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The ‘Chileman’ tells all: Why and how chile peppers make you feel the burn

Chiles aren't just about the heat. It's really about the flavor.


His official title is Regents’ professor in horticulture and director of the Chile Pepper Institute at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, but Paul Bosland is more commonly known by another name.

The Chileman.

Bosland has built a career studying, cultivating, and educating others about chile peppers of all kinds. So we had him school us on chiles, which we use in everything from Salsa Verde to Picante Sauce to our Sweet and Spicy Bacon Burger and Spicy Ketchup.

“Each chile has a different kind of heat profile,” Bosland explains. “Some heat hits you right away, then vanishes; other times, the heat comes on slow and lingers. Some chiles hit you in the very front of your mouth, while some won’t seem hot at all in your mouth – but then almost sear your throat.

Want to know more? Check out the Chile Pepper Institute's Chile Flavor Wheel, which evaluates the heat profile and flavor of 14 chiles, including bell peppers, jalapenos, and the infamous Bhut Jolokia.

Of course, as Bosland points out, chiles aren’t just about the heat. It’s really about the flavor.

“There’s more to chiles than just heat,” Bosland explains. “There’s flavor in chiles. That’s really what we’re hoping to educate people about here.”

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