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Member Since 02 Dec 2013
Offline Last Active Jul 02 2018 05:37 AM

Topics I've Started

How about some hot BBQ sauce?

26 March 2018 - 02:48 AM



Left to right:


1. Carolina Gold - SC style mustard sauce. About 50% of that is my first, mostly unsuccessful, attempt at an aji amarillo hot sauce. By itself it had good heat but not so great flavor. But added to mustard, a little ketchup, Worchestershire, onion, garlic, and chopped Peppadews, it becomes a really tasty BBQ sauce for pork with a sneaky, building heat. The Peppadews obviously add little to no heat but the red bits reinforce the visual image of spice and will help me remember what this is compared to my usual less spicy SC style sauce.


2. Tropical Habanero/Manzano - Another "hot sauce gone wrong" salvage. I made a really tasty sauce, detailed in this thread, but it ended up waaay too thick and pulpy. It just wasn't going to work. So I emptied about half my woozies into a pot, added ketchup, mustard, 10z of "Gina Tropical Fruit Juice" from the Asian market (contains mango, papaya, guyabano, pineapple, and calamansi juices) and a couple other secret ingredients and voila! A new flavor is born. This one is mostly hot sauce so it's pretty hot but also pretty sweet and really flavorful with tropical fruit. Might be nice (sparingly) on pulled pork but I'm really thinking wings as the first test food.


3. Eastern NC BBQ sauce - Kept it pretty traditional with this one, mostly. Apple cider and distilled vinegar, water, salt, black pepper, a little apple juice, a little molasses, a little garlic and onion powder. For the heat, instead of cayenne/red pepper flakes I added my Ghost/Fresno "Sorta Sriracha" hot sauce which is basically peppers, garlic, brown sugar, water, and vinegar. NO tomato in this one, any red color is from peppers. Heat is just a little more than what I consider to be standard for this style.


4. "JC's Masterpice"  - KC style sauce. This is the most complex of all of them. Ketchup, molasses, mustard, Worchestershire, salt, black pepper, onion, garlic, vinegar, apricot preserves, lemon juice, tamarind. For the heat I added my "Mexi-racha" hot sauce made from red jalapenos, guajillos, red onion, a LOT of smoked garlic, brown sugar, salt, and Carolina Reaper-infused vinegar. Like the previous sauce, you will taste a little heat in the spoon but added sparingly on ribs, for instance, it won't probably come off as really hot. Really delicious is what I'm hoping for.

Fermenters: standard air-locks vs. waterless airlocks

28 February 2018 - 09:57 PM

Has anyone been able to compare results with the old-school airlocks like these:




to ones like these:





The latter seem a lot easier and maintenance than the former (when using the water airlocks but using vodka instead of water, I'm topping that thing off at least weekly is not more often). Does the performance of the waterless version suffer at all, like higher chance of mold contamination?

Shakshuka with Lamb Meatballs

23 February 2018 - 04:36 PM



1 large shallot, finely minced, sweated in EVOO (can sub a small onion and 5 or so cloves of garlic), 
Add 1/2 small can tomato paste and carmelize then add
30oz canned diced/crushed tomatoes or equivalent amount of fresh. I used one can of diced and 4 fresh that I smoked and ran through a food mill
Add 1T ancho Powder (or regular chili powder blend), 1T smoked sweet paprika, 1T Aleppo pepper (or 1/2 T cayenne), 2-3 tsp Ras Al Hanout spice mix to taste
(This makes a mild/medium spice level, add more heat as desired.)
Instead of salt I used a Better than Boullion chicken paste to season the sauce. Chicken flavor does not come through but adds another layer of flavor and body to the sauce.
Keep at a low/medium simmer.

For meatballs, combine 1lb ground lamb, 1 egg, 1/2 cup breadcrumbs, 6-8 cloves garlic very finely minced, 1T white pepper, few grinds of black pepper, 1-2tsp salt, 2 tsp ground sumac. Mix and drop right in simmering sauce to cook, inverting at least once. This makes a meatball a little more dense than my usual Italian version. Could use a panade instead of breadcrumbs if you want them a little fluffier.

Once meatballs are cooked to through, make spaces for 4 eggs and crack into pot from a few inches above. Once the whites are cooked, you're good to go assuming you want a runny yolk. 


I made it for dinner but it's easy to make the sauce and meatballs the night before, then warm up and add eggs for a breakfast dish, which is actually traditional.

The thing that makes this work is the contrasting flavors between the sauce and meatball. The sauce is a little sweet, spicy, and a little unctuous from both the chicken base and the lamb fat infused into it. The meatball has a little more of a bite from the pepper and sumac. When you combine the two, esp if you get some egg in the bite, it's fantastic.

Aji Amarillo hot sauce

22 February 2018 - 03:22 AM

I thought it might be interesting to make a sauce with these peppers even though I have no experience with them. So I've acquired dried pods (aka aji mirasol) and a small jar of the paste. Fresh pods are impossible right now and I'm not totally sure if I could get them in the summer locally (maybe by mail?)


But I've also noticed there are precious few commercial hot sauces with this pepper. I've seen exactly 2 and both of them combine aji amarillo with habanero and fruits/spices that seem to be more Caribbean in style. Might be delicious but 1) I just made a topical/Caribbean habanero sauce and want to try a different profile and 2) this method would seem to make it unusable in any kind of traditional Peruvian cuisine except maybe a non-traditional version of ceviche. 


So I'm wondering... has anyone made an actual hot sauce with these? Should I even try? My current thoughts are: if I do, keep it as simple as possible. Either wait for fresh pods (if I'm lucky) or use the paste and/or dried pods. If the latter, maybe add a few fire roasted yellow bells to bring back some of the freshness? Then maybe garlic and little else to preserve the aji flavor and keep it as versatile as possible. Another possibility would be an aji amarillo citrus (I really like the idea of mandarins/tangerines to complement the description I keep seeing as "liquids sunshine) but again I think I'd be limited to ceviche/escabeche type dishes if I went that route.


If anyone uses these peppers I'd greatly appreciate some guidance. Thanks.

First try at Bulgogi

18 February 2018 - 01:14 PM

Thin cut sirloin marinated a couple days (only because I forgot I had leftovers to finish first) in soy, sugar, apple and pear puree, scallions, and sesame oil. I added some gochujang too for extra umami and a little heat but I put in too little, next time I'll use more. Grilled quickly, then served with lettuce, rice, carrots, and a quick homemade ssamjang. Came out great.