Monday, February 19 , 2018, 6:32 pm | Fair 51º

 
 
 
 

Local News

Goleta Man Turns Up the Heat to Set Blistering Record for Hot Peppers Consumed

Matthew Bitter earns place in Guiness Record Book after packing away three red-hot Carolina Reaper peppers in less than 8 seconds

Matthew Bitter reacts to the Guinness World Record he set Saturday for eating three of the world’s hottest peppers, the Carolina Reapers, in record time. “It’s excruciatingly hot,” he says. “I’ve been practicing, but you can’t practice with the peppers because they will kill you. It’s what they make pepper spray out of.” Click to view larger
Matthew Bitter reacts to the Guinness World Record he set Saturday for eating three of the world’s hottest peppers, the Carolina Reapers, in record time. “It’s excruciatingly hot,” he says. “I’ve been practicing, but you can’t practice with the peppers because they will kill you. It’s what they make pepper spray out of.” (Brooke Holland / Noozhawk photo)

Matthew Bitter felt the burn Saturday evening after setting the Guinness World Record for the fastest time to eat three explosively hot chili peppers.

The Goleta man consumed a trio of Carolina Reapers in 7.65 seconds to break the record. The Carolina Reaper measures more than 1.5 million units on the Scoville scale — which gauges a pepper’s pungency, or heat — and is dubbed the hottest pepper in the world.

Community members, spectators and Bitter’s family gathered at Draughtsmen Aleworks in Goleta to cheer and commemorate his accomplishment.

“I’m the happiest guy in Goleta tonight,” he said. “I smashed the record.”

The previous record for eating three Carolina Reaper chili peppers was 10.95 seconds.

No liquids or water may be consumed by the contender for one minute after the red peppers have been eaten, according to the contest rules.

Bitter, a Cottage Health employee, drank milk to help soothe his fiery throat once the contest was over.

“It’s excruciatingly hot,” he told Noozhawk. “I’ve been practicing, but you can’t practice with the peppers because they will kill you. It’s what they make pepper spray out of.”

Bitter is a competitive eating veteran and no stranger to scorching foods. For more than 30 years, he has been devouring the hottest foods he can find. He holds the wing challenge record of 42 seconds at Buffalo Wild Wings.

The Arizona native said he also grows rare peppers from all over the world, and he brings hot sauce, salsa and chili into the Goleta taproom.

Family, friends and the curious gathered Saturday at Draughtsmen Aleworks in Goleta to cheer on Matthew Bitter, the new record holder for red-hot chili pepper consumption. Click to view larger
Family, friends and the curious gathered Saturday at Draughtsmen Aleworks in Goleta to cheer on Matthew Bitter, the new record holder for red-hot chili pepper consumption. (Brooke Holland / Noozhawk photo)

On Saturday, he provided toothpick bites of peppers for those brave enough to sample them.

“I’m trying to get people to turn on to hot, spicy foods,” Bitter said.

Saturday’s gathering also was a fundraiser for Pacific Pride Foundation. Draughtsmen Aleworks donated $1 per pint purchased from the karma tap to the organization Saturday.

Bitter said he is a supporter of anti-bullying efforts and hopes to highlight Pacific Pride Foundation’s youth and educational programs.

“I love this town and the people here,” he said. “My community and my family are here tonight, and we are raising awareness. I wanted to give back to the community, and this was one way.”

Bitter may soon try to set another blistering record.

“There will be another record attempt,” he said, “eating 21 Carolina Reapers in under a minute.”

Noozhawk staff writer Brooke Holland can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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