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What’s all the Bugaboo about Rougarou!?

bayou blend rougarou sauces april 2016

Well, I gotta tell you it feels good to be in the review mode once again! And it’s fitting that my first written review in a while comes from my backyard – Cajun Country!!  The Rougarou lineup of Louisiana style sauces from the new startup company Bayou Blend, from Napoleonville, Louisiana did not disappoint.

Let’s start with the foundation of their lineup, Cajun Cayenne, since it appears that the Cajun Habanero builds on that profile. At first, this appears to be a  pretty straight forward, cayenne based sauce, but it has some pleasant twists. It has a simple ingredient list – cayenne peppers, garlic, onion, vinegar, and spices. It’s a thin sauce, with maybe just a bit more consistency than another very well known Louisiana based sauce, but with a tad more texture. It has a very appealing look, where you can see the fresh spices suspended evenly throughout. I credit the textural difference to those visible flecks of spices and black pepper swimming around in the sauce, kinda like the beady eyes of a gator in the swamp, which is their label and logo mascot. In fact, the black pepper is a fairly dominant player on Cajun Cayenne’s flavor team. I could pick up the garlic and onion notes, and much to my liking, not a lot of salt! I really am not a fan of super salty sauces. Most traditional Louisiana style sauces are simply peppers, salt, and vinegar, and this sauce ( and the other 2 in the lineup) took a nice, bold step to break that mold! At only 40 mg of sodium per teaspoon, there’s lots of room to guage your own saltiness needs in your food, so the sauce compliments, rather than competes, with other ingredients being used.

The heat level is a mild to low medium for the average person, and a definite very mild for the Chilehead, with that quick pop of heat you’d expect with a cayenne pepper based sauce, accented by the vinegar on the front end, with a lingering zing and a playful heat tang. It pairs well with all the staples you’d think with a Louisiana style sauce- eggs, pizza, a “cajunized” bloody mary mix, etc. and with the way the spices are blended, it could easily compliment any sauce or dish.

The Cajun Habanero shares most of the above comments, with the following additions: It obviously adds a layer of heat from the habs, as well as that nice fruity, “citrusy” note that I enjoy from a habanero. The layering of heat with the cayenne is done smartly for this medium heat sauce. You get the quick up front palate pop, then the mid palate heat takes over, which lingers much longer than the cayenne sauce, as would be expected. And for both of these sauces, the vinegar is noticeable, and after all, it is a Louisiana style sauce, but it works well in the overall flavor profile.

These sauces are respectable, if not too, too remarkable and would work well with all the usual staples, as well a companion to lot of other dishes where you want a fairly mild, but somewhat zingy punch of flavor and heat.

Bayou Blend’s Luzianne Red Habanero is a straight up, Louisiana style sauce made of red habanero peppers, salt, and vinegar. It’s thin, red, with a big vinegar front end and a fairly mild habanero heat. I like a nice,traditional Louisiana style sauce to mix with ketchup, add to soups, beans, and eggs. The added heat from the habanero is a nice deviation from either tobasco or cayenne peppers, the stalwarts of Louisiana sauces. And speaking of heat, I would say that even though this is a Hab sauce, it’s only a mild heat, or possibly a medium heat for the faint of heart!

Now if you remember, I love me a good label, and Bayou Blend gets an A+ on their graphics and label design. it’s clean, catchy, not too busy, uses a really catchy font, and just has a great, marketable look about it. Their brand logo of the gator with the name embedded is really clever and eye appealing. And if you’re a sauce maker competing with lots of others on a shelf in the store (where folks buy on looks and impulse, cause they can’t taste it!), then your label is everything! Great job, Bayou Blend!

I’m gonna give Bayou Blend’s Cajun Cayenne and Cajun Habanero both a solid 3 Fiery Worlds, which is above average in my world. They had great flavor, a nice heat balance, and would pair well with most anything.  I’m giving the Luziana Red Habanero  an average rating of 2 1/2 Fiery Worlds, since it’s really not any hotter than most readily available Louisiana style sauces currently on the market. If the folks at Bayou Blend go back and truly do justice to the habanero’s heat potential, I’d rate it at least 3 Fiery Worlds, since I haven’t seen too many true Louisiana style hab sauces true to the flavor profile with enough heat.

Even though these sauces haven’t made their way to Bayou Blend’s website, , I’m sure they’ll be there soon. I’ve tried their original jerky, which is tasty, with great flavor and texture. They have several jerky flavors available, so go check them out.  And there you have it, ladies and gentlemen – 3 sauces from a bayou state newcomer to the scene. I encourage you to order some and try them for yourself, and do your own review. I’m just one man with a unique palate and an opinion. And there are lots and lots of tastebuds and taste prefenences out there! Why, you ask? Because we all know – It’s a Fiery World!!

Check out Ken’s Fiery World on The Firecast Podcast!

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Episode #84 – Starting a Hot Sauce Club, Plus the Health Benefits of Chile Peppers

Scott guides you step by step on how to launch a local hot sauce club. Ken Alexander and Scott discuss the health benefits of chile peppers, capsaicin and hot sauce. Boston Ballastic Hot Sauce is reviewed.

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The Firecast is Sponsored in Part By:

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  • Sucklebusters – Texas BBQ Rubs, BBQ Sauces & Texas GunPowder! SuckleBusters is preferred by competition BBQ Cooks, and has won numerous awards including back-to-back 1st Place sauce wins at the American Royal – the World series of BBQ competitions.
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Ricky’s Gone Plain Nuts! Or Has He?! Hahahaha!!!

From Spicy Chipotle Chile to Sweet Chai, these are not your run of the mill snack nuts!

From Spicy Chipotle Chile to Sweet Chai, these are not your run of the mill snack nuts!

I got an email a while back from the fine folks at Ricky’s Lucky Nuts in Durango, Colorado, telling me how great their new line of snack nuts were and would I try them and give some feedback.  Well, I’ve been accused before of being just a little nuts, so of course I said yes! After all, when you offer a Chilehead snacks with cool names like Thai Red Curry and Spicy Chile Chipotle (they even spelled Chile right!!!), there’s no way you can refuse! Right?! Right! I can tell you right here and now, folks – Ricky ain’t nuts and he ain’t plain, neither!!

I received 5 individual serving bags, and not your run of the mill honey roasted, jalapeno, plain roasted, etc etc etc! I got cool flavors! Hip flavors! Flavors that would make the “new” Colorado snack world proud (I’m guessing their snack food industry is working overtime these days!) I’m talkin’ munchie worthy!! In addition to the Spicy Chile Chipotle and the Thai Red Curry, I also got Black Pepper and Sea Salt, Sweet Chai, and Real Coffee.  Real Coffee?! Really?! Who does a coffee peanut?! Well, evidently, Ricky does, and he does ‘em up proud, too!!

The Real Coffee were my favorites, as they had an espresso type earthiness to them, and just enough sweet to take the bitter edge off and merge the coffee with the nut in beautiful fashion. The bag smelled good, and I didn’t get a dusty coating all over my fingers! Is there a cutesy slogan for flavor that stays where it plays – oh wait – that’s kinda catchy! Hmmmm…….. Back to the nuts – the coating seems like it’s baked on so it doesn’t come off, and that was true with all the flavors. Score one for Ricky, unless you’re the kind of person who likes that whole “let me lick my orange cheese curl stained fingers” vibe!!! And I’m sure there are several in Colorado- especially these days!!!! So how about the other flavors?

rickys nuts sweet chai stir fryWell, the Thai Red Curry I ate by itself and put in a stir fry along with my fav asian style hot sauce, and it was just rich enough in flavor to highlight the dish, accent the other flavors, and make me feel like I was hanging out in Bangkok! I also did the same with the Sweet Chai ! As you can see in the pic, my shrimp stir fry was awesome with that smooth but slightly off Chai note. It made an interesting flavor addition to my standard asian influences. Unlike the Red Curry used in another stir fry, where I kept my flavor additions to a minimum, I didn’t hold back while using the Chai, and it really stepped up and balanced the dish exquisitely! And it made for a tasty stand alone snack- subtle Chai tones surrounded by the nuttiness of an obviously high quality, lovingly roasted peanut.  Well played, Ricky!

From a fun and simple label to gourmet level snacking inside, these baby have it all!

From a fun and simple label to gourmet level snacking inside, these babies have it all!

The Spicy Chile Chipotle was only slightly spicy, but then again, I have a pretty big tolerance. But I liked the subtleness as I woofed down the whole bag! And the whole bag did leave a nice spicy zing in the back of my throat! The Black Pepper and Sea Salt were a good snack, and also mixed in a fresh spinach, tomato, olive, and mozzarella salad. Gave a nice texture, complimented the flavors without interrupting my love affair with balsamic vinegar and EVOO, and made the salad more fun! Cause I’m sorry, but salads are booooring!!! I’ve never had black pepper in a snack nut before, and it is such a natural fit! And the sea salt was very very smooth.

All in all, I give Ricky’s Lucky Nuts 4 Fiery Worlds! Their label is fun and has good “viewability” in a store shelf or on an end cap rack by the register! Go to their website, order you some, sit back and enjoy!!! Whether used to highlight a dish, or to snarf for a snack during those munchie attacks, you won’t be sorry! And that’s because, Ladies and Gentlemen, It’s a Fiery World!!!

This Independence Day, Fly on EagleWingZ


When I think of an Eagle, I think about America! And when I think about America, I think about July 4th! And when I think about July 4th, I think about the Land of the Free, Home of the Brave, Rockets’ Red Glare, and the Star Spangled Banner!  And when I think about the Star Spangled Banner, of course I think about its author, Francis Scott Key, and the Battle of Fort McHenry in the Chesapeake Bay during the War of 1812.  So………..What would be more fitting and proper this July 4th season, filled with BBQ and watermelon, and burgers, and chicken, than to talk about EagleWingZ Chesapeake Style Hot Sauce, hailing from you guessed it! The Chesapeake Bay area of DelMarVa!!!  Rick Ewing’s EagleWingZ “Normal” and “Extreme” sauces may be just what you need to make your taste buds Fly Like an Eagle during this year’s July 4th picnic! (now you’re humming the Steve Miller tune, aren’t you? Yep, you know it’s true!)

This is a sauce that can’t decide if it’s a wing sauce or a hot sauce, or a BBQ sauce, or a……….  and that’s the beauty of it!  The simple, gluten free formula contains mostly basic ingredients:  Cayenne Pepper, Distilled Vinegar, #1 grade Mustard Seed, Celery Seed, Salt, Black Pepper, Paprika, Turmeric, and Garlic Powder.  And the Extreme version uses the same flavor profile, but layers in some Capsaicin to boost the heat. That’s it! The ingredient list is reminiscent of Old Bay Seasoning, very popular in that neck of the woods.  But, it didn’t really have any hidden “spices” or other fancy stuff. Well, turmeric may be considered fancy cause it sounds cool and exotic, but it’s a subtle tone in this straight forward wing…errr…hotsauce.

EagleWingz Extreme Makes a Great Wing!

EagleWingz Extreme Makes a Great Wing!


Speaking of Turmeric, the flavor of these sauces is excellent, especially if you are a fan of mustard-like sauces.  The mustard seed base combined with cayenne is a favorite of mine, but then again, I’m a big fan of mustard based sauces in general. The celery seed adds a touch of sweetness, and the turmeric, a member of the ginger family from India, and a mainstay in mustard and Worchester sauce, adds a little pop and zing to the picnic of flavor! The Black Pepper plays more like a bottle rocket than a big starburst display, but in this fireworks display of flavor, you still know it’s there!

The Heat level is what I’d call very low in the normal version, and just low in the “Extreme”.  So not a lot of heat to be had here, but the flavor is so smooth and broad-spectrum, that it’s not needed. The Capsaicin in the Extreme did vary the flavor ever so slightly, but not enough to become bitter or unpleasant.  

Overall Rating and Impression:  3 ½ Fiery Worlds.  This is a very tasty, versatile sauce and would’ve climbed to an overall 4 if the Extreme version had packed the heat it led me to believe it had. I tried it on wings first, using the hints from the website and from my email exchanges with Rick Ewing.  He told me to grill the wings, then toss them in the sauce, and then “set” the sauce and the flavor by nuking the wings for 40 seconds after tossing! And it worked like a charm!!! Great technique! Also great on grilled chicken breast, pork tenderloin, sandwiches, shrimp (delicious if you like that mustardy style, which I do!), and I’m sure crabs, but I didn’t try that, not being much of a crab person!  So, as your sense of patriotism and pride grow during this Independence Day season and you prepare that menu for your July 4th picnic outing, make sure it includes some EagleWingz! Go on the website,, and check it out for yourself. The website is actually the site for their storefront,, so the selection goes way past just these 2 sauces.  Tell ‘em Chilehead Ken sent you and remember Ladies and Gentlemen, that  It’s a Fiery World

After "Setting" the Wings in the Microwave for 40 seconds-Perfectly Glazed!

After “Setting” the Wings in the Microwave for 40 seconds-Perfectly Glazed!

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