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I ate GE's 'hottest' hot sauce and lived to tell about it

Gather around, children. Listen to Crave's Amanda Kooser share her tale of a night spent with 10^32 Kelvin, a hot sauce full of peppers whose names include words like "reaper" and "scorpion."

This hot sauce is fire in a bottle.
Amanda Kooser/CNET

It's been four hours since I detonated an atomic weapon in my stomach. There's a disturbance in my esophagus. The adrenaline high and euphoria has faded. The sweat across my forehead has dissipated. Yet the ghost of the 10^32 Kelvin hot sauce lingers.

I ate a condiment made from two of the hottest peppers in the world and I'm alive to tell you I would do it again, consequences be damned.

GE scientists have spent a considerable amount of time developing high-end materials that can withstand the insanely hot conditions in industrial engines for demanding equipment like locomotives and jets. So the natural way to celebrate this legacy was to conspire with men's lifestyle site Thrillist and hot-sauce mad geniuses High River Sauces to develop one of the hottest hot sauces in the world.

I like to think that I have a little bit of fiery-food cred. I live in New Mexico, a state obsessed with chile peppers. My freezer is stuffed with roasted green chiles. I've grown the fabled Bhut Jolokia, better known as the "Ghost Pepper." At one time, the Ghost Pepper was the hottest in the world, but the honor now goes to the Carolina Reaper, according to Guinness World Records. That hot little number is joined by the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion pepper in GE's 10^32 Kelvin sauce.

So how about that odd name? GE says 10^32 Kelvin is "the temperature at which physicists believe all matter starts to break down." It's also known as "absolute hot." Guinness gives the Carolina Reaper a 1.56 million Scoville rating, a method for describing the heat of chilies. Compare that to a jalapeño at between 2,500 and 5,000 on the Scoville scale.

I brought together a group of both hot-sauce lovers and hot-sauce dislikers to try GE's mad creation. We dosed up some Frito pies (corn chips, chili, cheese, lettuce) with dashes of the sauce. Our most adventurous eater doused his food and described the experience thusly: "All of me is weeping. My soul, my dreams, my body."

I felt the hot sauce first like an electric spark across my tongue. There was a flood of savoriness with a hint of lemon right before the burn spread like a fire across the prairie. I broke into a sweat, my forehead felt constricted, like it was pulling my eyelids backward. I had sour cream, beer, pineapple juice and ice cream at the ready in case I wussed out and needed to quench the inferno. But I pulled through. I even added more hot sauce to my meal. It hurt, but it was a delicious hurt.

There are novelty hot sauces on the market that are designed to bring the pain, but they forget about the other side of the equation: flavor. The ingredient list for 10^32 Kelvin includes apple, garlic, spices and natural lemon flavor. This isn't just about turning your tongue into a dance party for the devil. Those flavors come through in a way that one taste tester described as a "dry sweetness."

The marketing push from GE declares 10^32 Kelvin to be the "the hottest hot sauce." That's a hard claim to verify. I've certainly eaten more painful hot sauces, but never have I had a finer combination of alluring flavor and sheer, tongue-scorching heat.

Production is limited to just 1,000 bottles, which went up for sale through Thrillist and promptly sold out. You can now enter to win a coveted bottle by submitting your email address. It's only good for the 48 contiguous US states and you have until May 4 to try your luck.

The next-morning update: Yes, my body knows it went through a hot-sauce crucible last night. I'm staring at the materials used to ship the sauce. GE packaged it in a silicon carbide tube topped with nickel alloy and an actual jet engine part. It can withstand temperatures up to 2,400 degrees Fahrenheit (1,315 Celsius). I'm wondering if GE's scientists can craft me some new intestines made out of those advanced materials so I can eat 10^32 Kelvin every night. I'm hooked.