Monthly Archives: February 2013
I love mustard. There…I’ve said it! And I’m not sure why, but I’ve always loved mustard. Maybe it’s the color since, afterall, yellow is my favorite color. Maybe it’s the tang and tartness. Or maybe the low fat, low calorie nature of the beast. However, as human nature dictates, some things get routine…normal…mundane….ho hum….okay, I’ll say it – boring! And this includes my beloved mustard. And while a turkey sandwich isn’t the same without a little yellow goodness, it can get a bit ordinary after a while. Until now! Jac’s Tailgaters has revived one of their original offerings and after tasting it I saw stars! Fireworks! And I heard angelic voices! And Boston singing “Smokin'”! Wait! What? Boston? Smokin? What’s up with that!? I’ll tell you what’s up – Jac’s Tailgaters Bayou Gold Chipotle Mustard Sauce is a little touch of smoked mustardy sunshine in an otherwise mundane, boring, cloudy mustardy day! Okay, so I’m mixing up my song metaphors, but you get the point!
When I was dieting last year, I was bummed out because I couldn’t enjoy Tracy and Kristi Carter’s Bayou Gold Mustard Sauce, because it had more than a gram of brown sugar in it and a couple of other ingredients that weren’t on my diet. And as I was chatting to Tracy about it at the Houston Hot Sauce Festival, he said he had a solution- his Chipotle Mustard Sauce which has almost no sugar at all – well within my self-imposed stringent dietary no sugar rule! So armed with a couple bottles, I proceeded to learn just how smokin’ hot (as in cool…nifty…swell…appealing…not flaming, scoville topping, scorching, etc.) this mustard sauce is on just about everything it touches.Using regular, prepared mustard as its base, Bayou Gold Chipotle Mustard adds lemon juice, cider vinegar, worcestershire sauce, garlic sauce, chipotle pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, white pepper, brown sugar, and the ever undefined “spices”. I can’t discern the brown sugar, and with only 1 gram of sugar in an oz, it’s just a wisp of an ingredient. But the chipotle, or smoked, pepper is so masterfully blended that it completes the rest of the ingredients into balanced perfection! Adding the smokiness to the flavor profile made a beautiful marriage of flavors-complimenting the other ingredients like the yin to the yang, the Rob to the Laura, the Barney to the Andy, the Dagwood to the Blondie, the Edith to the Archie, the Jerry Maguire to what’s her name with the quirky cute kid (insert iconic “you complete me” reference here), and any other finely tuned, balanced pairing you can imagine.
I’ve used this sauce on meat (especially pork, chicken, turkey, and ham), veggies (a little of this is crazy good on beans, cauliflower, and more), sandwiches, and still thinking of new uses. And my wife, who does not share my hot and spicy obsession (but is very supportive, I must say), has cautioned me on more than one occasion by stating “You’re not using all of that, are you? I like that one a lot!” That’s high praise, I have to tell you! And who could blame her? One bite and you discover the subtlety of flavors, the smoked pepper mellowing out most of the sharpness that is customary in mustard, but not totally taming the dynamic flavors set apart with hints of onion, garlic, a touch of lemon, and white pepper. Whether straight up on a sandwich, as a base for pork tenderloin, a sauce for veggies, or whatever your application, this mustard sauce is…simply put…..Smokin’!!!!
So what’s the verdict? This sauce, ladies and gentlemen, earns 4 1/2 Fiery Worlds from this reviewer! It’s as close to perfect as a mustard sauce can get, but alas, I marked it down 1/2 simply because it only comes in a 5 oz. bottle!!!! I can suck that down in one sitting! You can find this sauce, and many more excellent gourmet sauces, spice blends, rubs, marinades, dip mixes, chili and gumbo mixes on Jac’s Tailgaters website. I am a huge fan of their entire lineup and encourage you to indulge your palate and your imagination with a variety of his outstanding offerings. And remember, ladies and gentlemen…..It’s a Fiery World!
Yes, you heard it first right here, folks! David Rosengarten, acclaimed foodie, author, and pioneering food and wine critic (check out his website), got seriously hot after visiting the Henry Family Farm in Virginia! Since Mr. Rosengarten and I haven’t met, I should probably explain or risk him getting hot for an entirely different reason! According to their write-up, the Henry Family Farm (www.henryshotsauce.com) is a labor of love operated by Bob Henry and his father in the beautiful Shenendoah Valley area of Virginia. They grow chiles. Beautiful Chiles. Hot chiles!!! And in this case, African Fatali and Naga Jolokia “Ghost” peppers! David has curated a new line of sauces using the Henry’s signature peppers, and I’m privileged that his publicist, ycmedia, asked me to write about them and share my thoughts with you.
The two sauces I received, Naga Jolokia Ghost Chile of India and Yellow Fatali African Habanero, just look classy. Their labeling is high end and has that artsy, artisan feel. If you can see by the picture, they are called “varietal chile extract” sauces, a fancy dancy way of saying, hey, the sauce is made from a single pepper variety. Add in David’s “gastronomic selection” seal and “2012 Harvest” moniker, and these sauces are destined for high end specialty food and kitchen stores.And what about their looks? Well, the picture probably doesn’t do these sauces justice. They are pretty. The fatali sauce is a bold, bright yellow that looks fresh and inviting. The ghost sauce is a vibrant red that would look mean on a sports car. Both sauces are a good consistency for hot sauce- not watery looking and having the look of a smooth, strained, non-pulpy sauce that will stick to your food or blend well in a recipe.
So we’ve determined that we have good marketing and a nice looking product, but hey, the money is in the flavor and in this case, the heat! These are both decent sauces when judging flavor. The ingredients are not complex, and include hot peppers, Acetic Acid (vinegar for you non-scientific types), salt, a thickener and preservative. But it did make me wonder if the sauce is made only from a single pepper variety. After all, these are “varietal” chile extracts! But, nonetheless, they taste the part, so I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt. Not a lot of “WOW” factor here, but they are both good, fresh, solid sauces. And hot!
The Naga Jolokia Ghost Chile sauce brings a good punch, but it doesn’t last long, which is nice. Added to soups, eggs, veggie dishes, sauces, etc. it works well. Not so much straight up on meat, but it worked well as a ketchup additive and so so as a BBQ sauce additive. Ghost peppers remind me of a bell pepper jacked up on steroids! I like their flavor. This particular sauce had a touch of a sharpness to it, but not enough to detract from the flavor. The bottle suggests pairing it with foods such as gazpacho, camponata, and chili con carne.
The Yellow Fatali African Habanero sauce is also appropriately hot, with a little more lingering heat, which is typical for the Fatali. I love the fruity flavor of the fatali more than that of a typical caribbean based habanero fruitiness, and the citrus note makes a great addition to salad dressings, sauces, soups, and also fish. I love fatali on fish! The bottle suggests pairing it with cream curry dishes.
So overall, I give both sauces three Fiery Worlds. I liked both sauces, but at the price point of $24.95 a bottle as listed in the marketing material sent to me, I wouldn’t see myself buying them. After all, they are priced over twice, and even three times what most, if not all, small batch, artisan style sauces cost. If someone can market their sauce in a way to command that price, well, more power to them, but to me they are basically well packaged, basic sauces, and nothing really special to warrant that kind of premium. I’m sure there are those un-informed foodies that will pay for them based on David Rosengarten’s name and reputation, but I wouldn’t expect many, if any, repeat purchases.
I’m appreciative to ycmedia for the opportunity to review these products, and if you see them out and about, check it out! But definitely go to David’s Rosengarten’s website, www.drosengarten.com, and peruse his recipes, store, and stories. But always remember the basic truth, ladies and gentlemen, that It’s a Fiery World!