Saturday, October 27, 2012

Habanero Hot Sauce

Once a year the Griller Instinct team makes hot sauce.  We make enough to last for 12 months.  It keeps well in the refrigerator.

Up until 2012 I have only made one version of the hot sauce.  The version is a food additive. What does that mean?  The sauce is too hot to put directly onto food.  It's meant to be added to other dishes to increase heat and flavor.  For example, half a teaspoon can be added to a cup of ketchup for burger night.  A tablespoon can be added to a pot of chili. A teaspoon can be added to tomato sauce, and so on.  Just so we are clear this version of the hot sauce should not be added directly to your food unless you want a mouth full of fire.

Many of my friends can't grasp the concept of a food additive.  Why not?  I'm not sure, maybe they drink too much.  So by request this year I made a second version of hot sauce that is not a food additive but rather a sauce that can be added directly to food.  Don't get me wrong, it's still hot but nothing too crazy.

In the video you will see me making both versions of the hot sauce.  The sauce that went into the pot and then was placed on the grill to simmer, can be added directly to food.

While the food additive hot sauce is my own recipe, the lower test version is not. I researched many ingredients and techniques for making hot sauce and I found a recipe I really like.  Here it is.  I also really like this guys (calls himself Meat Head) blog.  When I'm looking for new ideas and suggestion this that is what I read.

As far as the food additive version goes, here is my recipe:

First, let's talk safety.  Thick rubber gloves are required to do this and I would also recommend wearing glasses.  Do no roast habaneros indoors, especially with kids home.

5 pints of habaneros
1 cup of peeled garlic
kosher salt
white vinegar

This is very simple.  Roast the garlic in a foil tent with olive oil and salt.  Put the foil tent on the grill but use the inside shelf so there is less direct heat.  Figure the garlic will take 15-20 minutes.  It needs to be cooked but not burnt.

Roast the habaneros.  Put them on a baking sheet an put the baking sheet on the grill.  Toss the peppers around after 7 minutes and let cook a little longer, total should be 10-12 minutes.  When you start to smell the roasting peppers they are almost done..  You are looking for partial blackened peppers. Careful when you open the grill.  Don't inhale the fumes.

Once everything has cooled a bit pull the stems off the habeneros (leave everything else in tact like the seeds) and add to the blender.  Then add the garlic and some salt and pepper.  Then add some vinegar, I would say two cups.  Blend.  Add more vinegar if you want a runnier sauce.  Add less if you want it to be more viscous.

Bottle it up and you are good to go.


Saturday, October 20, 2012

2012 Chili Contest - "Still Sleeping Alone" Wins Second Year in a Row

Last Saturday was our local chili cook off.  The way the Front Porch Chilifest is run, the year after you win, you are an honorary judge rather than a competitor.  Rocco and I are competitors at heart so we opted to enter a Chili and only be eligible for the people's choice award.  We were not eligible for the judges pick "Best in Fest".


Result?  We won again!  Two years in a row of "peoples choice" award. We worked on the chili from 8am - 2:30pm, then hauled all 70lbs over to the contest. Those giant chili pots came from Rocco's bagel shop.  He also browned off all the meat the night before to give us a head start.

At the contest we served every drop.  500+ people had the pleasure of sampling "Still Sleeping Alone". We had a big jar of my homemade hot sauce (recipe and video coming soon) as an option to increase the heat.

If your ready to make your own I'll give you my best advice.  Don't be afraid of chili powder.  There is a lot more chili powder in good chili than you might think.  Chili needs to be very spicy to taste like chili.  Not necessarily hot and spicy, just spicy.  The quality of the chili powder is also a big factor.  That big plastic McCormick container you bought at BJ's in 1998..  chuck it.

This was all for charity. The Front Porch Club raised over 10K for the Atlantic Highlands Arts Council.

There were some minor adjustments to the RECIPE from last year.  I can't give away all our secrets, but I will give you a hint!  Any ingredients not listed in the recipe (there aren't many) appear in the video.  Check it out.

If you want to compare how we made the Chili year over year, here is the 2011 video: