This is a bit long (even in this now shortened version) but I really enjoyed putting this together over the couple of weeks. I actually was doing this for a different blog. So I thought I would share this here. I posted this a while back, but wanted to change some stuff on it. This is for the interested, the curious, or the bored.
Over the last 15 years or so, I have really enjoyed very spicy foods. I eat stuff that is so spicy that you can smell it once the bottle or jar is opened. Most can’t handle that much heat. This little is actually something I have worked on for a while. I have even joined some of the spicy food and chili-related groups here. The timing of this is pretty ironic because I noticed that a former classmate angry about buying “XXX”, thinking it would be one thing but got something else. Well, guess what? I made that same mistake years ago. I also learned that (for the most part), the spiciest stuff you will find at Jewel or Dominic’s is Tabasco. There are some legit hot sauces from time to time (ala Louisiana Habanero Pepper Sauce), but that’s the exception and not the rule. I first began my “quest for fire” almost by accident. There was a store in downtown Naperville I visited while I was a North Central College student. They dealt exclusively with hot sauces, and I do mean hot. I didn't know what to expect. The funny thing is they actually had SAMPLES for you to try out. Form that point, I was hooked. They eventually closed their doors, partially because they were a bit ahead of their time (we're talking mid 1990's, when Chile Pepper magazine was still an unknown).
Now we’ll get down to the business of peppers. I want to mention 3 myths, as I see them. Myth 1 is that cayenne pepper is hot. To me, it’s more a coloring seasoning that adds a hint of flavor (also good for circulation as I understand). If you want heat (in particular, in dried form), get some Hungarian Hot Paprika. Myth 2 is that if a product says "XXX Hot"or "spicy" on the bottle, it’s not always true either. In fact, my parents don’t like spicy foods at all (Mom, in particular; Dad will eat spicy stuff but not anywhere near my tastes). Yet she tried a “Louisiana spicy” product and she like it (but in reality, it wasn't "Louisiania" spicy. Ask someone who's lived there). So if you’re looking for spicy, consider the source first. Myth 3 is the very popular “chipotle”, which is supposed to be “a super hot pepper” in many circles. My reply is phooey. A Scotch Bonnet or a Habanero makes the chipotle look like catsup. I will give you the 3 documented hottest peppers in the world. The first is the Red Savina Habanero, from Central America, is probably is the hottest pepper in the habanero family. I can attest to this. The Fatalli pepper is unique to South Africa, as I recall, hits the tongue in a hurry. I had these first 2 and I will tell you, yes they are HOT!! This third one I am holding back on. The Bhut (sounds like "beaut") Jolokia (also known as the Naga Jolokia, Ghost Chili, and Ghost Pepper depending on where you're from) is considered the hottest pepper in the world. It‘s from India. Now if you see any three of the last peppers I named, you're being warned that it WILL be hot.
Next are some suggestions in heat control and intensity. You have someone who tried this super pyro hot sauce with you. You’re holding on pretty well but you friend isn’t quite doing as well. You are feeling a mild rush but your friend’s face is beet red and they’re sweating profusely. Now how do you extinguish the fire? Dairy. I prefer having ranch mixed with some sour cream or some type of cheese slices but milk does the trick as well. It may take a while for them to eventually come down, but this should help. Also, if you run into a situation where the spice is not what you hoped it would be, this can easily be rectified by adding habanero sauce to whatever (salsa, enchilada sauce, etc) wasn’t hot enough for you. A few drops should be fine. Water or any drink is the wrong thing to do if your mouth is "on fire" (or at least feels that way). Why? The drink will make the burn even more intense (once you stop drinking). In other words, capsaicin acts with water like gas acts with fire.
One sauce I have become familiar with is “Bubba’s Butt Blaster X-tra Hot Sauce” after my folks saw this stuff while on vacation. My Mom said they thought at the very least, it would be something else for me to try. You want a rush? This sauce delivers a mean bite every time. It doesn't take much at all. I put some other brands and creators of hot foods and all of them can be found via an engine search. That is, if you don't wish to make your own.
Intense and complete line of products (sauces, salsas, etc) made by the following, all of which all I have personally tried. You can do an engine search for each or go to an Internet site like pyropepper.com :
1. Blair’s. Some of their stuff is so hot, it is not intended for human consumption. Yet the various “A.M. reserve” lines have an almost cult-like following.
2. CaJohn’s Fiery Foods. This product line also delivers off the charts. If you want a laugh, do a Youtube search of CaJohn and see what comes up. The tape doesn’t lie.
3. Dave’s Insanity Gourmet. Their products are now available in most grocery stores.
4. Original Juan. This might have been the first “heat” product line I tried years back. I’m partial to their garlic habanero salsa.
1. Hair of the Ferret. This is actually a local company that I found visiting a farmers market. The sauce does pack a good punch. What’s in it? Here it is. Do you think this gets it done: DICED & CRUSHED TOMATOES (TOMATOES, CITRIC ACID, CALCIUM CHLORIDE), ROMA TOMATOES, ONIONS, CIDER VINEGAR, WATER, CUBANELLE PEPPERS, GREEN PEPPERS, BANANA PEPPERS, JALAPENO PEPPERS, SALT, GARLIC, RED BELL PEPPERS, SERRANO PEPPERS, HABANERO PEPPERS, CAYENNE PEPPERS, PEPPER EXTRACT, JAPONES PEPPERS, ARBOL PEPPERS, PIQUIN PEPPERS, SCOTCH BONNET PEPPERS, CUMIN, VINEGAR, UNSULPHURED MOLASSES, CLOVE, HERBS, SPICES.
1. Buffalo Wild Wings (Blazin'): It has heat and plenty of it. This is their hottest sauce by far. I went to a BW3 when they first popped up here with some co-workers. I said I wanted 12 blazin' wings and person taking my order thought I lost my mind. So here they come. With 1 glass of coke, 1 small side of ranch, and the wings were gone within 20 minutes or so. She said that in the 4 months she had been traveling (opening BW3's), I was one of 3 people who could finish it and the only one who didn't shed a tear. The 3 sauces below it (wild, habanero mango, and hot) should be ok for those who want to venture out a bit. It's for the pure chili head at heart and not for the squeamish.
2. Wingstop (Atomic flavor). This can easily pass as a cousin to the BW3 Blazin' sauce. Again, it's not for the squeamish.
BOTH are hotter than Hooter’s hottest sauce.
3. Anchor Bar. The place where the buffalo wing was created (Buffalo, NY). The “hotter” and “suicidal” fit the bill for the heat-seeker.
BBQ Sauces (in no order). All of these companies do have their own Internet sites. So if you’re interested, type the names in a search engine. Again, if habanero is too hot, leave these alone:
1. Butch's Smack Your Lips BBQ Sauces. I tried this group at Naperville Ribfest. Butch came off as truly one of the nicest people on earth. If he wasn't busy, he would talk and shake a few hands. Some of you may have seen him on a Bobby Flav special a while back. Now for the chiliheads!!! There are 2 sauces that you may like, pyrogenic and the one I like more (Super-pyrogenic). The "super" has an almost delayed burn, when the spices kick in about 3-5 seconds after eating.
2. Pigfoot BBQ. The "Killer sauce is another that I would call a slow burner as well. This is another Ribfest fav of mine.
3. Desperado BBQ. If you want heat, try the "Hotter than H" bbq sauce hit's the tongue from the moment you bite into it. Now how hot is this sauce? A friend of mine, who is not a chili heat, mentioned that there was a lunch bandit at work. You know the type. Someone who believes they’re entitled to someone else’s lunch. I gave him a suggestion. I told him save a few slices of chicken for me and I’ll meet with him later. I brought some of this sauce with me. Anyway, I put some of this sauce on the chicken, told him to take it to work, and leave it there for a couple of days. I told him that if this sauce wouldn’t flush this person out, nothing will. The worst case was I would eat it myself. So he calls me a few days later and says guess what? He figured out who did it. He also told me that he didn’t tell management about knowing this guy ate his food. I asked him why and said that I was right. The guys tongue was burning and his eye are blood red from eating the chicken. He said that he enjoyed watching this “poor” guy suffer. He actually did tell one colleague about our plan and they laughed as hard as my friend.
Well, well. There we have it. The first food adventure I have shared here. TRUST me, there are many more to come. I would have you consider trying any of these products if you wish to feel heat. If you have family or friends who like this type of heat, now I have given you some information you could use with them. A little reference material if you will. Enjoy.