Sunday, July 31, 2011

Country Style Green Beans beans Green beans seasoned with pork are a traditional Southern staple. Here is an old-fashioned recipe for country-style green beans that the whole family will love. Although I prefer my green beans cooked until they're just barely tender, folks down here tend to cook them much longer, until they're quite soft. Feel free to simmer these green beans to your desired tenderness. Either way, using fresh green beans and real country ham will result in that special down-home flavor you just can't get from a can or package.

1 1/2 lbs fresh green beans
3/4 cup to 1 cup coarsely chopped country ham
3 or 4 new potatoes (little red potatoes)
1 medium onion, chopped
Seasonings to taste, e.g., salt, pepper, hot sauce

Pick through and rinse the green beans, then string them (for you Yankees or cityfolk, that means removing the string that runs from end to end on a raw green bean - simply snap off an end and pull the string off). Rinse the potatoes and quarter them or cut into more chunks each if the potatoes are large enough. Brown the country ham in a large stock pot, then add the chopped onion and saute until onions begin to soften. Add the green beans and potatoes, stir and cover with water, and bring to a low boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover the pot and cook for about half an hour or until the beans and potatoes are cooked to your preferred tenderness. Drain and serve, seasoned to taste with your choice of seasoning. Because of the saltiness of the country ham, I simply add some ground pepper or perhaps a few dashes of hot sauce, but feel free to season with salt if you wish.

Zestfully yours,

PS: For more delicious country ham recipes, just visit our new country ham page where you'll find 4 more recipes towards the bottom of the page, and you'll also find links for ordering genuine North Carolina country ham from our partner, Johnston County Hams.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Hottest Hot Sauces & Pepper Extracts

Hot sauce fans and chileheads have spoken, and we've listened: The Carolina Sauce online store now offers an expanded selection of the hottest hot sauces on the market, conveniently grouped for your browsing pleasure and ease of shopping. Additionally, we've added a brand-new selection of extreme-heat Pepper Extracts, which are made with the hottest chile pepper extracts and generally rate at least one million Scoville Units (SHU) or higher on the heat scale. Along with old favorites like the original version of Da Bomb The Final Answer and Satan's Blood, you can now also order Da Bomb Final Answer with Lock & Key Display Case, a collector's item that's sure to impress while also serving the practical purpose of keeping little hands away from this "lethal" hot sauce; Naga Sabi Bomb Hot Sauce made with naga jolokia and wasabi; the latest edition of Blair's 3am Reserve Extract in a hand-signed bottle; and more.

Whether you enjoy consuming ultra-hot hot sauces, or want something super-hot to add to your homemade sauce recipes, or need a cost-efficient way to spice up a huge batch of chili to feed a bunch of hungry folks, or you collect hot sauces (or need a gift for someone who does), you'll probably find what you're looking for at the Carolina Sauces online store--and if you don't, simply contact us to let us know what you're searching for and we'll see if we can add it to our offerings.

Speaking of gifts for hot sauce fans and making your own fiery sauce, here's a unique gift item for the "mad scientist" or adventurous eater: The 16 Million SHU Pure Capsaicin Crystals Kit! In addition to a 1-ml. sealed vial of PURE 16 Million SHU Capsaicin Crystals (trust me when I say that a little of this stuff goes a very long way), this kit also comes with an aluminum waterproof carrying case for the vial and essential safety gear including a pair of non-latex lab gloves, tweezer forceps, and a surgical-grade non-latex face mask. All you need are safety goggles and you're ready to start creating your own signature version of unbelievably hot hot sauce, barbecue sauce or other fiery condiment.

We plan on adding more ultra-hot sauces and pepper extracts in the future, as well as "tamer" products for "saner" people, so stay tuned to this blog and become a fan on the Carolina Sauce Company Facebook page to keep up with the latest news, sales, and specials.

Zestfully yours,

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Final 2 Days of Grand Re-Opening Coupon Sale!

Our Grand Re-Opening coupon sale ends at midnight tomorrow Friday, July 29th, so you've got less than 36 hours left to save 10% off ALL products at the Carolina Sauce online store. You'll find the special coupon code in the July issue of the Carolina Sauce Newsletter, and that's also where you'll find information about our new warehouse, lower shipping rates, and new partners for meats and cheese as well as other delicious new products. Even if you already took advantage of this special coupon offer, you can order again and re-use the coupon--but don't delay, as this special discount coupon will expire at midnight tomorrow, July 29, 2011!

Zestfully yours,

PS: Want to receive more coupons and special discounts? Here are two easy ways:

1. Sign up for the FREE Carolina Sauce Newsletter. We email it once a month, it's completely free, and you can unsubscribe anytime. And we NEVER share your email address or other info with ANYONE else.

2. Become a Carolina Sauce Company Fan on Facebook. Simply visit our Facebook page and click the "Like" button to become a Fan, and you'll find exclusive Fan-only coupons posted from time to time under the Coupons tab.

PPS: Got questions or need help with a Carolina Sauces Store order? Simply visit our new Customer Service page for our new contact information, including Live Chat!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Yummy Yaki Grilled Veggies

To paraphrase a famous advertising slogan, with a name like "Yaki," you've got to be good! Such is the case with Bone Suckin' Yaki Sauce, a teriyaki BBQ sauce and marinade/grilling sauce with a North Carolina twist. Made by the same good folks who introduced the world to western NC style barbecue sauce through their renowned Bone Suckin' Sauce, Bone Suckin' Yaki is a finger-lickin' (and bone-suckin') good fusion of traditional savory-sweet teriyaki with a touch of NC BBQ tanginess the whole family will love. Bone Suckin' Teriyaki Barbecue Sauce is delicious with steak and other meat as well as chicken, shrimp and fish. Vegetarians need not feel left out as it's also quite good as a marinade and grilling sauce for vegetables. Here's my recipe for Yummy Yaki Grilled Veggies. When the weather is too cold or rainy for grilling, you can use your broiler to make this flavor-packed recipe indoors.

1 1/2 cups Bone Suckin' Yaki Sauce
1/4 cup peanut or vegetable oil
3 portobello mushrooms caps
2 sweet onions, e.g. Vidalia(R) brand or Texas Sweet
2 medium yellow squash
2 medium zucchini
1 small eggplant (Note: You can substitute an additional zucchini or yellow squash if preferred)

Slice the portobello caps into 1/4" thick slices. Trim the ends off the squashes and cut in half lengthwise, then slice into 1/4" thick half-moon slices. Trim and peel the onions then cut into 1/4" thick rings. Place all the vegetables in a lidded container or a large resealable plastic bag. Whisk together the Yaki Sauce and oil in a small bowl, then pour over the vegetables in the container or bag. Seal, shake until all the vegetables are coated with the marinade, and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. Grill until done, then serve as a side dish or with rice as a vegetarian main dish. **Note: You can add peeled raw shrimp or cubed firm tofu to the raw veggies before marinating if you want to add some protein.

Zestfully yours,

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

We have Cookbooks!

Food Network FavoritesIf you enjoy reading cookbooks and trying new recipes, or if you're a cookbook collector, you're in luck: The Carolina Sauce Company now offers cookbooks! Whether your passion is regional American cuisine, ethnic specialties, BBQ and grilling, baking, desserts, or even if you're a novice in the kitchen who's looking to improve on the basics, you can find the right cookbook for yourself (or to give as a gift) when you shop with us. Our new Cookbooks Section displays a mere sampling of the different cookbooks and books about food which are available from our partners. To search for more topics and titles or for additional information, simply click on any of the "Buy" buttons on our Cookbooks page--or click on the cookbooks shown on this page--to visit our partners and browse through their offerings.

Foster's Market CookbookSo the next time you're in the market for a new cookbook, or perhaps an interesting read about food and history, or if you need good-tasting recipes to fit certain dietary restrictions (e.g., gluten-free, vegan, Kosher, low-carb, just to name a few), please choose the Carolina Sauce Company instead of one of the huge, impersonal internet distributors that seem to be taking over the book world. As a small, family-owned and operated business, we thank you for your patronage and support as we continue to strive to become your gateway to culinary adventures!

Zestfully yours,

Monday, July 25, 2011

Two Slime-Free Okra Recipes

okra Lately, the weather around here has been ridiculously hot and humid--which is exactly what okra needs to thrive and flourish. Okra gets a bum rap because of its tendency to be "slimy" when cooked in certain ways. But this humble vegetable can be quite delicious, and slime-free, when properly prepared. Okra plays a notable role in a variety of ethnic cuisines, including Cajun and Creole dishes, in certain parts of India, and in countries or regions with an African influence including the American South, Cuba and other parts of the Caribbean.

fried okra Here in North Carolina, okra is usually dredged in cornmeal or cracker meal and fried, ideally resulting in a light and crispy coating and a tender, non-slimy okra interior IF fried in oil that's hot enough.

Below is my version of traditional fried okra, with barbecue-inspired flair, and the recipe after it is one I created last night when I tried to make "oven-fried" okra. You can double or halve both recipes. The "Crispy Okra" is exactly that: Very light and crunchy like the "freeze-dried" veggie mix (usually peas, corn, peppers) that you can buy at natural-foods stores, or like the crunchy fried onion strings used as a topping for green bean casserole. Rather than a lower-fat side dish alternative to fried okra, I think the Crispy Okra works best as a tasty, intriguingly crunchy topping or garnish for gumbo or jambalaya, or sprinkled over a dollop of sour cream on a bowl of chili, or spooned on top of fish dishes like the jerked fish I made for dinner last night. Heck, I could see myself snacking on a bowl of Crispy Okra instead of air-popped popcorn because it's completely greaseless and has a satisfying light crunch with a mild okra flavor. Let me know what you think if you make either recipe--or feel free to share your own favorite okra recipe!

BBQ-Spiced Fried Okra
1 lb. fresh okra
1 cup cornmeal
1 tsp to 1 1/2 tsp of your favorite BBQ dry rub or seasoning
1/2 cup oil for frying (e.g., vegetable or canola)

Rinse the okra, pat dry with a paper towel, trim the ends and slice into 1/4" thick rounds. Place the cornmeal and dry rub seasoning in a resealable plastic bag, seal the bag and shake to mix. Add the okra slices and shake until all the okra is evenly coated with the cornmeal mixture. Heat the oil over medium-high heat (350F degrees) in a large heavy-bottom skillet or wok. When oil is hot enough, carefully add the okra: If there's a lot of leftover cornmeal in the plastic bag, I use a slotted spoon to scoop the okra out so that I can shake off excess cornmeal. Fry the okra until it's golden-brown, about 10 to 12 minutes. Use a slotted spoon or spatula to removed the fried okra from the oil, and place on a paper-towel-covered plate to cool a bit and absorb excess oil. Serve hot.

Crispy Okra
1 lb. fresh okra
1 cup cornmeal
Salt and pepper to taste, OR 1 tsp of your favorite seasoning blend

Preheat oven (I used the convection setting of my microwave/convection oven) to 425F degrees. While the oven is preheating, rinse the okra, pat dry with a paper towel, trim the ends and use a sharp knife to slice into very thin rounds, the thinner the better. Place the cornmeal and seasoning in a resealable plastic bag, seal the bag and shake to mix. Add the okra slices and shake until all the okra is evenly coated with the cornmeal mixture. Spread the okra on a lightly greased baking sheet or shallow pan (you can use an ungreased non-stick sheet or pan). If desired, you can very lightly spray the okra with cooking spray (I didn't do this last night). Bake at 425F for 15 minutes, remove from oven and stir to turn okra slices over then return to oven and cook for another 10 minutes or until crispy. The okra might not brown much, which is fine so long as it is completely crispy. When it's done, remove from oven, allow to cool a bit then serve as a topping or garnish, or in a bowl as a finger snack.

Zestfully yours,

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Carolina Sauce Newsletter: Grand Re-Opening Sale, Coupon & New Products!

Grand Re-Opening Sale & Coupon!

We're thrilled to announce that the Carolina Sauce Company is open for business again, and we're having a huge sale to celebrate our Grand Re-Opening! Use the coupon code Launch2011 to get 10% off your product total at the Carolina Sauces online store, no minimum purchase required! No order is too small, and the coupon is good even on already-discounted sale items. This coupon will expire at midnight EDT on Friday, July 29th.

We've successfully completed our move, and we're pleased to announce the launching of our new order fulfillment facility located in NC and operated by one of our longtime partners for hot sauces, BBQ sauces and other fiery specialty foods. This partnership will allow us to expand our entire product line and offer more hot sauces and gift items than ever before. We're also in the process of bringing back popular North Carolina products and other old favorites that are not yet in stock again, so stay tuned for future announcements on this blog and in future newsletters, as more products become available. And if you don't currently receive our FREE monthly e-Newsletter, with special sales and coupons, recipes, new product info and other zesty news, simply sign up for the Carolina Sauce newsletter.

In addition to expanding our product offerings, we will be transitioning to our new FedEx shipping and fulfillment system to offer our customers even better values on Ground and Express Shipping. We're working on USPS shipping options and hope to resume shipping with the US Postal Service to APO, FPO and other addresses later this year.

If you have questions about your order on the Carolina Sauces store, or about specific products or other customer service needs, our new customer service email is

***Don't forget to enter the coupon code Launch2011 for 10% off your product total, good through Friday, July 29, 2011.***

NEW PRODUCTS: Meats, Cheeses, and Food Art

Meat & Cheese Antipasto Collection The Carolina Sauce Company is now THE place to shop for the best deals on meats and cheeses from North Carolina and around the world, including country ham and bacon from Smithfield, NC; naturally raised buffalo from South Dakota; Italian, Spanish, and other European cheeses & deli items; and even all-natural, farm-raised exotic meats and game from Fossil Farms. We've partnered with carefully selected producers, importers and distributors of hard-to-find specialty meats and cheeses to deliver straight to your home or business, at a reasonable price and with outstanding customer service. Here's just a sampling of what you can now order:

*Country Ham, honey-cured ham, aged prosciutto, bacon, country sausage and more from North Carolina's famous Johnston County Hams, shown in the margin on the left of this blog

Your Gourmet Food Store *Kosher deli items, foie gras, gourmet cheeses & butter, smoked salmon, Russian, Spanish & French foods and more from Your Gourmet Food Store, a comprehensive source for fine international delicacies at affordable prices

*Imported pate & gourmet fish products from around the world, courtesy of our new partner

Spanish Cheese assortment *Busseto Dry Cured Salami and award-winning Parmigiano-Reggiano Stravecchio cheese from Italy, authentic Serrano Ham from Spain, assortments of Cheddar cheeses and French Cheeses, plus other mouthwatering imports from OliveNation

*Grass-fed, grain-finished buffalo from Dakota Buffalo Company

*Alligator meat and other exotic meats from Fossil Farms, a family-owned and operated farm

Make sure to visit our brand-new Meats and Cheese page to see our current partners and their products, and make sure to return regularly as we'll be expanding our offerings in this new category.

If you appreciate food art, including classic posters, chili pepper art, food photography and more, you'll love our new selection of food-related Art & Posters, brought to you in affiliation with and We even have officially licensed Harry Potter wall art, including Every Flavour Candy Beans Wall Art and other confections from the books and movies, Various Assorted Magic Potions Wall Art, and more! Our whimsical wall art, beautiful art prints and eye-catching posters make great gifts for your favorite foodie, chilihead or Harry Potter fan.

Please note: Orders for meats, cheeses, art, posters and other partner products are fulfilled by our partners, who may offer their own special coupons and sale offers, so Carolina Sauces coupons do not apply.

Find Recipes, Special Coupons, Product Reviews, Zesty News & More

The Carolina Sauce Facebook Page is your source for Carolina Sauce news, interesting food articles, and exclusive Facebook-only coupons. For access to these special coupons and the latest zesty news, simply visit our Facebook page and click on the "Like" button to become a Fan. You can then click on the Coupons tab and access special offers. And if you're looking for new recipes, grilling tips, product reviews, and the occasional chuckle, visit this blog on a regular basis. Here's where we post delicious recipes, review new products as soon as they arrive, announce any discontinued or unavailable products, warn of possible product shortages, run special sales and discounts, and provide other useful information. Subscribe to our free RSS feed and you won't miss a single zesty thing! Just fill in your subscription info in the spaces provided in the left-hand column of this blog.

Follow SaucyGlo on Twitter for additional exclusive coupons, the latest food news, & for sharing zesty tips!

Zestfully yours,

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Mango Lassi: The Original Fruit Smoothie?

I was fortunate enough to spend a couple of weeks in India a few years ago, and while I was there I made it a point to indulge in a glass of mango lassi on an almost-daily basis. Mango lassi is a refreshing--and filling--traditional Indian beverage made with fresh, ripe mango and yogurt. Many Indian restaurants will offer mango lassi and plain or salted lassi. Although it wasn't the peak of mango season during my stay in Bangalore, the available fresh Indian mangoes were nevertheless honey-sweet, with an indescribably lush and complex tropical flavor. And the homemade Indian yogurt was luxuriously rich and thick (most definitely not fat-free!), with a voluptuous mouthfeel and sassy tartness that paired perfectly with the mango. If you love mangoes and enjoy smoothies but have never tried mango lassi, I highly recommend it as a satisfying breakfast beverage, filling snack, or drinkable summertime dessert. It also helps tame the fiery heat of Indian food and other spicy fare.

I've tried my hand at making mango lassi at home, and it's very easy. If you can make a smoothie, you can make lassi. Although I can't replicate exactly the indulgent treat I enjoyed in India, my version will satisfy my craving and I can also make a healthier version by using low-fat or fat-free yogurt. Greek style yogurt works best, but you can also strain regular yogurt to make it thicker. And for a thinner consistency, use milk instead. The most time-consuming part of this recipe is peeling the mango, removing the pit and chopping it for the blender. To save time--or if fresh, ripe mango isn't available--you can use the mango slices you find in jars in the produce aisle of many grocery stores these days. This recipe makes about 4 glasses, and you can multiply it to make more or adjust the ingredient amounts to your taste/thickness preference. If desired, you can garnish each glass with a light dusting of ground ginger, ground cinnamon, or even fresh organic rose petals.

1 cup of fresh mango, diced
2 cups plain Greek yogurt
1/4 cup orange juice
2 Tbs honey
1 Tbs (or to taste) fresh lime or lemon juice
Opt: a few drops of rose-petal water (found in Indian groceries and specialty-foods shops)
Ice cubes

Combine the mango and yogurt in a blender and process until smooth. Add the orange juice, lime or lemon juice, honey and rose-petal water if using, and blend to combine. If it's too thick, add a little ice-cold water and blend. Taste for balance, and add more honey or lime/lemon juice if desired. Blend until thick and frothy, and serve in glasses over ice cubes.

Zestfully yours,

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Fire Safety Tips for Grilling

It's peak BBQ and grilling season, so now's a good time as ever to review some important safety tips when "playing with fire," i.e., cooking outdoors over an open flame, regardless of whether it's a charcoal or gas grill. While much of this is common sense, it's easy to get distracted by kids or pets, or when talking to friends, or simply while enjoying the weather (or an "adult beverage"). So please take the time to review these tips to reduce the chances of starting a fire--other than the one you're cooking with!

*NEVER use a BBQ grill indoors. Not only is it a fire hazard, but you also run the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.

*Make sure a responsible person is always tending the grill, i.e., someone sober enough and attentive enough to keep pets and little children a safe distance away, and to look out for flare-ups. After grilling, keep kids and pets away from the grill until it's cooled down in order to prevent burns or accidents.

*Keep outdoor games and activities a safe distance away, especially when they involve flying objects such as frisbees or balls, or people running around.

*Don't set up your grill under low branches or awnings, or too close to your house or other structures. A good rule of thumb is to leave at least 10 feet between the grill and the house or other structures. And don't set your grill up on or near pine straw, which is very flammable. Set it up on a level surface in an open area.

*If you must use a flammable liquid to start the fire, ONLY use charcoal fluid and NEVER add charcoal fluid or any other flammable liquid after the fire is lit. I know, as a kid you probably saw your Dad do it without any problems, or maybe you do it yourself, but why keep tempting fate??

*When you're done grilling with charcoal, let the coals die out completely and then dispose of them in a metal container, preferably lidded. Even better, douse the coals with water before disposing of them, to ensure there aren't any smoldering embers.

*When you're finished grilling on a gas grill, turn off the grill AND the propane tank.

*If using a gas grill and you start smelling gas during grilling, you probably have a gas leak. THIS IS BAD. Step away from the grill right away and call your fire department. Keep everyone else away from the grill, and don't try to move it. An exploding gas grill or propane tank can take out a house.

*If you live in an apartment and want to grill on your terrace or porch, first make sure you're allowed to do so (some apartment complexes and even some states ban grilling on apartment terraces)--and then be VERY careful since you'll be grilling in a semi-enclosed area.

If you follow these safety tips, you'll greatly reduce the risk of accidental fires or burns.

Zestfully yours,
Carolina Sauce Company

Friday, July 15, 2011

Healthy Substitutes for Summer Meals

Like many people, I want to eat healthy--but I also want my food to taste good, and not to be loaded with artificial fat or sugar substitutes. Especially in the summer, I look for lower-calorie, lower-fat ingredient substitutions that work well in recipes AND preserve as much of the flavor and mouthfeel of the original recipe as possible. My philosophy boils down to this: If there's a healthier, natural alternative to a high-fat or high-sugar ingredient, go with it. But if it doesn't taste good, or if the substitute is packed with fake ingredients, stick with the original and simply have a smaller portion.

After some reading as well as experimenting in the kitchen and on the grill, I've found the following healthy substitutions to work well in summer (and other) recipes. Even when the finished product doesn't taste exactly like the original version, the healthier version tastes quite good in and of itself--and, it's healthier, which is the whole point.

* Use fat-free or low-fat plain Greek yogurt in place of sour cream for tacos, nachos, burritos and other Mexican fare. It's pleasantly tangy and has a much richer density and mouthfeel than ordinary yogurt, and is lower in calories and fat than sour cream. Natural Greek yogurt also tastes much better than the fat-free or low-fat sour creams on the market, which tend to have artificial ingredients added to them. I also use plain nonfat Greek yogurt when baking my favorite cornbread recipe, which calls for a cup of sour cream. No one can tell the difference in flavor or texture, and the end result is much lower in fat.

* If making a dessert that calls for sugar-sweetened sour cream, such as a fruit salad or in a topping, try some vanilla or honey-sweetened nonfat Greek yogurt instead.

*Veggie burgers are usually much lower in fat and calories than hamburgers. However, veggie burgers aren't very "grill-friendly" and I've yet to find one--either from a store or homemade--that satisfies my craving for meat when I want a burger. Assuming you're not a vegetarian (or cooking for a vegetarian) and simply want to make a healthier burger, here's a great substitution I recently learned. Instead of using 1 pound of raw ground beef (or ground turkey or chicken) for your burgers, reduce the amount to 3/4 lb. and add 1 cup of canned beans that you've rinsed, drained and mashed. This beans-to-meat ratio multiplies, too. Black beans or kidney beans work well with beef, pork and venison. Garbanzos (chickpeas), navy beans and cannellini beans work well with turkey or chicken. Mix the mashed beans into the ground meat or poultry along with your favorite seasonings, shape into patties and cook as usual. These "hybrid" burgers will hold their shape and not dry out like 100% veggie burgers, and will still taste meaty while being lower in fat and calories. I haven't tried using a cup of cooked lentils yet, but I bet that would work with beef and other red meats.

*If you make basil pesto, substitute walnuts for the traditional pine nuts. Walnuts are lower in fat and provide more nutrients, especially omega-3 fatty acids.

*Instead of using store-bought syrup toppings for ice cream, try grilled or fresh summer fruit instead. Here are my favorite pairings:

--Grilled peaches or grilled pineapple with vanilla or butter pecan ice cream
--Fresh ripe berries (mash a few to release their sweet juice) or grilled bananas with chocolate ice cream
--Grilled plums or grilled bananas with strawberry ice cream.

I haven't tried grilling cherries yet, but I think it might work: My plan is to remove the stems, halve and pit the fresh cherries and place them in a foil "packet" without sealing too tightly (similar to a poaching packet for fish or vegetables), and then grill for a few minutes to cook the cherries and release their juices and make them naturally sweeter. If this works, I bet the grilled cherries would taste great with chocolate or vanilla ice cream. If anyone tries this, or has other tips for grilling cherries, please leave a comment!

Zestfully yours,
Carolina Sauce Company

Monday, July 11, 2011

June's Top 10 Best-Selling Products

We're getting close to being able to re-open the Carolina Sauce Company online store, so I took a break this afternoon to tally the top ten best-selling products for the month of June. Below are the results:

1. Once again, Wells Hog Heaven BBQ Sauce tops our list as the best-selling product at Carolina Sauce. Wells is an authentic eastern NC barbecue sauce made with vinegar and spices, and without any tomatoes or thickeners. This is the type of thin, tangy sauce that put Carolina pulled pork BBQ on the national radar--and it's also quite good as a marinade for chicken or as a table sauce for seasoning french fries, greens, fried fish, etc.

2. Also repeating its May finish is my favorite ginger candy, Buderim Ginger Bears from Australia. Not as sweet as "kiddie" gummy bears, these Ginger Bears are made with real ginger and have a zippy, refreshing flavor.

3. Carolina Cupboard Eastern NC BBQ Sauce is another vinegar-based barbecue sauce that's quite popular and hails from the famous A Southern Season gourmet store in Chapel Hill, NC. A little bit more "mellow" than Wells Hog Heaven, you can enjoy Carolina Cupboard BBQ Sauce in the same manner.

4. A favorite of folks who miss the old Durkee's charcoal seasoning that was discontinued years ago, Calhoun's Charcoal Seasoning from Tennessee adds genuine char-grilled flavor to burgers, steaks and anything else when you don't have (or can't use) a charcoal grill.

5. Matouk's Calypso Hot Sauce from Trinidad & Tobago was our fifth best-selling sauce last month. This fiery tropical hot sauce adds rich flavor and scotch bonnet pepper heat to any dish.

6. Matouk's West Indian Hot Sauce is a little milder and fruitier than Matouk's Calypso, with papaya as its main ingredient. Don't worry, there's still plenty of scotch bonnet flavor and fire, making Matouk's West Indian an excellent hot sauce choice for fish and seafood, chicken, rice dishes and more.

7. Jim's Own Homestyle BBQ Sauce is an award-winning, tangy-sweet Lexington style barbecue sauce from the North Carolina Piedmont, which means it blends some tomato with vinegar for a lip-smackin', finger-lickin' flavor that complements everything from pork BBQ to ribs, chicken, and even shrimp.

8. JT Pappy's Gator Grenade Hot BBQ Sauce is a robust, hot & spicy mustard-tomato barbeque sauce that fiery-foods fans love on ribs, burgers, chicken, and any other grilled fare.

9. Adams Rib Rubb is a North Carolina favorite that's gaining a wider following as more folks give it a try and discover its appealing savory-sweet flavor and its tenderizing ability. Use Adams Rib Rubb on meats and game, poultry, shrimp, and full-flavored fish like salmon or tuna.

10. Completing our list of the top 10 best-selling sauces and seasonings for June is Castle Sauce from Greensboro, NC. This classic burger & steak sauce captures the flavor of a bygone era and is a favorite of young and old alike. It's also a tasty condiment for fries and onion rings.

Zestfully yours,

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Kabob Skewers: Bamboo or Metal?

Twice in the past week I've wrapped scallops in bacon and threaded them on skewers for Greg to grill. We've used the same type of all-natural, nitrite-free bacon each time, fresh sea scallops from the same seafood market, and lightly sprinkled the kabobs with Big Daddy's Superb Herb Seasoning before grilling. The only thing different was the type of skewer we used.

For the first dinner, I threaded the bacon-wrapped scallops onto very slender bamboo skewers that I had first soaked in water for about 20 minutes. Although the weight of the bacon-wrapped scallops (5 per skewer) made it a little tricky to turn the kebabs while grilling, all of the scallops and bacon remained threaded during cooking and they easily slid off the skewers when we served them. The second time, I used standard metal skewers that were beveled and were about twice as thick as the bamboo skewers. Each of these metal skewers easily supported the weight of 5 bacon-wrapped scallops, and I didn't apply any grease to the skewers as I figured the bacon would provide enough to keep the scallops from sticking to the skewers (this hadn't been a problem with the soaked bamboo skewers). Unfortunately, some pieces of bacon as well as some scallops managed to fall off the metal skewers when moving them during grilling. Additionally, instead of easily sliding off like the bamboo-skewered bacon-wrapped scallops, the ones cooked on the metal skewers tended to stick or unwrap during removal.

Luckily, both the bamboo-skewered and the metal-skewered bacon-wrapped scallops were delicious. Using the soaked bamboo skewers, however, proved to be easier and produced better-looking, more evenly-cooked results. So, my question is: Has anyone else experienced such a difference when using bamboo vs. metal skewers when grilling any foods? Any thoughts on why we had such different results? Please feel free to leave a comment.

Zestfully yours,

Friday, July 8, 2011

How to Grill Corn, Perfectly

For the past few days, Greg and I have been enjoying the most delicious grilled corn we've ever had, thanks to having access to freshly-picked sweet corn (picked in the morning and grilled that same evening) and to Greg having perfected his method for grilling corn on a charcoal grill.

In the past, we've tried several different methods for grilling corn, with varying results. These methods have included simply shucking & grilling the corn, partially shucking & pulling back the remaining husk to butter the ear then re-covering with the remaining husk to grill the corn in its husk, soaking the unshucked corn for 30 minutes or more and then grilling it in its husk, and shucking the corn to butter it and wrap it in foil for grilling in the foil. While the foil method always produced juicy corn, it lacked that char-grilled flavor that we got from the other grilling methods--but the other methods sometimes dried out the corn or resulted in burnt parts if we weren't really vigilant.

Lately, however, Greg has achieved true grilled-corn perfection: Tender and juicy corn with just the right amount of char-grilling and no burnt spots, for rich flavor that needs no seasoning at all (not even salt, unless you're a salt addict). Here's how to grill corn, perfectly and surprisingly quickly:

Shuck the corn and remove all silk. Spray each ear of corn with butter-flavored cooking spray (I think brushing with melted butter would work just as well) and wrap in aluminum foil, leaving the ends open so you can easily unwrap using grill tongs. Grill the corn over direct coals (cook on high heat) for 2 to 3 minutes. Turn the corn over using grill tongs, and grill for another 2 or 3 minutes. About 1 minute before serving, use the grill tongs to remove foil from corn, then grill the unwrapped corn over hot coals to slightly brown each side. Serve and enjoy--and season if you must, but do try a bite first and then decide if you really do need to add any seasoning.

Zestfully yours,
Carolina Sauce Company

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Please Pardon Our Dust...

If you've visited the Carolina Sauce Company online store recently, you've probably noticed that we're currently closed for moving and for the relaunching of our operations in the very near future. There are some exciting things in the works as part of our expansion and Grand Re-Opening, which will be announced in the upcoming July issue of the Carolina Sauce monthly e-Newsletter and also on this Blog. Just to give you a sneak preview, here's a little taste of what's coming up:

*Authentic North Carolina country ham, bacon and other delicious NC pork products from Johnston County NC, delivered to your home or workplace

*Hard-to-find gourmet & ethnic specialties from Italy and Spain, including olive oils, balsamic vinegar, pasta, spices & herbs, cheeses & more

*Restaurant-quality accessories and equipment for your home kitchen, at wholesale prices

*Fabulous professionally-designed gourmet gift sets and culinary treasures, priced to fit any budget

And of course many of the same hot sauces, BBQ sauces, salsas, condiments and other favorite products you're used to getting from Carolina Sauce, plus some new ones we think you'll love.

Are you intrigued? Have we tickled your taste buds and whet your appetite for more? Are you ready to embark on new culinary adventures with us? Then sign up for the free Carolina Sauce monthly newsletter and you'll receive our Grand Re-Opening announcement and more information on our new zesty offerings!

Zestfully yours,

PS: Our newsletter is FREE, sent only once a month, and you can unsubscribe anytime (and we NEVER share your email with anyone else)