepper’s pure, unfettered heat, safety precautions do need to be taken when preparing these peppers. Wear both goggles and rubber gloves to ensure your eyes and skin aren’t transported to a world of pain.
As you can infer from the necessity of protective gear, you only need a really minimal amount of this chili pepper to give your food a really strong kick.
We suggest you avoid frying the Brain Strain variety of chili pepper, as there is some anecdotal evidence that when in combination with hot oil, the high capsicum content can nearly aerate and can make the air feel ‘spicy’.
As you can imagine, getting aerated chili capsicum in your eyes, up your nose, or in your lungs is not a pleasant experience, so unless you have an astonishingly well-ventilated kitchen, just give fried Brain Strain chilies a miss.
Like all the other 7 Pot chilies, the Brain Strain variety has a more complex flavor than just the initial spice that hits.
They have a rich smoky and gnarly fruity taste, making them a great addition to sauces and stews (but still – only in very tiny amounts).
If you think you’d enjoy the Brain Strain chili, you can purchase powdered versions on Amazon, or from specialist chili/ culinary vendors, which means you don’t have to grow, touch or prepare the peppers.
Appearance And Growth
Despite the initial assumptions you have likely made about the name, the chili pepper is called ‘Brain Strain’ not as a descriptor of the visceral feeling you will likely have after eating one, but rather, describes the chili’s appearance.
The pepper’s skin has a wrinkly, lumpy texture, that looks a little like the folded, wrinkled cerebellum of a human brain.
Like many chilies, during its unripe growth phase, the Brain Strain pepper begins a bright to olive green color. As it matures and begins to ripen, it starts to turn to a deep, blood-red color.
There are also varieties of the Brain Strain chili that ripen to yellow or chocolate brown (though the heat level remains around the same, i.e., incredibly high).