Thursday, July 1, 2010

SR Fresh Hot Sauce -- Heat with Intensity of Fresh Flavor!

As I have mentioned before, I make Hot Pepper Sauces myself, and for those who would like to check them out I now have an ecommerce site that explains the Hot Sauces and sells them. Check out the SR Fresh Hot Sauce website.

I have talked a bit about these sauces elsewhere in this blog, and I certainly recommend you take a look at those articles, but I do want to say that in the Hot Sauces I make, I have tried to address the lack of Real Pepper Flavor in most (all other???) commercial hot sauces.

Oh, a lot of them taste good and I like them, and they do get some flavor from Hot Peppers, as well as Heat of course, but they don't have the Real Fresh Flavor of the Habanero, Cayenne, Jalapeno, or Fresno or other Peppers I use in making the sauce.

These sauces are a pain to make. They are mostly Fresh and Blended Juice that has been allowed to settle and the micro-particles of Pepper saturate for a couple of months while kept under refrigeration.

During that time, what becomes the actual sauce forms a concentrated layer at the bottom, of micro-solids and juice, underneath a clear and much less flavorful layer which is not used. So the process is inefficient and expensive as well.

And the sauce has to be kept cold, too.

But It's Worth It!

So this Hot Sauce is fairly expensive, too, by commercial Hot Sauce standards. After all it's not mostly distilled vinegar. It's Fresh Pepper and other Fresh Juices that have been concentrated for flavor, and which are much more expensive than vinegar.

So the proof is in the pudding ... no, it's in the Hot Sauce!

I invite you to give them a try.

Yours in Heat and Flavor,


Thursday, June 3, 2010

4th of July (Coming Right Up) Hot Ribs -- A Little Bit Different

Ted's Memorial Day BBQ ribsAs part of my ongoing articles on foods/recipes that go well with HEAT, I'm going to include something for 4th of July weekend. Pork Spareribs on the grill. Perfect. Except ... maybe not the same old ribs on the grill, maybe something a little different, and ... a little better even. But not hard to make. That's the ticket. That's what I've been planning for the 4th anyway.

We are not going to brine the ribs. That's too much work. We are going to get major flavor from them, though, in 2 ways.

One, we are going to semi-cure them -- the outside anyway -- and dry out the exterior, so it crisps up nicely.

Two, we are going to a make a hot pepper and sweet bell pepper mop/infused sauce, or whatever you want to call it, for a BBQ sauce, to slather on for the last 1/2 hour or so, and some extra, for serving the ribs with. I think it's very, very good.

OK, pick the pork ribs of your choice; they can be baby backs, or spareribs. The only difference will be the cooking time. The sauce that follows is based on 1 rack of ribs -- if you have more increase the sauce accordingly.

With either cut, we will rinse and dry the ribs and then lay them in a large sheet pan, and salt, pepper (use freshly ground black pepper), and sugar (use light brown sugar) the top and bottom of the ribs and the trimmings. And if you want to get some heat on the ribs at this point, you can dust the racks and trimmings with ancho or chipotle chile powder as well. If you are using spareribs, do trim and save the non-bony parts from the rib sections with a knife of kitchen shears, and trim as well any large flaps of meat that are attached to the bottom of the ribs. No need to tear the membrane from the bottom of the rack. Since the trimmings are done sooner than the other parts, you can be eating your appetizer while waiting for the rest of the BBQ to finish!

Then put the uncovered pan in the fridge overnight or until a couple of hours before you are ready to grill. At which time, pull them out and let them come to room temperature before grilling them. The dry-rub salt and sugar mixture will have dissolved to a glaze coating the ribs, which is perfect.

I often cheat and start with a commercial sauce; I like a bottle of Stonewall Kitchens Mesquite Steak Sauce, not for steak, but for PORK, and a small jar of Hoisin Sauce, say 8 oz, to start the mop or BBQ sauce, and then:

I then add a non-traditional Bell Pepper reduction. This is actually the basic recipe for one of my Fresh Hot Pepper Sauces. You can do without it if you like or just use your favorite BBQ sauce, but I am willing to go the extra mile! For the Flavor! And the Bell Pepper reduction does combine vinegar (acid), salt, and sweet flavors, which are traditional, so ...

Oh, you need a juicer!

8 to 12 red, yellow, or orange sweet bell peppers, depending on size
16 cloves of garlic
1 large sweet or Vidalia onion
1 TBS salt, preferably sea salt, or to taste
Rice Wine Vinegar, approx 1/2 cup
Hot Peppers of choice -- I like 4 or 5 Habaneros, myself, but you can substitute the Hot Sauce of your choice instead, if you wish.

Juice the first 3 ingredients (and Hot Peppers if using), and add the salt, and vinegar, but add about 10% by volume only, approx 1/2 cup depending on the juice in your peppers and onion.

Now reduce (in a non-stick frying pan) the pepper juice mixture by about 75%, that is, leaving only 25% of the original volume of liquid.

The remaining pepper liquid should have become a little thick and syrupy.

Preparing Ted's Memorial Day BBQ ribs
Check the seasoning. You should have a bright, sweet, somewhat garlicky and oniony, but not salty liquid -- if the flavor does not pop enough add salt a TSP at a time until the flavor develops.

Good. Mix it all together, that is, the Mesquite Steak Sauce, the Hoisin, and the Bell Pepper reduction you've just made. Taste it. If you want something hotter, juice more Habaneros, or add your Hot Sauce of choice, or some Huy Fong Chili Garlic sauce, for a really good kick. You don't want to add the Bell Pepper reduction, or make it? Fine. The Mesquite/Hoisin mixture is great by itself. Just add your Hot Sauce. You should end up with about a quart of BBQ sauce total if you have added the Bell Pepper reduction.

Now we are going to grill the ribs at 300 DEG until they are tender and nearly done. For those of you with a digital meat thermometer, that's about 180 degrees. For those of you who do not, that's when 1/8" of bone starts to show at the sides of the racks of ribs and the ribs are knife tender, but not fork tender.

If you are doing this on the grill, be sure to use indirect heat, and do not place the ribs directly over the open flame. Place them bone side down.

At the 180 DEG point with 1/8" of bone showing, we begin to mop the ribs (top and bottom) with the mop/glaze every 15 minutes or so, for about 1/2 hour(3 mops) to 45 minutes (4 mops), at which point the ribs will measure around 190 to 195 DEG , and they will show 1/4" of bone and start to pull apart easily. The whole thing will take a little over an hour for the trimmed pieces; the back ribs may take and hour and a half; the spareribs make take 2 hours to 2-1/2 hours.

OK, they are done.


Happy 4th of July!

You don't actually need the excuse ...


Monday, April 19, 2010

Bufalo Jalapeno and Bufalo Chipotle Hot Sauce Reviews

Today I want to talk about 2 commercial hot sauce, the Bufalo Jalapeno Mexican Hot Sauce, and the Bufalo Chipotle Mexican Hot Sauce, from Herdez Corp., of Stockton, Ca. according to the bottle but online searching indicates they are a Hormel product, and made in Mexico.

I have a weakness for commercial hot sauces. Because they are readily available from supermarkets and local specialty stores, I think of them as hot sauces for everyone. So I am in a never-ending search to find the overlooked or unnoticed among those hot sauces which you can often just go down to the store and buy.

Two recent discoveries of which I very much approve are Mexican, the Bufalo Jalapeno. and Bufalo Chipotle, and I bought them from our local King's supermarket, a local chain. Cost less than 3 bucks each for the 5.5 oz bottles.

The Bufalo Jalapeno is RED, not Green, and clearly made from fully ripened Jalapeno peppers, and so this hot sauce has fully ripened, fruity flavors, rather than the grassy, herby flavors of the unripened Green Jalapeno.

Bufalo Jalapeno Mexican Hot Sauce:
Ingdts: Water, Carrots, Distilled Vinegar, Chile Peppers, Sugar, Salt, Carob Bean Gum, .1% Sodium Benzoate, Spices, and Red Food Coloring

Well, the ingredients make this product a fairly typical commercial product, except for the carrots, which add a nice sweetness, and which I like very much in hot sauces, though carrots are more readily found in Caribbean style sauce.

The bottle warns that this sauce is Very Hot, and while it has some heat, it is NOT very hot at all. On the tongue, there is first a sweet red pepper fruitiness along with a nice lemony saltiness from the vinegar, and the sauce fades very gradually over a minute or two to a mild or medium heat with a lingering hint of lemon and pepper sweetness. Very faintly in the background is a little hint that the pepper used is a Jalapeno from just a faint herbiness that adds complexity to the overall flavor. It's really nice. The texture is fairly thick.

I have used it on eggs, a bacon cheeseburger, in a gringo Mexican Posole pork and hominy soup, in my chick pea and smoked ham hock soup, on a chicken sandwich and in a bean salad. Was terrific in all of them. Would make a terrific wing sauce, too, I think.

If you see it, buy it; you will like it.

Highly Recommended.

Now to the Chipotle sauce. Well, this is a more narrowly focused product, useful in much the same way a spicy worcestershire sauce, or A1 steak sauce is useful, that is, on red meat.

Bufalo Chipotle Mexican Hot Sauce:
Ingdts: Water, Distilled Vinegar, Chile Peppers, Sugar, Salt, Caramel, Spices, .1% Sodium Benzoate.

It makes me laugh to compare the info provided here with that on the label for the red Jalapeno sauce. It's just about the same; except for the omission of the gum for thickening, it is the same.
So the label could be more forthcoming.The sauces are NOT the same.

Anyway. as far as the tasting goes, the first impression is one of strong Chipotle smokiness over a pretty salty/lemony vinegar flavor with a moderate pepper heat, and all flavors fade gradually leaving a predominance of mild heat with a hint of smoke, salt, and vinegar after a minute or 2. Quite pleasant, no bitterness really. The texture is very thick.

The heavy meatiness of the sauce would seem to restrict its use to, well, heavy and meaty dishes. Which is true. Great on burgers and steak. Don't even want to try it on other stuff.

Recommended within its narrow range of utility.

Yours in Heat and Flavor,


Photos courtesy of

Monday, March 22, 2010

Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce -- or Why Hot Sauces Don't Necessarily Do to Food What You Think They Will!

Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce from Huy Fong Foods, Inc. is a relative newcomer to widely available (a lot of mainstream grocery stores carry it), commercial hot sauces and has quite a number of fans, who think it wonderful on everything from eggs, to asian food, and from American Food to old boots, I guess.

There isn't much neutral ground either: people like it or hate it. Why?

It is a fairly simple sauce with only 5 major ingredients, quite thick, and with some real heat and a nice salty/sweet/sour garlicky flavor ... at first, but by itself, it has ... drum roll, please ... a rather bitter finish.

Those ingredients are: red ripe jalapenos, sugar, salt, garlic, and distilled vinegar, along with some preservatives and xanthan gum thickener.

I do not know where the bitterness comes from for sure, but I suspect it is from the jalapenos, which, even when full ripe and red, have a a grassy bitterness.

If you taste HF Sriracha out of the squeeze bottle, that's the impression you are left with after the heat and other flavors fade -- mild bitterness. Not so nice.

How many of us are looking for that in our hot sauces?

Not too many, I think.

So why do (s0me/many) people like it? I guess some like the bitterness, but ...

Well, most people don't consume plain hot sauce; they add it to food. And that's where Sriracha shines, or, umm, should I say, tastes good.

The mild bitterness which is really a fairly prominent, grassy herbiness adds complexity and depth to strong, simple flavors, and when Sriracha is mixed with other foods, that bitterness is diluted and muted and recedes into the background as a complementary and pleasant aspect to the overall flavor.

But the first taste of Sriracha is really very nice indeed, with the bright, ripe pepper flavor and the lemony garlicky salty sweetness ... MMMMMmmmmm. Then of course, the bitterness. However, when diluted with food, the initial bright pepper flavor remains, and the bitterness fades quite a bit.

Some more delicate foods do not benefit from Sriracha: I do not like it with the delicate flavors of eggs or fish, for instance.

I also do not like HF Sriracha directly on many foods, such as over meats or on fries, but I do like it when mixed with other foods.

But, Sriracha is great in making a Spicy Garlic Aioli, for instance. Just mix your favorite prepared mayonaise, I like Hellman's (Best Foods in the West) myself, with 1/4 to 1/2 the quantity by volume of Sriracha. Voila! Excellent Spicy Aioli! Great with fried foods, steak, sandwiches, you name it.

Let me say this though about Sriracha sauces: Huy Fong in the squeeze bottle is not the only brand around. There is also the much less widely available Shark Brand Sriracha which is a Thai product, note that Huy Fong is American, and, frankly, Shark Brand tastes better. Not as bitter and better balanced, but still with that nice salty/garlicky/acid bright flavor and not too much on the vinegar, and a little less heat.

There is also an ABC Indonesian brand that I have not tried, and there are Ka-Me and Roland knock-offs of the Huy Fong product. Ka-Me I have not tried. The Roland product is even more bitter than the Huy Fong.

Get the Shark Brand if you can.

And the lesson here is that hot sauces don't necessarily taste the same right out of the bottle as they do in the food you eat.

I can recommend the Shark Brand Sriracha without reservation, but the HF Sriracha I can only recommend with the fairly serious reservation that its real bitterness restricts its use to complex and robust foods.

Yours in Heat and Flavor,


Monday, February 15, 2010

Benito's Hot Sauces -- The Review

Benito's Hot Sauces
This review has been some time in coming, but I finally got hold of all 5 of Benito's Hot Sauces, which are:

Benito's White Hot
Ingdts: organic bhut jolokias (ghost peppers), organic orange habaneros, organic ginger, organic lime juice, fresh onions and garlic

Joes' #1 Jalapa
Ingdts: lime juice, jalapeno peppers, habanero peppers, cubanelle peppers, white onions, garlic, cilantro, extra virgin olive oil, white vinegar

Old Bricktucky Cayenne
Ingdts: lime juice, cinnamon, cayenne peppers, paprika, extra virgin olive oil, red bell peppers, white vinegar, roma tomatoes, white onions, garlic

Mango Habanero
Ingdts: yellow bell peppers, lime juice, vinegar, habanero peppers, mango nectar, extra virgin olive oil, onion


Naranja (that's Orange to you gringos)
Ingdts: orange bell peppers, lime juice, vinegar, habanero peppers, ginger, carrots, extra virgin olive oil, garlic, onions

I've been interested in these sauces for a while because ... they are designed to be Fresh Tasting! And, Fresh is Good. Fresh is where intensity and brightness of flavor come from.

As you may know, I myself Make Fresh Hot Sauce, and Very Fresh It Is, Too.

So I have a personal stake in this type of sauce, which I think is definitely a step in the right direction.

Benito Maniscalco, the maker and owner, will be the first to admit, these are not Hot, as Hot Sauces go, and says he is interested in big, fresh flavor with just enough, but not too much heat, so the sauces will appeal to a broad audience.

Let's see:

Now the White Hot states on the web site that it "packs extreme heat!" Given that it lists the 1 million Scoville Heat Unit Bhut Jolokia Pepper as its principal ingredient, one could imagine that would be true. Well, it's not. Thank Goodness.

This sauce has a bit of a fearsome look to it, thick and white with little floating flecks of something or other.

To the nose it has strong notes of lime/onion/garlic with a light peppery undertone.

On the tongue, and I had to do a full teaspoon test, instead of my usual 1/4 teaspoon test. because the sauce is not that hot, I tasted a nice fresh lime and mild habanero pepper needle-like heat, finishing with a fruity, slightly acid and fresh pepper finish. Very pleasant, very clean, about 1/2 the heat of say, Tabasco. Some slight ginger and garlic presence in the background. There is a slightly pulpy texture.

There is no Saltiness to the flavor -- none at all. You can see from the ingredients that there is no salt added to he sauce. It is an interesting choice on Benito's part, since to some degree, Salt Is Flavor. Oh, I know most of us like some saltiness in our food, but aside from that, Salt itself is necessary to bring out Taste.

Anyone who has made chicken stock knows that you can make the stock from the best ingredients, but unless you add some salt, it tastes like dishwater.

So whatever you add the White Hot to will and should have some salt in it. And it will need it. What should you add White Hot to?

Well this sauce, fruity and fresh as it is, should go very well with lighter fare, such as fish, chicken, and the like, as well as food that combines sweet and savory. And it does -- it's really good on a chicken sandwich with french bread with mayo and red onion.

Make no mistake, this is a very unusual Hot Sauce, and one with a lot of flavor going for it.

It is very different from most of the stuff in a 5 oz bottle however.

Make sure you add it to something with some salt in it -- it will need it!


Which brings me to an important point. All of these sauces are more similar than they are different.

They are all limey/fruity, a little pulpy, fresh-tasting, have a roughly similar amount of heat, and no saltiness and not much vinegar.

The Bricktucky is a nod in the direction of a Louisiana Style Cayenne Hot Sauce, with some cayenne flavor, but still the above described overall flavor profile applies

The Jalapa has the grassy herbiness of the jalapeno pepper; the Naranja has the carroty sweetness of a Carribean Hot Sauce; and the Mango Habanero has the mango flavor and the least heat.

So you can choose your Benito's pretty much on that basis.

I would add the Mango or the Naranja to a tropical Pico de Gallo, or to fish or lighter fare, and the Bricktucky or Jalapa to a burger or meat.

Some of the user reviews on Benito's website suggest use in eggs (can't see it, personally -- don't want any fruit in my eggs -- but that's just me), and I invite you to check it out. The comments are at the bottom of the main page.

Many of the labels cite organic ingredients as does Benito's website, although there is some inconsistency as to specific ingredients in each of the sauces, website vs labels.

I just love hot dogs, or kielbasa with any of the sauces, especially when you use a lot and add it to other condiments like ketchup, mustard, onions, kraut, and relish.

Like no other Hot Sauces.



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