Friday, June 27, 2008

Ann's Marinade from Durn Good

Ann's Marinade from Durn Good is a bold, rich soy sauce based marinade that's spicy and savory with the flavors of cumin, chili powder and garlic. Created by a hunter especially for use as an overnight marinade for wild game, Ann's Marinade will tenderize the toughest cuts of meat and eliminate undesirable "gamey" flavors from venison, wild boar, quail, dove and other wild game. Not a hunter? Not to worry - Ann's Marinade is excellent with grilled chicken and all sorts of pork and beef cuts, plus you can also use it in your oven or on the stove. You can even add a splash to ground meat before you make burgers or meat loaf, to add robust flavor that will have young and old alike asking for second helpings. Made in North Carolina, Ann's Marinade from Durn Good is currently on sale at the Carolina Sauce Company.

Zestfully yours,

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Mama T's Greek Country Salad

I came up with this recipe based on my favorite Greek restaurant's signature salad. Authentic Greek salad doesn't include lettuce, but feel free to serve this salad over a bed of romaine lettuce if you wish, or perhaps over warm wilted spinach (quickly saute fresh spinach in a bit of olive oil until spinach just starts to wilt). There are no measurements - use as much of each ingredient as you like, and as needed for the number of folks you're feeding. This salad really bursts with summertime flavor if you use the freshest produce available, such as from your local farmer's market.

Vine ripened tomatoes, cut into wedges
Cucumbers, sliced
Red onions, thinly sliced and separated into rings
Greek olives (e.g., Kalamata olives)
Feta cheese
Dried Oregano
Anchovy fillets, optional
Mama T's Olive Oil Vinaigrette
Salt & Pepper to taste, if desired (Feta cheese is salty, so I omit the salt and use only freshly ground black pepper)

In a large bowl, place the tomato wedges, cucumber slices, red onion rings and Greek olives. Crumble the feta cheese on top, and generously sprinkle with oregano. Just before serving, drizzle with Mama T's Olive Oil Vinaigrette and toss to coat all the vegetables. Add salt and pepper if desired, and toss to blend. If desired, arrange a few anchovy fillets on top. That's it!

Zestfully yours,

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Reminder: Carolina Sauce Closed June 27-July 7

This is just a friendly reminder that the Carolina Sauce Company will be closed beginning this Friday, June 27th, through Monday, July 7th, in observance of Independence Day, and for some much-needed vacation time, and for some long-range planning & brainstorming & potential new product sampling sessions (yes, it will be a working vacation for me, but I love my work!)

You may still place orders online while we are closed, but orders will ship after we re-open on July 8th. Likewise, any emails or phone messages will be replied to after we re-open on July 8th. For more information, you can read my post earlier this month titled "Carolina Sauce Company Is Closing..."

Stay tuned for upcoming new product reviews on this blog, and more delicious new products soon to be available on the Carolina Sauce Company online store!

Zestfully yours,

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Southwestern Beef & Bean Burritos

You select how hot and spicy you want your burritos by choosing Mild, Medium or Hot Salsa, or the Salsa Verde which is a medium-hot burn level. This recipe makes 6 burritos. Enjoy!

3/4 lb lean ground beef, cooked & drained
1 15 1/2 oz can kidney beans, rinsed & drained
1 Tbs olive oil
1/2 cup Pepper Dog Salsa, your choice of Mild, Medium, Hot, or Salsa Verde
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 Tbs chili powder
Salt to taste
6 ten-inch flour tortillas (regular or whole wheat)
2 cups grated cheddar cheese
1 avocado, skinned & diced, for topping
Sour cream for topping

Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat, add cumin and cook for about 10 seconds, stirring the whole time, until fragrant and lightly toasted. Be careful not to burn it! Remove skillet from heat and carefully stir in the salsa - watch out for spattering - and then add the beans. Stir using a wooden spoon, return the skillet to the medium-high burner and cook while stirring and mashing the beans with the back of the spoon until thick & creamy (about 5 minutes). Remove from heat, taste and add salt if desired.

Combine the cooked ground beef with the chili powder in a small bowl, adding salt if desired. Spread the 6 tortillas onto microwave safe serving plates, then divide the beans between them, spooning onto the center of each tortilla. Then divide the beef likewise among the 6 tortillas, and then sprinkle cheese on top of the beef. To form the burritos, fold in the ends of each tortilla and then roll up starting from 1 unfolded side to the other. Place the burritos with the showing edge facedown on the plates, microwave on high until the cheese melts (2 or 3 minutes depending on your microwave). Serve with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkling of avocado.

Zestfully yours,

Monday, June 23, 2008

Durn Good Hot 'n Spicy Mustard

Are you tired of boring, bland yellow mustard? Are your hot dogs and burgers begging for some zest to complement their meaty flavors? Do you enjoy spicy, peppery foods and need a mustard to bring your sandwiches and prepared salads some extra zip? Then Durn Good Hot 'n Spicy Mustard is the answer to your prayers! Made in North Carolina, this zingy yellow mustard is most definitely not your ordinary store brand condiment. Popping with peppery personality, this spicy and tasty yellow mustard has just enough burn to satisfy your need for fire without interfering with the flavors of your food. Use Durn Good Hot 'n Spicy Mustard anywhere you'd use regular mustard: on sandwiches and subs, in potato salad and egg salad, in slaw and on burgers or hot dogs, as a dip or topping for pretzels and other snack food, and anywhere else you want to banish the blahs. Durn Good Mustard comes in two sizes, and the 12 oz bottle is currently on sale at the Carolina Sauce Company!

Zestfully yours,

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Durn Good Hot Sauce

If you normally rely on grocery store hot sauces like Frank's Red Hot, Tabasco, or Texas Pete and are ready to try a hot sauce with more flavor and substance, Durn Good Hot Sauce is the sauce for you. And if you're a fiery foods fan or a jaded hot sauce user who's looking for a food-friendly, flavorful pepper sauce that will add heat and complement (not overpower) your food, then look no further than Durn Good Hot Sauce. Developed by a hot sauce connoisseur with an appreciation for good eats, Durn Good Hot Sauce blends red and black pepper with chiles and spices in a tangy vinegar base for a pleasant medium burn that enhances pretty much every type of food other than dessert. Durn Good is the quintessential all-purpose table sauce that's just right for breakfast (egg dishes, sausage, hash browns, bloody marys), lunch (burgers, sandwiches, soups), appetizers (buffalo wings, fried foods) and dinner (meats, game, chili, spaghetti sauce, greens, etc.). This zesty hot sauce hails from the little town of Wake Forest, NC, and has been a staple at local restaurants and on dining room tables in central North Carolina for years. The Carolina Sauce Company is pleased to be able to offer Durn Good Hot Sauce to the rest of the US (and to Canada), in two convenient sizes. Order a 5 oz bottle for your table and a mini for your pocket or purse today -- better yet, get several of each, as this baby is addictive and you won't want to run out!

Zestfully yours,

PS: The 5 oz botle of Durn Good hot sauce is currently on sale at the Carolina Sauce Company online store!

Look What I Found: Nando's Hot Peri-Peri Grinders!

Newsflash: Nine (9) bottles of Nando's Hot Peri-Peri Grinders are now available from the Carolina Sauce Company! As you know if you've been following my blog, Nando's decided to discontinue its line of Peri-Peri Grinders, and the first flavor to sell out was the Hot grinder. Well, last week our Nando's supplier discovered 9 more bottles in their warehouse, mis-shelved with the other flavors of Nando's Grinds. They called and asked if I'd like them added to my wholesale order of other Nando's products. Duh, of course I said YES!! So here they are, folks, ready to be snapped up first-come, first-served. Once these 9 bottles are gone, our supplier assures us that there are no more Nando's Hot Grinds to be found.

Zestfully yours,

Friday, June 20, 2008

Lots of Sauces on Sale!

With all the negative news about gas prices and food prices going up, Carolina Sauce Company has decided to spread some good cheer and save you some money by launching a hot sauce sale! Actually, this sauce sale should properly be called a zesty products sale, as we have lots more than just hot sauce on sale: There's barbecue sauce on sale, as well as Rubs and Seasonings on sale, select snacks and mustards on sale, flavorful marinades on sale, mild and spicy salsa on sale, and even our hand-made New Mexico chile soaps on sale, authentic Jamaican jerk on sale, and our very own Greg's Happy Sauce on sale (if you haven't yet tried this award-winning gourmet marinade and grilling sauce, now's the time, and we'll send you recipes too!).

How can you tell which products are on sale? Three ways: First, look for the red sale prices. That's the easy way, especially for finding "unaffiliated" individual products on sale (i.e., products that aren't part of a product line like Marie Sharp's or Dave's Gourmet). The second way is to look for the words "On Sale!" in connection with product lines - that will tell you that at least 1 of the products in that line is on sale. Finally, you can always search the Carolina Sauce Company store for the words "on sale" and that will pull up all the products currently on sale.

These great sale prices can't last forever, but we'll hold them as long as we can afford them. Don't get left out: Treat yourself or a loved one or friend to some palate-pleasing, smile-inducing, tummy-satisfying sauces, and save some cash in the process!

Zestfully yours,

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Jim's Own Chicken Wings

Barbeque sauce on chicken wings?!? Why not??? Jim's Own Bar-B-Que Sauce is a tangy, slightly sweet vinegar-tomato barbecue sauce from Durham, North Carolina, and it makes some very tasty Buffalo style chicken wings. This recipe comes from Jim himself, and is a great alternative to traditional Buffalo wings. For just a little spice, use Jim's Own Homestyle Bar-B-Que Sauce. For fiery hot wings, use Jim's Own Hot Bar-B-Que Sauce.

2 lbs unseasoned, unbreaded chicken wings
Jim's Own Homestyle BBQ Sauce (mild) or Jim's Own Hot BBQ Sauce (hot & spicy)

Place the raw chicken wings in a covered pan and bake at 350 degrees for about 1 to 1 1/2 hrs. Remove wings from pan and place on preheated grill at medium, and lightly brown each side. After browning, reduce the heat to low and baste with Jim's Own Sauce, at least 3 times per side, letting each basting cook a bit. That's it!

Zestfully yours,

PS: Not in the mood for BBQ chicken wings? Don't worry, we have a wide variety of wing sauces to choose from, ranging from traditional Buffalo wing sauces to unique flavor combinations.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Carolina Sauce Company is Closing...

... from Friday, June 27th through Monday, July 7th, for vacation and planning sessions. (Got your attention with the title of this post, didn't I??? That was the whole point - keep reading and you'll see why!)

Please note that no one will be available to take or ship orders or answer the phone or email while we are closed. This means that if you want any of our barbecue sauce, hot sauce, or other zesty products in time for the Fourth of July, you'll need to place your Carolina Sauce order BEFORE June 27th. Any orders received on or after June 27th, while we are closed, will be filled and shipped after we reopen on Tuesday, July 8th.

This time off will allow our hardworking employees to enjoy some vacation during the Independence Day holiday, while also giving us time to plan some exciting new features and research new products for the Carolina Sauce Company online store. You'll still be able to order online while we are closed, and you can leave us voicemail or email if you wish, but any calls or emails will be answered AFTER we re-open on Tuesday July 8th.

I'll post a reminder next week, in case you're like me and like to procrastinate or are really busy and tend to forget stuff.

Thanks for your understanding, and stay tuned for some really cool stuff from Carolina Sauce Company later this summer!

Zestfully yours,

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Venom Xtreme Hot Sauce

It's been my experience that any hot sauce with a nasty-looking snake on the bottle -- Vicious Viper and Black Mamba both come to mind -- is a hot sauce to be handled very carefully and treated with respect. Venom Xtreme Hot Sauce is true to form -- in fact, it now sits at #7 on our list of hottest hot sauces, above the ultra-hot Mad Dog .357 and just below Dave's Insanity Private Reserve, the 2008 edition of which features the jolokia or "ghost" pepper. As you can gather from this information, Venom Xtreme Hot Sauce is lethally hot and is not for the hot sauce newbie. Made with habanero peppers and generously supplemented with chile extract to rev up the firepower, Venom Xtreme is an ultra-hot food additive, intended to be used in cooking as an ingredient and not directly on food like an ordinary hot sauce. Trust me, you'll only need to add a drop or two of this baby to a big vat of chili or other family-size recipe, and the end result will be outrageously hot -- which is a good thing if you're a serious chilehead. If you enjoy making your own Jamaican-style jerk marinades at home and prefer them to be super-hot, then Venom is your ideal additive to rev up the heat, especially since its spices are reminiscent of Caribbean flavors.

If you or someone you know is a hot sauce collector, or a herpetologist (a snake expert), or a hardcore fiery foods fanatic, then Venom Xtreme Hot Sauce is a great addition to the collection or shelf. Best of all, it's currently on sale at the Carolina Sauce Company online store, as are several other hot sauces and other zesty products.

Zestfully yours,

Monday, June 16, 2008

Tarheel Premium Original BBQ Sauce

East (as in eastern NC vinegar BBQ Sauce) meets West (as in midwestern tomato BBQ Sauce) in the original flavor of Tarheel Premium BBQ Sauce, and the result is sheer bliss for your tastebuds. In fact, I bet Goldilocks would love this sauce because it's "just right" in terms of thickness, sweetness, tang and spice. Tarheel Premium Original BBQ Sauce starts with the ubiquitous American sweet, thick tomato base, and then adds a splash (or two) of traditional spicy-tart vinegar-based BBQ sauce from eastern North Carolina, the home of Tarheel Premium. The touch of sweetness comes from molasses, which keeps this barbecue sauce from being cloyingly sweet like many store-brand commercial sauces that use high fructose corn syrup. And the peppers and other spices from the NC vinegar barbeque sauce tradition add a tasty dimension to this sauce without being so strong as to overwhelm the natural flavors of your food.

This particular Tarheel Premium barbecue sauce is ideal for beef ribs and brisket, as well as grilled chicken and pork. It also works quite nicely when cooking meat or poultry in your oven or in your crockpot, and you can also add it to recipes for meatloaf, burgers and baked beans. All three flavors of Tarheel Premium BBQ Sauces are quite good, whether you prefer an authentic eastern NC vinegar sauce (the "Gone Whole Hog" sauce), a sweet-thick honey BBQ sauce, or a creatively spicy-tangy twist on traditional tomato-based midwestern BBQ sauce (the Original).

Zestfully yours,

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Spicy Cajun Meat Ring

This hearty, spicy recipe is sure to satisfy any meat-loving, spicy-food-craving Dad this Father's Day. You don't even need to use an oven, since it cooks in the microwave, making it the perfect dinner for a hot summer day!

1 lb ground beef
1 egg, beaten
1 slice bread, torn into bread crumbs
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1/2 tsp dried thyme, crushed
1 8oz can of tomato sauce
1/4 cup chopped green pepper (or chopped jalapeno peppers for added heat)
1/4 tsp celery seed
Your favorite Cajun hot sauce: I use Pain Is Good #218 Louisiana Hot Sauce, or Mean Devil Woman Hot Sauce (this one is hotter)
Hot cooked rice

Combine the egg, bread crumbs, milk, onion, garlic salt, thyme, and several dashes of Cajun hot sauce in a large mixing bowl. Add the ground beef and mix well to thoroughly combine. Place the meat mixture in a 9 inch microwave-safe pie plate and form into a mound 6 inches in diameter. To form the meat ring, push the meat outwards from the center of the mound towards the edge of the pie plate to form a hole in the middle about 2 inches in diameter, and making the meat ring about 2 inches wide. Cover the meat ring with wax paper and microwave on high for 7 to 9 minutes or until meat is done (internal meat temperature of 170 degrees, no pink), turning the pie plate a quarter-turn every 3 minutes for even cooking (turning is unnecessary if your microwave has a rotating base). Carefully transfer the meat ring onto a serving platter, cover, and keep warm (I place in my oven - no need to turn on).

In a microwave-safe bowl or 2 cup measuring cup, combine the tomato sauce, green pepper (or jalapenos), celery seed and several dashes of Cajun hot sauce. Cover and microwave on high for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring once. Spoon this sauce over the cooked meat ring. Place remaining sauce into a small bowl for passing at the table. To serve, slice the meat ring and plate with hot cooked rice, and folks can spoon on additional sauce as desired.

Happy Father's Day to all you Dads out there!

Zestfully yours,

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Susie's Pineapple Pleasure Hot Sauce

I'm thrilled to announce the return of Susie's Pineapple Pleasure Hot Sauce to the Carolina Sauce Company online store! If you love juicy-sweet pineapples and enjoy spicy foods, then Susie's Pineapple Pleasure is the hot sauce for you. The primary ingredient is pineapple, and the heat comes from fiery Caribbean hot peppers, all in a thick, sugarcane-sweetened base that will stick to your food, not run off it. I absolutely love this hot sauce on grilled or coconut-battered shrimp, and on white-fleshed fish. It's also quite good on chicken and pork. But perhaps my favorite way to enjoy Susie's Pineapple Pleasure Hot Sauce is with kabobs of any sort: meat & veggies, shrimp & veggies, or even just plain veggie kabobs. All of Susie's Hot Sauces from Antigua are delicious, so if you haven't tried them yet, I highly recommend them.

Zestfully yours,

Friday, June 13, 2008

Easy Tips for Grilling Fish

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Perfectly grilled fish can be tricky and intimidating, because it's so easy to overcook (and therefore ruin) fish on the grill. But if you follow these easy tips, and err on the side of undercooking (generally, fish will be done *before* you think it's done), you'll have perfect grilled fish every time. Credit for these tips goes to my husband Greg, the king of grilled fish.

* Cleanliness is key: Make sure the grates on your grill are thoroughly clean before you attempt to grill fish. Dirty grates are sticky grates, and sticky grates spell disaster for fish. These award-winning GrillGrates are ideal for grilling fish (and anything else) because of their unique ridged surface and superior temperature control.

* Oil your grates: After you clean your grates and before you light your grill, wipe the grates down with an oil that has a high smoke point. The coating of oil over the clean grates will create an ideal non-stick surface. Greg likes using pure olive oil, but I say stick with peanut oil or something else with a very high smoke point.

* Oil your fish: Either brush both sides of the fish with oil (again, a high smoke point is crucial), or spray both sides with a non-stick spray.

* Patience is a virtue: After you light the grill but before you place the fish on the grates, make sure the grates are hot enough to quickly sear the fish. If the grates aren't yet hot enough, the fish is more likely to stick to them.

* Restraint is also a virtue: Flip the fish exactly once. The more times you flip, the more likely the fish will break apart.

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* Wider is better: Use a wide spatula that can hold the entire piece of fish as you flip it. Greg and I have a nifty metal spatula that "fans open" into 3 blades, thereby tripling the surface. You can also use a fish basket, sold where grills and grilling tools are sold, and you can also order online on our BBQ & Grill Accessories page. The fish basket will let you turn all your pieces of fish at once and hold them together (no risk of fish falling through the grill grates).

* Uniformity is a good thing: One problem with most fish fillets is that the thickness will vary greatly within the single piece of fish. That usually causes one end to be overdone while the other end is not yet fully cooked. If possible, cut the raw fish into pieces that are a uniform thickness to ensure the entire piece will be done at the same time.

* Marinades are your friend: Especially if you plan on grilling one of the "fishy-tasting" types of fish, a good marinade will help remove any undesirable flavors while also enhancing the taste of the fish. Marinating for 30 minutes to 2 hours is enough for fish, and don't use a mostly-vinegar marinade because that could "cure" the fish. A marinade with a bit of oil can really help keep the fish moist and in one piece while grilling.

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* Use a grilling plank: Instead of placing your fish in a grilling basket or directly on your grill, use a wood grilling plank that's been soaked in water for a delightful, lightly smoked flavor. Grilling on a plank is a popular cooking method in the Pacific Northwest, and will ensure your fish remains moist and in one piece. Popular wood choices include cedar and alderwood, but you can also use fruit woods or even maple grilling planks. I don't recommend hickory or mesquite because their flavors are too strong for fish.

* Use high heat. Remember, fish is more delicate and has less "mass" than poultry or meat. You want to sear and quickly cook the fish, which means high heat. "Long & slow" is the enemy of edible grilled fish.

* Remember the "carry-over" effect. When you grill fish, there is enough residual heat in the fish that it will continue to cook even after you remove it from the grill. If you keep the fish on the grill until it is fully cooked, you'll end up with dried-out, overdone fish - yuck. Instead, remove the fish from the grill when it's almost but not quite done. The carry-over heat will finish cooking it to perfection as you plate it. It's better to err on the side of underdone fish, because you can always "nuke" the fish for 15 seconds or so in the microwave if the carry-over effect doesn't completely finish cooking it -- but you cannot "undo" overcooking.

* The finishing touch: Just before you think you're going to remove the fish from the grill (maybe a minute or so before), drizzle a little sauce or fresh marinade over it. This adds great flavor without burning, since the sauce will only be exposed to high heat for just a minute. If you prefer a simpler flavor, use melted butter and lemon, but keep in mind that butter has a low smoke point (it will burn quite easily) so wait until you're ready to remove the fish from the grill.

Zestfully yours,

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Southern Twang BBQ Chicken

This is the original recipe created 50 years ago, on the shores of Lake Jodeco, which won such acclaim that folks would invite themselves to dinner. The family eventually bottled the famous sauce, which now sells as Southern Twang Grilling Sauce, and is available from the Carolina Sauce Company in zesty Original and spicy Hot versions. You choose whichever variety you prefer when you make this recipe - and the recipe easily multiplies to meet your needs.

4 chicken pieces (dark or white), with skin on for extra flavor
1 jar Southern Twang sauce (your choice of Original or Hot)
2 cups uncooked rice (Jasmine or Basmati are ideal, but plain white will work)
2 Tbsp butter
4 ears corn
Salt & pepper to taste

Rinse chicken pieces and pat dry with paper towels. Coat chicken with Southern Twang sauce and marinate for a at least 2 hours or overnight (the longer the better), in the refrigerator. Save the rest of the sauce in the jar for serving. Remove chicken from marinade and discard the marinade. Grill the chicken over medium heat until fully cooked, brushing with additional Southern Twang sauce from the jar during cooking. While the chicken is grilling, cook the rice according to package directions. Husk the ears of corn, rub with butter and season with salt & pepper. About 10 minutes before the chicken is ready to come off the grill, add the corn to the grill. Grill for 8 to 10 minutes, turning frequently until the corn begins to brown. Remove corn from grill when done. Once the chicken is done, remove from grill and cover with aluminum foil immediately, to keep in the juices (this produces more tender, juicy meat). Set aside. Heat the remaining sauce in a saucepan. Serve the chicken over cooked rice and smother the chicken and rice with a generous helping of the heated Southern Twang sauce, and an ear of corn on the side. Serves 4.

Zestfully yours,

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Hottest Hot Sauces: You Can't Handle This Hot Sauce

You Can't Handle This Hot Sauce: The name says it all, and it's no exaggeration. I'm the first to admit that this ultra-hot hot sauce -- technically a food additive meant to be used in cooking and NOT directly on served food -- is more than I can handle, and those of you who know me know that I am not a wimp when it comes to hot sauce and fiery foods. This infernally hot hot sauce currently ranks 7th on our list of hottest hot sauces available at the Carolina Sauce Company online store. Spiked with enough capsaicin extract to bring the firepower up over 175,000 Scoville units but below 200,000 SUs, You Can't Handle This Hot Sauce is incendiary and should only be used in microdroplets (think tip of toothpick and you have the right idea), and ideally only in recipes. What I like about this ultra-hot hot sauce -- in addition to the brazen name, and the cool-looking black velvet "wrap" on the top -- is that the exotic ingredients actually taste good in the right recipe. Made with cloves, cinnamon, onion, garlic and molasses, I find that You Can't Handle This Hot Sauce is an easy way to ratchet up the heat in Southeast Asian recipes like Indian and Thai foods. So I guess that means I *can* handle this hot sauce after all, but only when used as intended, while cooking. I personally don't dare put it directly on food that's ready to eat, but I've seen people do it (and they've survived). If you are a serious chilehead or enjoy eating extremely fiery foods, or if you're a hot sauce collector, you should check out You Can't Handle This Hot Sauce. But if it proves to be more than you can handle, don't forget that you were warned!

Zestfully yours,

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Nando's Hot Peri-Peri Grinder: All Gone

Newsflash: It's official, folks: Nando's USA is completely sold out of their Hot Peri-Peri Grinds (on the right in the photo), and our supplier is out of stock, as are we. It's a shame, as this devilishly delicious and smartly convenient spice blend was quite popular with Carolina Sauce Company customers, and with me. But for whatever reason, the manufacturer decided to discontinue this product and when I tried to order more today, I was told it was all gone. We do still have the slightly tamer (but still peppery-spicy) Nando's Medium Peri-Peri Grind in stock, as well as the citrusy and mild Nando's Lemon Herb Grind, and I confirmed that our supplier does have more of both of those flavors to ship to us. If you've never tried a Nando's Grinder, I encourage you to do so: Made in South Africa using whole spices, coarse salt and dried Peri Peri Pepper, these seasonings are flavor-packed and can be used either as whole spices, or custom-ground by twisting the handy grinder-lid. Don't delay in getting some of the Medium and Lemon Herb Grinders, because they've been discontinued too and will eventually be all gone too!

Zestfully yours,

Monday, June 9, 2008

Big John's Famous Key West Mango Fandango Hot Sauce: Limited Quantities Available!

Newsflash: Not too long ago, I wrote to announce the impending demise of Big John's Famous Key West Blue Hot Sauce, because the manufacturer had decided to discontinue the product. Well, today I learned that Big John's Famous Key West Mango Fandango Hot Sauce (with the yellow label in the photo) has met the same fate. In fact, the rumor is that the manufacturer is no longer in business, but I haven't yet been able to confirm that rumor. At this time, the Carolina Sauce Company does have a few bottles of each flavor of Big John's Key West hot sauces left in stock (and we've ordered the remaining bottles of Mango Fandango that our supplier had in stock), so you can still get them, at least for the short term. If you've never tried these tasty tropical hot sauces from Key West, Florida, then now is the time to do so, before they're gone for good. Each flavor is (or was) handmade and bottled, and the Mango Fandango is particularly good with its unique blend of Caribbean ingredients including mango, papaya, yams (yes, yams!) and scotch bonnet peppers in a honey-sweetened mustard base. I'll miss this yummy hot sauce, as well as the other flavors of Big John's Famous Key West Hot Sauces, and I'm sure I'm not the only one.

Zestfully yours,

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Spicy Mushroom Burgers

Here's a new twist on plain ol' hamburgers - if you like mushrooms and enjoy spicy foods, this recipe is for you! The recipe makes 4 burgers, but doubles easily.

1 lb ground beef
1 egg, beaten
1/3 cup soft bread crumbs
2 Tbs ketchup
1/3 cup finely chopped canned mushrooms, drained
1 Tbs hot pepper relish (I use Mama T's Hot Pepper Relish)
1/2 tsp dried basil, crushed
4 hamburger buns

Combine egg and ketchup in a large bowl, then stir in breadcrumbs, mushrooms, hot pepper relish and basil. Add ground beef and mix well to incorporate all ingredients together. Shape into four 3/4 inch thick patties and grill (or cook) until done. Serve on the buns with your favorite condiments.

Note: I like grilling some sliced portobello mushrooms and onions to serve with these burgers, either on the side or as a topping.

Zestfully yours,

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Updated Lists of Best-Selling Hot Sauce, BBQ Sauce & More

The statistics have been compiled as of June 1, 2008, and the category-specific best-seller lists at the Carolina Sauce Company are now updated. Here are some quick links to help you see what fellow food-lovers and hot sauce fans have been buying so far this year:

*Best-Selling Hot Sauce: This category is led by the Jamaican favorite, Busha Browne's Pukka Sauce, a food-friendly hot sauce that tastes great on just about anything

*Best-Selling Barbecue Sauce: Led by the eastern NC BBQ sauce Wells Hog Heaven BBQ Sauce, this category is once again dominated by North Carolina barbeque sauces but also includes a spicy mustard-based BBQ sauce from Florida

*Best-Selling Gift Sets: With Father's Day just around the corner, it's no surprise that we've seen an upsurge in gift set orders, and our best-selling gift set currently is the mild version of the Bone Suckin' Sauce Gift Set

*Best-Selling Marinades & Dressings: Currently in the top spot is North Carolina's very own Blue Tick Dressing, a gourmet berry & poppyseed vinaigrette

*Best-Selling Rubs & Seasonings: In first place as the best-selling rub is Calhoun's Charcoal Grill Seasoning, a favorite among folks with gas grills who want real charcoal flavor

*Best-Selling Salsas & Relish: Continuing its hold on first place is the medium version of Pepper Dog Salsa, an all-natural southwestern-style salsa made in NC, with its trademark smoky flavor

*Best-Selling Jamaican Jerks & Curry: Joining the usual list of jerks from Jamaica are the delicious Pluto's Organic Jamaican Jerk Sauces, made in NC by a Jamaican ex-pat

*Best-Selling Mustards: My personal favorite, Scorned Woman Mustard, currently tops this list

*Best-Selling Buffalo Wing Sauces: As one would expect, an authentic hot wing sauce from Buffalo leads the pack - the original Anchor Bar Buffalo Wing Sauce

*Best-Selling Snacks: Both varieties of the addictively good Buderim Ginger Gummy Bears from Australia (made with real ginger!) appear on this list

*Best-Selling North Carolina Products: No, the top-seller on this list is not a NC barbecue sauce, but rather the zesty, slightly sweet all-purpose spice sauce called Capsicana Zing!

Zestfully yours,

Friday, June 6, 2008

Spicy Jalapeno Meatloaf

This spicy, tasty meatloaf comes to us from the makers of Just My Taste Jalapeno Dip, a unique North Carolina condiment made with fresh green jalapeno peppers and other fine, all-natural ingredients.

1 1/2 lbs lean ground beef
3/4 cup Italian bread crumbs
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 Tbs of Just My Taste Jalapeno Dip
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, mix bread crumbs into ground beef, then set aside. Put all remaining ingredients in a food processor and process until well blended. Thoroughly combine with the meat mixture. Place in a large loaf pan and shape into a loaf. Bake 1 1/2 hours at 350 degrees. Drain fat from pan, and let stand 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Zestfully yours,

PS: When you order a jar of Just My Taste Jalapeno Dip from the Carolina Sauce Company, you'll get more delicious FREE recipes for this versatile jalapeno condiment!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Walkerswood Marinade & Bigtime's Grilling Sauce Back in Stock!

Newsflash: After a brief hiatus, two popular products are back in stock at the Carolina Sauce Company online store! The first is Walkerswood Spicy Jamaican Jerk Marinade, an authentic jerk marinade made in Jamaica from traditional ingredients. A regular top-ten best-selling Jamaican jerk product, Walkerswood marinade delivers the essence of Jamaican cuisine in an easy to use marinade that will infuse chicken, pork, lamb (and goat!), beef and seafood with rich island flavor, producing juicy and delicious results whether you roast, grill, broil or slow-cook. Walkerswood products can be hard to find, and unfortunately the manufacturer is notorious for shortages, so make sure to order your Walkerswood Spicy Jamaican Jerk Marinade while you can!

Like the name proclaims, Bigtime's Lip Smacking Grilling Sauce is a lip-smacking delicious award-winning marinade and grilling sauce that's wonderful on all sorts of meats and poultry. With its peppery kick and slightly sweet & tangy tomato-vinegar-mustard base, Bigtime's Grilling Sauce is simply phenomenal on ribs, and adds great flavor to baked beans, too! Unlike vinegar-only BBQ sauces, Bigtime's Lip Smacking Grilling Sauce has enough body that you can baste and mop with it without having it run off what you're grilling. Stock up on this winner for your cookouts, and you can count on family and friends raving about how good the food is.

Zestfully yours,

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Mama T's Ranch Style Seasoning

Mama T's Ranch Style Seasoning captures the herb flavors and buttermilk tang of ranch dressing, in a dry seasoning. I've sprinkled this tasty ranch seasoning on everything from fish to vegetables to tossed salad, and stirred it into creamy prepared salads (potato salad, egg salad, etc.) and sour cream for a quick dip - and each time the results were delicious! Mama T mixes up her Ranch Style Seasoning by hand in small batches out in Kill Devil Hills, NC, and the downhome flavor of this product shines through no matter how you use it. Heck, I even sprinkle it on popcorn and french fries for a change of pace from ordinary salt! You can also combine it with cracker crumbs or breading for a different twist on fried foods and casserole toppings. Like her other products, Mama T's Ranch Style Seasoning delivers homestyle flavor that enhances your food without overpowering it. Try some today, and support two small family businesses (Mama T Foods, and Carolina Sauce Company) in the process!

Zestfully yours,

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

May's Top 10 Best-Selling Sauces

The following are the top 10 best-selling products (hot sauce, BBQ sauce, condiments, etc.) at the Carolina Sauce Company for May 2008:

1. Matouk's Flambeau Sauce: This incredibly fiery hot sauce from Trinidad & Tobago is about as hot as you can get without adding capsaicin extract - but it also tastes really good, which probably explains why it's a favorite of so many hot sauce lovers!

2. Carolina Swamp Sauce, a savory, gourmet marinade & grilling sauce made in North Carolina - not your typical vinegar-based NC BBQ Sauce!

3. Matouk's West Indian Hot Sauce, a somewhat tamer hot sauce from the makers of Matouk's Flambeau, with Papaya and other tempting tropical ingredients to temper the fire from the the scotch bonnet peppers

4. Busha Browne's Pukka Sauce, a classic all-purpose hot sauce from Jamaica (it's not a jerk sauce!) with the perfect balance of food-friendly flavor and peppery heat

5. Buderim Ginger Bears, a zingy, grown-up version of gummy bears, made in Australia with real ginger

6. Walkerswood Traditional Jamaican Jerk Seasoning: Made the old-fashioned way in Jamaica using authentic ingredients from a timeless recipe

7. Matouk's Calypso Hot Sauce: Another terrific hot sauce from Trinidad & Tobago, made with aged pickled scotch bonnet peppers in a thick, mustard base for authentic West Indies flavor

8. Wells Hog Heaven BBQ Sauce, our all-time best-selling eastern NC (vinegar-based) barbecue sauce, made in the tiny town of Burgaw just outside Wilmington

9. Capsicana Zing Sauce, a slightly sweet, pleasantly spicy (not fiery-hot) all-purpose table sauce that's amazingly versatile, and comes with recipes!

10. Calhoun's Charcoal Grill Seasoning: Made with real charcoal, Calhoun's will add authentic charcoal-grill flavor to food cooked on a gas grill

We'll soon be updating our best-seller lists in the specific product categories, as well as introducing yet another new product from Mama T Foods. And don't worry, I have more recipes to share, too!

Zestfully yours,

Monday, June 2, 2008

Father's Day Gifts

The Carolina Sauce Company is your one-stop shopping source for unique Father's Day gifts for Dads who enjoy the zesty life. Whether that special father is a grillmeister or gourmet chef, BBQ connoisseur, fiery foods fanatic or hot sauce collector, a displaced North Carolinian or a sports fan, we have something sure to make him smile this Father's Day. Here are some suggestions to get you started:

*Send a North Carolina BBQ Sauce Gift Set, and for BBQ-loving Dads who like it hot there's a collection of spicy NC BBQ Sauces

*For baseball fans, how about some authentic Durham Bulls Triple Play BBQ Sauce, normally available only at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park in Durham, NC (did you know it's the 20th anniversary of the movie "Bull Durham"? Get your Dad the DVD and a bottle or two of the matching Durham Bulls BBQ Sauce!)

*If racing is Dad's sport of choice, get him one of our Racing Fan's Gift Set where you choose which flavor of Burning Asphalt Hot Sauce to include, depending on Dad's preferences. If Dad is more into grilling than hot sauce, we have Pit Road BBQ Sauce and a matching Pit Road Apron

*Does Dad collect hot sauces? Then you can't go wrong with an autographed bottle of the 2008 limited edition Dave's Insanity Sauce Private Reserve, made with the hottest hot pepper in the world, the jolokia "ghost pepper"

*Is Dad a lawyer, judge or other legal professional? Then the Lawyer's Gift Set, with its cleverly named, amusingly illustrated, and (most importantly) great-tasting sauces, is the perfect gift!

*For the Dad who loves to grill, there's the original Grilling Party Gift Set, and also the Hot & Spicy Grilling Party Gift Set. And for the Dad who's a gourmet or gourmand, get the NC Gourmet Gift Set

*Does Dad enjoy chips and salsa while watching the big game or his favorite show? Then get him the Pepper Dog Salsa Gift Box, decorated in the traditional chile pepper colors of red and green, all in a handy reusable wooden crate!

*Need more ideas? Check out our selection of Themed Gift Sets for great bargains and a wide selection of flavors, from mild to wild.

Forget boring, overdone gifts this Father's Day - this year, do your Father's Day shopping with the Carolina Sauce Company, and give the gift of good taste!

Zestfully yours,