Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Pepper Dog Salsa Verde

Salsa verde (Spanish for "green salsa") is usually hard to find outside of a Mexican restaurant - until now. Thanks to the folks who brought us Pepper Dog Salsas (southwestern style red salsas in Mild, Medium and Hot), you can now enjoy authentic, all-natural salsa verde at home without going through the trouble of making it yourself. Made with fresh tomatillos, peppers, cilantro, garlic and spices (and no onions or vinegar), Pepper Dog Salsa Verde is brimming with flavor and medium-hot fire. If you enjoy Mexican or Tex-Mex food, a jar of this stuff is essential to top off your chicken enchiladas and other favorites. Less sweet than tomato-based red salsas, salsa verde has a mouthwatering tang that works particularly well with cheese-rich dishes. Of course, you can also use it for dipping chips, either "straight" or blended with cream cheese to tone down the heat. Salsa verde also complements grilled meats, chicken and fish, and even scrambled eggs and hamburgers. In fact, it adds a nice touch to all sorts of dishes - for lunch today, I heated up some of last night's leftover fish with peppers, onions and garlic, and served that over rice with a big dollop of Pepper Dog Salsa Verde. YUM! If you've never tried salsa verde, or if you've been looking for one to enjoy at home, then you need to get yourself a jar of Pepper Dog Salsa Verde.

Zestfully yours,

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

World's Best Beef Brisket

Smoked brisket, sliced & ready to eat

This recipe is Greg's masterpiece, and is worth the time it takes-- but most of the time is spent waiting, not "doing," so it's not too much of a hassle. You do want to use a smoker, however. For years, Greg tried substituting a gas grill set on low heat with a smoker box, but the results just aren't the same. For this brisket recipe, you'll want to start it at least a full day before you plan on serving it in order to get the best results. In addition to the smoker, you'll need a crock pot to finish the recipe.

Prepping the Smoker: To really smoke things right, start with a pile of hardwood (oak or hickory, keeping in mind that hickory has a stronger taste). Drop in a starter-chimney full of hot coals and get the wood burning down to coals. This will take about two hours. Now drop on more hot coals and seal up the smoker until you've got the right temperature for your recipe (225°F degrees for this brisket recipe). Only then should you put the meat on the smoker. The key is to not have flame from the wood, because that produces creosote, which has a nasty taste.

1 beef brisket, size depends on how many folks you plan on feeding
A chile powder dry rub or seasoning of your choice
A rich, thick barbecue sauce of your choice, or Ole Ray's Steak & Brisket Sauce

Brisket, hot off the smoker
Liberally rub the brisket with dry rub or seasoning to coat well, and then place the brisket on your prepped smoker (see paragraph above) at 225°F degrees. You'll want to check the smoker periodically and adjust as necessary to keep it at 225°F degrees. Once the brisket is cooked through (when you can stick a fork in it and twist pretty easily), transfer it to a crock pot with just enough water to cover the bottom of the pot. Let it sit, covered, on low heat for at least another 8 hours, but it can go all night and until you're ready to eat. When you're ready to serve the brisket, remove it from the crock pot (carefully, since it will be extra-tender) and slice against the grain at an angle to get pieces that will fall apart. Serve with a brisket sauce or a thick, rich BBQ sauce on the side--but honestly, the brisket will taste so good by itself that you really won't need the sauce!

Note: Because smoking is more of an art than a science, you'll probably want to try this recipe a few times and adjust the cooking time and temperature until you get it just right.  The outdoor temperature and humidity can also affect the smoking time and temperature. But the good news is, all of your efforts will be quite delicious in and of themselves!

Zestfully yours,

Monday, October 29, 2007

Shoogs' Authentic NC BBQ Sauce

When I first saw the label on the bottle of Shoogs' BBQ Sauce, I had to smile: The little pig with the squinty grin was sooooooooo cute that I almost wanted to give up eating barbecue! Well, almost - one taste of Shoogs' Authentic North Carolina Barbeque Sauce quickly changed my mind. This sauce is the real deal, folks, and just begs to be splashed on some pulled pork BBQ, or used as a marinade and grilling sauce for chicken. Shoogs' Barbeque Sauce is an eastern NC style, vinegar-based BBQ sauce that's tart, tangy and peppery without any added sweetness. Although the sauce does have some tomato, it's there just to add "body" to the vinegar base and doesn't change that eastern NC style tang. Shoogs' has a very pleasant bite to it from the hot pepper flakes and black pepper bits that you can see in the sauce, which makes it especially nice when using it on a pullled pork BBQ sandwich that also has creamy slaw (or for splashing on collard greens, or for dipping hushpuppies in - my personal favorite, especially if the hushpuppies are made from sweet cornmeal). If you're looking to try a new authentic eastern North Carolina barbecue sauce, then order yourself a bottle of Shoogs' Barbeque Sauceand get yourself cookin'!

Zestfully yours,

Zesty Meatloaf

Another ridiculously easy recipe that's sure to please the whole family - and it doubles easily, too!

12 oz ground beef
1 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1 egg, beaten (or the equivalent using an egg substitute like EggBeaters(r))
1/2 cup Sunfire Marinade, Original or Garlic flavor

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients and mix until well-blended (hands work best for this, even though it's messy). Form into a loaf shape and place in a shallow baking dish or loaf pan. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes at 350 degrees until done. That's it!

Zestfully yours,

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Mile High Hot Sauce

Several years back, I discovered an unusual hot sauce at the "deck" dining area of the RBC Center where the Carolina Hurricanes play their home games. Two things caught my eye about this hot sauce: first, the unusual bottle shape, and second, its bright red color despite being a jalapeno hot sauce. Jalapeno pepper hot sauces are almost always made from green (unripe) jalapenos, the kind you typically find in your produce section at the grocery store. Using green jalapenos results in a sharper "grassy" or "vegetal" flavor profile (think green bell pepper flavor vs. ripe red or yellow bell pepper flavor). Having never tried a naturally red jalapeno pepper hot sauce, I had to put some Mile High Hot Sauce on my nachos and give it a try. Boy, was I pleasantly surprised! Mile High Hot Sauce is made with sun-ripened red jalapeno peppers. The end result is a rounder, mellower pepper flavor without the edge of green peppers, BUT with all the heat (and maybe more!) of a standard green jalapeno pepper hot sauce. In other words, the ripe red jalapenos produce a more satisfying, food-friendly and better tasting hot sauce, without sacrificing the natural jalapeno heat.

Mile High Hot Sauce is made in North Carolina by a former Air Force fighter pilot who grows his jalapeno peppers on a 5-acre plot of land that's part of the Goldsboro Wayne Airport property in Pikeville, North Carolina. Because Mile High Hot Sauce is not strained, its consistency is pleasantly thicker than that of vinegar-laden, runny grocery store hot sauces. In fact, the little pieces of pepper and seeds make Mile High Hot Sauce a favorite with salsa fans, and a great condiment for scrambled eggs and omelets. With its medium-hot heat level and rich, sunny flavor profile, Mile High Hot Sauce is ideal for spicing up your food without destroying your taste buds. Perhaps best of all, it comes in a generous 10 oz bottle, so you get twice as much sauce as your average hot sauce bottle! Try this North Carolina original today, or get a bottle (or two) of Mile High Hot Sauce as a gift for your favorite aviator.

Zestfully yours,

Friday, October 26, 2007

Free Gift for Blog Readers and Operation Sauce Drop Supporters

It's that time again - time to claim your FREE GIFT for reading my blog! The Carolina Sauce Company wants to thank you for taking the time to read my posts, and so we've set aside some hot sauces, BBQ sauces and other zesty products as gifts for our faithful readers. We also have special thank-you savings if you donate to Operation Sauce Drop. There are two easy ways to claim your free gift:

(1) Place an order for one or more products from the Carolina Sauce Company between now and November 21st, and enter the word "Blog" in the COMMENTS line on the online order form, and we will add a free item of our choice in addition to your purchase!


(2) Make a donation to Operation Sauce Drop in any amount between now and November 30th, and enter the word "Blog" in the COMMENTS line on the online order form (or if you donate through PayPal, send us an email at and mention this Blog). We will then email you a coupon for 10% off your next order of products from the Carolina Sauce Company, good through April 30th, 2008! (And yes, even if you've already donated to Operation Sauce Drop in the past, you can still get your discount coupon if you make another donation between now and Nov. 30th!)

Best of all, do both (1) AND (2), and you'll get both gifts: a FREE item of our choice shipped to you with your order, AND a coupon for 10% off your next order if you donate to Operation Sauce Drop! So what are you waiting for?!? Place your order and make a donation today, and get your free gifts right away!

Zestfully yours,

Thursday, October 25, 2007

More Operation Sauce Drop Feedback

Sincere thanks to all of you who have contributed to Operation Sauce Drop, either by making a donation or by helping to spread the word about this program to send free hot sauce and BBQ sauce to our troops stationed abroad. Because of your generosity, the Carolina Sauce Company has been able to ship 59 gift boxes to US military personnel serving overseas, and tomorrow four more gift boxes will ship out. We continue to receive notes of gratitude and other feedback, and here is some of the latest:

"Thanks for thinking about the troops! It's nice to know we haven't been forgotten!"

"Thank you so much for Operation Sauce Drop, you have no idea what it means to be supported by businesses just like yourself. Thank you again for all you do."

"I am a Battalion Commander in Iraq and we deeply appreciate your thoughts and support."

From the wife of a serviceman: "This is the coolest thing i've ever heard of. My husband's downrange and the guys are always askin for hot sauce. What a great idea thank you so much."

From another military wife: "Thank you so much for this. I just registered my husband who is in Iraq right now. This means a lot... knowing there are people (and companies) out there who still care and support our heroes!!!! YOU GUYS ARE AWESOME!!!!!!!!!"

Not counting the 4 gift boxes that will ship out tomorrow, we currently have a waiting list of 25 servicemen and women waiting for their gift box. It's going to take several hundred dollars in donations to be able to send all of those gift boxes. Please consider making a donation to help send a little taste of home to our troops serving overseas. And stay tuned for more feedback and updates! Many thanks for your consideration.

Zestfully yours,

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Greg’s Bourbon Pecan Pie

pecan pie recipe
Last Thanksgiving, Greg discovered that, not only was he a grilling guru, but he could also make a really good pecan pie! His pumpkin pie ain't half-bad either, but that recipe will have to wait. Here's his killer pecan pie recipe.

2 cups NC pecan halves or pieces, divided into 1 cup portions
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
3 eggs
1 tsp real vanilla extract
½ tsp salt
¾ cup dark corn syrup
Up to 1 Tbs bourbon (no need to use an expensive brand)
1 unbaked 9” pie shell (Pillsbury® brand works well)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat the butter and brown sugar in a bowl until creamy and light. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each egg is added. Beat in the vanilla, salt, corn syrup and bourbon. Arrange 1 cup pecans on the bottom of the unbaked pie shell. Pour the pie filling over the pecans, then sprinkle the remaining pecans over the filling (use more pecans if necessary, to cover the top of the pie). Bake for 55 to 60 minutes (until pie is set) at 350 degrees.

Zestfully yours,
Carolina Sauce Company

Monday, October 22, 2007

Tarheel Premium Barbecue Sauces

Our newest sauces at Carolina Sauce Company come to us from Stella, North Carolina, a little town in the eastern reaches of NC, sort of between Camp Lejeune and Morehead City. Tarheel Premium Barbecue Sauces are made from old family recipes dating back over 50 years, and help you capture the delicious flavors of a bygone era when friends and family would gather after the tobacco harvest to share a bountiful feast featuring a whole slow-cooked hog, grilled chicken, and all the fixin's made from farm-fresh produce. Tarheel Premium Gone Whole Hog Barbecue Sauce is a traditional eastern-style NC BBQ sauce made from cider vinegar, a blend of peppers and other spices, and no tomatoes. This is the kind of sauce that just begs to be splashed on pork, especially the slow-smoked pulled pork barbecue found in eastern NC. But the beauty of this sauce is that you can also use it as a marinade and basting sauce for meats cooked in the oven or in a crock pot. Tarheel Premium Honey BBQ Sauce is a thicker, sweeter sauce with a rich blend of flavors including tomatoes, onions and real honey with a splash of cider vinegar and a dash of spices. This rich sauce is the perfect complement to grilled chicken or ribs as well as other meat and poultry. Use it for basting, mopping, dipping and marinating, and also try it in the oven and crock pot as well. Get a bottle of each flavor of Tarheel Premium Barbeque Sauces and let your taste buds carry you away to a simpler time when folks took the time to make good food for friends and family.

Zestfully yours,

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Dawn's Taco Soup

My good friend Dawn shared her taco soup recipe, which I think is the ideal "comfort food" on a blustery autumn or winter day. This recipe easily doubles (in fact, the recipe below is halved from the one she sent me, and it still made a LOT of soup), and it freezes well and tastes even better the next day because the flavors will have had more time to meld and develop. You can make it as thin or thick as you like by adding more or less broth/water, and you can adjust the spiciness by using more or less of the spices, hot sauce and seasoning mix. Enjoy!

1/2 to 1 can (16oz) Refried Beans (if you love the flavor of refried beans, go ahead and use a full can and plan on adding extra broth/water. I use fat-free refried beans for a healthier soup)
2 cans (15oz or 16oz each) of Black Beans or Dark Kidney Beans (or 1 can of each)
2 cans (15oz or 16oz each) of Great Northern Beans
2 cups Low-Sodium Chicken Broth (even if you are not on a low-sodium diet, you'll want to use the low-sodium broth or else the soup will taste too salty--or use homemade broth)
1 can Diced Tomatoes with Green Chiles (some brands come in 10oz cans and others in 14oz cans, and either size will work)
1 can (14oz) Diced Tomatoes
1/2 to 1 small can (7oz) Shoepeg White Corn (use if the full can if you like a "corny" soup)
1 to 2 dollops of Dave's Hurtin' Habanero Hot Sauce, or El Yucateco Hot Sauce, or your favorite Mexican hot sauce or southwestern hot sauce
1/2 to 1 Tbs Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
1/2 to 1 Tbs Garlic Powder

1 or 2 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts, cut into small cubes or chunks
1 Tbs Olive Oil
1 Large Onion (about 1 1/2 cups chopped)
1 1/2 to 2 Tbs of your favorite Taco Seasoning mix (use a low-sodium blend if you want to cut back on salt)

Rinse and drain all the beans (except the refried beans, of course!) and place in a large stock pot with the tomatoes, corn and chicken broth. Add the Hot Sauce, garlic powder, crushed red pepper and chicken broth, stirring well to help break up the refried beans. If you prefer a thinner soup, just stir in either more chicken broth or some water. Place on low to med-low heat to start warming, stirring frequently.

While the soup is heating, heat the olive oil in a skillet over med-high heat and begin browning the chicken chunks. When the chicken looks almost done but isn't cooked all the way yet, sprinkle with the Taco Seasoning mix and stir to mix well. Add the onions, stir and cover to finish cooking the chicken, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. When the chicken is cooked through and the onions are almost clear, add all of this to the stock pot and stir well. Take a taste and add more hot sauce or spices if you wish. Continue to simmer for 15 minutes over low-medium heat, stirring frequently to avoid burning the bottom. Serve piping hot "as is," or with some shredded cheddar cheese or a dollop of sour cream or chopped avocado if you like.

Zestfully yours,

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Guilty Pleasures at the NC State Fair

The North Carolina State Fair has been in town since last weekend, and I've already visited three times. I love the fair. I go every year, as many times as I can. Heck, if I could take a week of vacation when the fair is in town and go every day, I would (and maybe I'll do that next year). It's not the rides that draw me, or the games or even the shows (and I've seen some good ones, including Lou Rawls a few years ago, and this year Paula Deen was the biggest headline). My main love at the fair is the food, and the overall sensory experiences: you are bombarded with all sorts of sights and colors, smells and aromas, sounds natural and mechanical, and weather that can range from frosty to summer-hot (the latter was the case this year). Of course, it's a great place to people-watch, and to watch great fireworks each night, and to look at livestock and crafts if that's your cup of tea. But for me, it's mainly about the food. There's your traditional fair fare of fried dough (and fried everything else) and funnel cakes, cotton candy and candy apples, corn dogs on a stick (and lots of other things on a stick), peanuts, popcorn, sausage with peppers & onions, giant turkey legs, pizza and ice cream. But there's a whole lot more, too. Here are some of my favorite things to eat.

I always get the roast corn, from the stand that's actually roasting them over hot coals. I'm suspicious of the other stands that are selling "roast" corn and yet have no visible means of roasting the corn. The baked pretzels down by the pig races are another tasty "carb fix", and the garlic & butter pretzel is especially good (plus they have 3 different kinds of mustard you can dip them in). The only "must have" fried item for me is the "blooming onion", and there are several vendors that offer them (the best ones are down by the real roast corn on the way to the Village of Yesteryear, showcasing old-fashioned crafts). Sometimes I'll also indulge in tempura veggies and rationalize that I'm eating "healthy", or I'll get the Wisconsin fried cheese and claim it's for the calcium. Yes, I can rationalize just about anything. When it's cold, I get a San Francisco bread bowl with clam chowder, and sometimes also some authentic south Indian fare from the Kerala Curry folks. But this year it was way too hot (in the 80s during the day), so I passed on the soup and instead of curry I had a made-to-order glass of mango lassi at Kerala Curry. Although I normally have some homemade ice cream from either the NC State University stand or the "John Deere" stand (ice cream maker powered by old farm machinery), this year I had a waffle cone with "moose tracks" ice cream from MellowButterCup. OK, I'll admit it: I had 3 moose tracks cones, one each day I went. Yes, it was that good.

For the last few years, a Lebanese restaurant has been setting up a stand to sell traditional Lebanese food, both meat-based and vegetarian. On a whim, I tried the vegetarian platter the first year, and was quite impressed! I've had it again every year since. The vegetarian platter comes with tabbouleh, hummos, 2 falafel patties in tahini sauce, stuffed grape leaves, pita bread wedges, and a little piece of a Lebanese pastry that is similar to baklava (they call it baklava but it's not true Greek baklava). The name of the stand is "Party in a Pita" - hey, with a name like that, you just have to stop and try something from them! Another "must have" meal for me at the fair is the tilapia sandwich from a nondescript little stand with a sign that reads, simply, "Hot Fish". The tilapia (a NC white-fleshed mild fish) is crispy-fried to order, never greasy, and is served on a plain bun with tartar sauce and Texas Pete Sauce available. You can also add fries, and this year they offered sweet potato fries as well (which came sprinkled with a light dusting of sugar and cinnamon, making them a nice contrast to the savory fish sandwich). Another "must stop" (or at least "must stop and listen" stop) is the Apex Lions Club restaurant, in a long low building that houses several other restaurants belonging to churches and charities. They serve a mean country ham biscuit, but their specialty is pie - or as the "barker" says it, "PIIIIIIIIIIIE" (or "paaaaaaaaah" - in other words, a seriously drawn out southern drawl). For years, the little old man was there in person with his microphone, listing all the different flavors of PIIIIIIIIIIIE, a la Forrest Gump ("we have lemon pie, chocolate pie, apple pie, coconut pie, sweet potato pie...."). He wasn't there this year but his recorded voice was piped outside, inviting you to come set a spell and have some PIIIIIIIIIIIE. And so I did.

As one would expect at the NORTH CAROLINA state fair, there was plenty of pork to be had, both as ribs and as barbeque, as well as ham and other pork products (I won't elaborate on the souse or liver pudding). A little hut with the intriguing sign "BBQ Sundae" caught my attention, and one of their servers was calling out to the passers-by, "Ask me what a BBQ Sundae is!" And so I did. Thankfully, there's no ice cream involved. Their curiously named specialty comes in a styrofoam cup and features a bottom layer of real smoked pulled pork BBQ, followed by baked beans, and topped with slaw. My husband tried it, and proclaimed it the best BBQ he had had at the fair. He gave it a couple of squirts of their vinegar-based barbecue sauce (they also had a Piedmont sauce available), and proceeded to devour the whole thing without offering me a taste. I guess I'll just have to try it next year!

A visit to the fair wouldn't be complete without checking out all the exhibit halls. I especially like the crafts, like Seagrove pottery, handmade old-fashioned soaps and candles, woodwork, handwoven textiles and baskets, rustic furnishings, etc. I also always stop by the Goodness Grows in NC pavilion to visit with the folks who make some of the products we carry at the Carolina Sauce Company, such as Capsicana Zing and Bone Suckin' Sauce. Sometimes I discover brand new NC products making their "premiere appearance", and other times I find new recipes to try with old favorites. This year, award-winning chefs from NC provided cooking demonstrations on a stage outside the NC pavilion, and I got to watch Scott Adams of the Blackwater Grille make some simple yet elegant dishes featuring local ingredients. I hope they continue this new event at next year's fair, since I picked up some fresh ideas I can't wait to try in my kitchen! Alas, the last day of the state fair is tomorrow, and so the countdown to next year's fair begins....

Zestfully yours,

Friday, October 19, 2007

Gloria's Broccoli Salad

Sometimes I'm just not in the mood for slaw with my barbecue, but I still want something cool, crunchy and creamy that also has some nutritional value. That's when I make this easy broccoli recipe, which is also a hit at potluck suppers and cookouts. One nice thing about this recipe is that you can make it with bacon OR you can make a vegetarian version using toasted sunflower seeds.

1 bunch fresh broccoli
1 small sweet onion, thinly sliced
4 or 5 strips of crisp-fried bacon, crumbled (for a vegetarian version, subsitute 1/4 to 1/3 cup of raw hulled sunflower seeds that you've dry-roasted until lightly browned - see note)
1/2 cup raisins
3/4 cup light or fat-free mayonnaise
1/4 cup sugar or Splenda(r) brand sugar substitute
2 tablespoons vinegar (white or cider)

Trim the tough ends off the broccoli stems and use a potato peeler to strip off the tough outer "skin" of thick stems. Cut the broccoli into small florets and slice the trimmed stems into approx. 1/4 inch thick rounds. Place in a large non-metal bowl and mix in the onion, bacon (or sunflower seeds) and raisins. Refrigerate (you can prepare and refrigerate up to 24 hrs ahead of serving time). In a separate small bowl combine the mayonnaise, sugar (or sugar substitute) and vinegar, and pour over the salad just before serving. Serves 6.

Note: I like to roast sunflower seeds by spreading on a baking sheet and placing it in my toaster oven or regular oven at about 300 degrees, keeping a close eye and stirring frequently to make sure I remove the sheet as soon as the seeds start toasting and before they start smoking (be careful - this only takes a few minutes). You can also dry-roast the hulled seeds in a dry non-stick skillet over medium to medium-high heat on your stovetop, again keeping a close eye and stirring with a wooden spoon to make sure they don't burn.

This salad works really nicely as a side dish for pulled pork and grilled meats - now all you need is a tasty barbecue sauce and maybe also a dry rub and you'll be good to go!

Zestfully yours,

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Jerked Venison

This recipe is ridiculously easy, and produces amazingly tender venison with intoxicatingly delicious Jamaican jerk flavor!

Venison, chopped into large-ish chunks (about 1 to 2 inches)
Wahoo Willie's Jamaican Wing Sauce

Place venison chunks in a resealable plastic bag and pour in enough Wahoo Willie's Jamaican Wing Sauce to cover for marinating. Seal bag and marinate overnight in refrigerator. The next morning or midday, place the venison chunks and marinade from the bag in a crock pot, add more Wahoo Willie's Jamaican Wing Sauce if necessary, cover and slow-cook until the venison is cooked through and tender. Tip: If you're making a lot of venison, you want to start this cooking earlier in the morning, and stir a few times during the day to make sure all of the venison is cooking evenly. Once the venison is cooked to your preferred done-ness, serve it with the sauce from the crock pot over cooked rice with a side of veggies or tossed salad. That's it!

And who said wing sauces were just for chicken?!?

Zestfully yours,

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

NHL Tailgating, Carolina Style

Being passionate hockey fans here at Carolina Sauce Company, we couldn't wait for the start of the new NHL season and the first Carolina Hurricanes home game. And since the weather is still warm and sunny here (in fact, a little too much so - we really need some rain), we planned a tailgating cookout for opening night featuring free range grass-fed, all-natural (antibiotic and hormone free) beef steaks, grilled vegetables, and a nice red wine to enjoy before the game. The veggies were seasoned with olive oil and a dry rub that we're considering as a new product for our online store. The steaks were seasoned simply with kosher salt and fresh ground pepper, grilled rare over charcoal, and served with Boar and Castle Sauce on the side - but the beef was so yummy "as is" that I ended up using the sauce with the grilled veggies instead, proving once again that Boar & Castle steak sauce is great on virtually anything. Dinner was wonderful and the hockey game was exciting, but unfortunately our Hurricanes didn't win. At least they've been doing quite nicely on their road trip so far!

Alas, we have recently learned that the manufacturer of Boar and Castle Sauce has suspended production of the sauce indefinitely, and is undecided as to whether to resume production in the future. In short, Boar and Castle Sauce may be gone for good. I've begged and pleaded for him to resume production since this sauce quickly became a best-seller upon our adding it to our store, AND there are so many people out there who buy it regularly. The best I could get was assurances that *if* production is restarted, Carolina Sauce Company will be notified promptly so that we can re-stock the product. We have started a "waiting list" with the names and contact info of people who are interested in ordering Boar and Castle Sauce if/when it's available again. If you wish to be added to the Boar and Castle Sauce waiting list, please contact us.

Zestfully yours,

Mild Hot Sauces for Newbies

I love seriously hot hot sauces - not ultrahot food additives that rely on capsaicin extract and are downright painful (and rarely flavorful), but rather full-bodied, flavor-rich and pepper-packed hot sauces that complement my food while also providing an intense heat. That being said, I can also enjoy a mildly spicy pepper sauce that has good flavor, and in fact I recall when I used to think that Tabasco Sauce was as hot as it got (although even back then I thought Tabasco was seriously lacking in flavor). It wasn't until college that I started discovering the world - indeed, the universe - of real hot sauces, instead of the one-dimensional, thin, overly vinegary grocery store "hot" sauces. And how did I begin my journey of chile pepper discovery? By starting with milder hot sauces with good flavor and just a touch of burn. Although nowadays I tend to use stronger stuff, I still have some favorite hot sauces that are "beginner-friendly" because they offer just a bit of peppery heat but are packed with plenty of food-friendly flavor. These sauces are ideal for anyone who thinks they hate hot sauces, or that hot sauces are all "too hot" with no real flavor, or who is ready to embark on a journey of peppery pleasure. Here's my list of favorite mild hot sauces:

1. Not Cool Garden Fresh Mild Habanero Pepper Sauce: Granted, the words "mild" and "habanero" are rarely used together, but this thick, rich pepper sauce truly is only mildly spicy, with just a hint of habanero flavor and heat but plenty of garlicky zest. Indonesian spices add layers of complexity, and perhaps best of all, this North Carolina sauce is certified organic. I absolutely love this sauce on pizza, and it also works quite well on Italian and Mexican dishes as well as on burgers, sandwiches and even omelets or scrambled eggs. It also adds great flavor to casseroles, stews and chili.

2. Capsicana Zing Gourmet Sauce: This slightly sweet and pleasantly peppery sauce is spicy, but not hot, and regularly appears on our list of Top Ten Best-Selling Hot Sauces. You can use Zing Sauce in virtually any recipe or dish, and it makes a great dip or sandwich spread when blended with cream cheese. I even use it on tossed green salad instead of a dressing, and it's refreshingly good on chilled cucumber slices!

3. Blues Carolina Pepper Sauce: The tomatoes help tame the vinegar tang and peppery heat in this cider vinegar-based all-purpose sauce, while also adding nice body and substance. I love this sauce on pulled pork, cooked greens, french fries, fried okra, steamed or microwaved veggies, baked beans, omelets and scrambled eggs, as well as in soups, stews, casseroles and other recipes.

4. Cackalacky Spice Sauce: North Carolina yams and a splash of burgundy wine add surprisingly good flavor notes to this full-bodied table sauce. I like to use this mildly peppery sauce on burgers, sandwiches, Mexican dishes, stews and even meatloaf.

5. Georgia Peach & Vidalia Onion Hot Sauce: This award-winning sauce blends together two of my favorite Southern delicacies, juicy sunripened peaches and summer-sweet onions. This sauce is ideal on anything grilled, as well as on fish and seafood dishes, chicken recipes, and even on sandwiches.

Whether you are just getting started with hot sauces or you're a seasoned chilehead, why not try one of these gentler but flavorful mild hot sauces for something new, or for a change of pace? Trust me, you won't be disappointed, and I bet you'll be quite pleased!

Zestfully yours,

Monday, October 15, 2007

Steak That's Bone-Suckin' Good

This recipe comes from the creators of Bone Suckin' BBQ Sauce, and uses their teriyaki-inspired Bone Suckin' Yaki Sauce as the perfect marinade for steaks grilled to perfection. You can also use this recipe for venison backstrap or tenderloin, but marinate overnight if using game.

1 Ribeye Steak for each person you're feeding
Bone Suckin' Yaki Sauce (1 bottle is more than enough for 4 good-size steaks)

Using a fork, pierce the steaks on each side a few times. Place the steaks in a resealable plastic bag and pour in enough Bone Suckin' Yaki Sauce to at least coat the steaks well for marinating. Marinate the steaks in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour to allow the flavors to penetrate. Remove from refrigerator and let stand at room temperature for 20 mins. In the meantime, preheat your grill to high. Remove steaks from bag, discarding the used marinade. Grill the steaks until done to your preference (the Bone Suckin' folks recommend 5 mins per side, with the center reaching 130 degrees for Rare, 145 degrees for Medium Rare, 160 degrees for Medium, 165 degrees for Medium Well, and 170 degrees for Well Done). Remove steaks from grill and let them rest for 5 minutes to allow the juices to "redistribute", then serve.

Zestfully yours,

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Gifts for Tailgating

Football season is in full swing, so now's the time to get something special for that buddy who's been taking care of all the little things to make your pre-game tailgating a success. Here are two great gift ideas for tailgating: First, check out the Cool Hawg Grilling Gift Box, which comes with two bottles of the thick and flavorful Cool Hawg Grilling Sauce (Original and Hot-n-Spicy), a finger-licking good tomato-mustard sauce for slathering on ribs, chicken, and other grill-friendly meats. This Gift Box also comes with a handy basting brush for applying the sauces, authentic hickory wood chips to add natural smokiness, and a beverage koozy to keep your favorite drink chilled (and your hand from getting cold holding it). Everything comes in a handmade wooden crate that you can gift-wrap or present "as-is."

Then, for all the snacking and chip-dipping while waiting for the game, check out the Pepper Dog Salsa Gift Box, with 3 jars of the smooth, southwest-inspired Pepper Dog Salsa: one jar each of Mild, Medium, and Hot salsa, which means there's something for every heat preference at your tailgating party. This Gift Box also comes in a reusable wooden crate and the salsa jars are cradled in a cushy nest of every chile pepper lover's favorite colors: green and red.

So how about surprising that thoughtful pal that's helped organize all those tailgating parties, or always remembered those last-minute details for your game day get-togethers: give them the Cool Hawg Grilling Gift Box, or the Pepper Dog Salsa Gift Box, or both, for the next big game!

Zestfully yours,

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Why Contribute to Operation Sauce Drop?

Are you still on the fence about whether you can afford $5, or maybe a little more, for Operation Sauce Drop? If so, then please keep reading.

We received the following note to our donors, from a military mom who signed up her son for a free gift box from Operation Sauce Drop:

"Thank you for your generosity to our troops. They appreciate it more than you know."

And here's an email from a member of the Air Force stationed abroad, who not only signed up for a gift box but also made a monetary contribution so that we could keep sending free gift boxes to other deployed military personnel:

"Hello, and thank you folks for the gift box.... I plan on using the various hot sauces to make an assortment of hot wings for the guys I work with for our superbowl party. It really makes us VERY happy that the there are people like you that still give a damn about us. I'll make sure to spread the word to family and friends back home about the web page for contribution to your operation sauce drop."

So are you ready now to get off the fence and contribute to Operation Sauce Drop?

Zestfully yours,

Friday, October 12, 2007

Growlin' Grizzly Wins Major Award

Growlin' Grizzly Barbecue and Dipping Sauce was created by "Bear-Man" Barry Conway of Bear-Man Sauces in upstate New York. This palate-pleasing thick and tangy sauce received much well-deserved recognition at the NASFT Fancy Foods Show, a major food industry trade show, held in New York back in July. Specifically, Growlin' Grizzly took home the 2007 sofi™ Silver Award for Outstanding Cooking Sauce or Flavor Enhancer. What distinguishes Growlin' Grizzly from other thick tomato-based sauces is its careful balance of rich, bold flavors without overdoing the sweetness or adding smokiness, and with the right amount of peppery kick that keeps you coming back for more. The sauce is made with bits of onion and other fresh ingredients that give it a full-bodied, homemade texture. Growlin' Grizzly enhances your favorite barbecue meats and poultry, but we especially like its hearty, savory flavor on venison and other game meats. If you're looking for a barbecue sauce that's hearty enough for Fall/winter grilling, broiling, roasting, mopping and dipping, search no further than the award-winning Growlin' Grizzly!

Zestfully yours,

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Peppery Pet Peeve

With apologies to those of you who already know this, I just have to get the following off my chest. Chipotle is not a pepper breed. Chipotle is the name for smoked jalapeno peppers. That's why a chipotle-flavored sauce is smoky as well as hot and spicy. In fact, chipotle sauces are often hotter than those made with fresh green jalapenos, perhaps because the smoking process intensifies the capsaicin (after all, the moisture in the fresh pepper is dried out), and the whole dried pepper is used, including the seeds and "placenta" or membrane around the seeds where the capsaicin is concentrated. Chipotle flavors are commonly found in Mexican and Southwestern cuisine.

I recall seeing a commercial a few years back for a fast-food chain advertising its new chipotle sauce on one of its sandwiches. The humor in the ad came from the inability of people to pronounce the word "chipotle" properly. This is understandable, since to a native English speaker the last two syllables would appear to rhyme with "bottle", or perhaps with the word "total". Neither is correct. Bearing in mind that I am not a linguist (but Spanish is my first language), the closest transliteration I can give you for the proper pronunciation of "chipotle" is the following:

chee-POHT-lay (where the accent is on the middle syllable and it sounds similar to "boat" but a somewhat shorter "o" sound, and likewise with the final syllable is somewhat less than "long a" sound (i.e., close to "leh"), but now I'm picking nits)). Let's try it again: chee-POHT-lay

My pet peeve is when people pronounce "chipotle" as "chee-POULT-ay". To my ear, this is like nails on a chalkboard. A "poult" is a fowl, and has nothing to do with smoked jalapeno peppers. So just repeat after me: chee-POHT-lay, with the "L" sound pronounced after the "T" sound.

There, I feel better now :-)

And if you want to try some terrifically tasty chipotle products, try this Chipotle-Lover's Gift Set from the Carolina Sauce Company.

Zestfully yours,

Lose Weight with Hot Sauce?

Many of us could stand to lose a few pounds, but the trouble with diets is that we end up depriving ourselves of our favorite foods. That might work for a while, until the cravings become too strong, at which point we succumb to temptation and overindulge, and then throw in the towel on weight loss. Or if we manage to lose some weight over the course of an 8 week fad diet (or however long the latest craze is), we eventually discover that the weight creeps back on when we go back to our regular eating patterns. And if you are a foodie, a gourmet cook, someone who works with food for a living, or someone who just enjoys eating well, it can seem nearly impossible to lose weight. That's the bad news.

The good news is that the right hot sauce, barbecue sauce, dry rub/seasoning or salsa can help the pounds come off by transforming boring diet food into trim treats for your taste buds! No, I'm not starting a new "hot sauce diet", but it is true that virtually all hot sauces are fat-free and most have 0 or very few calories and carbs. The same is true of nearly all eastern NC style (vinegar based) barbeque sauces such as Wells Hog Heaven and Scott's BBQ Sauce. A pleasantly piquant sauce or seasoning can liven up bland "diet" dishes like steamed veggies and poached fish, or subsitute for sugar-laden store-brand ketchup or BBQ sauce. In fact, many successful dieters swear by Capsicana Zing Gourmet Sauce as their new condiment of choice because of its enticing flavor and guilt-free nutritional profile. You can also use salsa (almost always fat-free) to replace heavier sauces on meat, chicken and even fish dishes. I love salsa on a baked potato instead of butter or sour cream. One of my favorite ways to dress up steamed broccoli, microwaved vegetables or even a simple salad is to sprinkle on a tasty and not-too-salty spice blend like Nando's Lemon & Herb Peri-Peri Grinder, squeeze the juice of half a lemon or lime over the food, and toss to blend (if you really must have some oil, then lightly drizzle just a touch of full-flavored extra-virgin olive oil). And if you are on a low-carb diet, we have many low-carb products to help you stay on course without sacrificing great flavor.

Now back to hot sauce. There are anecdotal reports of hot sauce and spicy foods leading to weight loss, possibly by revving up one's metabolism. I have no idea if hot sauce or hot peppers cause weight loss or speed up your metabolism. Maybe it's just that most folks don't eat as much if a food is really, really fiery hot. Or maybe it's because people are more likely to drink more water while eating very spicy food, and the water creates a "full" feeling sooner. But speaking from my personal experience, I do tend to feel full and satisfied sooner (and therefore eat less) when my food is spiked with a really good-tasting, seriously hot hot sauce or salsa. Additionally, I experience an "endorphin rush" effect when I eat very hot food: my heart rate speeds up and I feel a pleasant, energetic buzz (is that my metabolism speeding up? And is that why a popular ultra-hot hot sauce is called "Endorphin Rush"?). So if you have some pounds to lose, why not try spicing up your food with a hot sauce or salsa of your choice, adding zest to your cooking with a fat-free and flavorful dry rub or seasoning, and switching to vinegar-based barbecue sauce for your meats and chicken? Who knows: you may develop the next big diet craze, the "zesty eating" diet!

Zestfully yours,

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Gloria's Spicy Black Bean Dip

Here's a healthy and flavorful hot & spicy dip that's perfect for dipping chips or veggies while you watch your favorite game on TV.

1 can (15 oz) black beans, drained & rinsed
Juice of 1 lime
1 to 2 cloves of Twenty Pepper Garlic, minced (for a less spicy dip, you can use regular garlic cloves)
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp salt (optional - I personally don't add salt)
1/4 cup tomato juice
Hot red pepper flakes, cayenne powder or habanero powder, to taste
Minced fresh cilantro (optional), as garnish

Combine beans, lime juice, garlic, cumin, salt (if using) and tomato juice in a food processor and process until it reaches your desired texture (I like it a little more coarse, but some folks prefer it smoother - just make sure all the ingredients are combined uniformly). Add red pepper flakes or pepper powder to taste, stir in, and transfer to a serving bowl. Garnish with cilantro, if desired. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hr to let flavors meld. Serve cold with chips or dipping veggies.

Zestfully yours,

Monday, October 8, 2007

Operation Sauce Drop Report

First, many thanks to all of you who have supported Operation Sauce Drop, our project to send free sauces to US military stationed abroad, by making a monetary contribution or passing along the link, or both. I've just finished packing ten more gift boxes that will ship out tomorrow thanks to the US Postal Service's free carrier pickup. This will bring the total number of gift boxes shipped to 40, and I already have 6 more pending gift box requests from military personnel (or friends/family who have signed up a loved one stationed abroad to receive a free gift box of sauce). That's the good news.

The not-so-good news is that we currently don't have enough contributions to fulfill the pending gift box requests (or any new requests that may come in). If you haven't heard about Operation Sauce Drop before reading this post, here's a brief summary (and you can read more about it in earlier posts). The Carolina Sauce Company is sending free gift boxes of sauce to US military personnel at APO and FPO addresses. The troops can choose from seven different gift boxes (check out the military sign-up page to see the gift boxes). The cost of the sauces and of shipping via USPS Priority Mail Flat Rate is covered by donations from people like you. The Carolina Sauce Company is not making any money from Operation Sauce Drop. In fact, in addition to donating our time and labor, we are also covering all incidental costs (e.g., credit card or PayPal fees, Yahoo store fees, etc.) to ensure that 100% of all the money collected is used solely to pay for the cost of the sauces (at our cost to purchase, NOT the retail price) and the cost of shipping.

If you would like to make a donation so that we can keep sending gift boxes of sauce to our brave servicemen and women serving abroad, please visit our Operation Sauce Drop contribution page. You can donate through PayPal, by credit card, or even with a check made payable to Carolina Sauce Company with "Operation Sauce Drop" written in the memo line. No amount is too small, and every contribution is greatly appreciated by our troops -- just read earlier posts with some of the feedback and thank you notes we've received. You can also help by spreading the word about Operation Sauce Drop: tell your friends, email your colleagues with the link, post the banner link on your website or blog or forum, etc. We are anticipating a big increase in gift box requests as Thanksgiving and Christmas approach, and we'd hate it if we weren't able to send a little taste of home to troops having to spend the holidays away from their loved ones. So please consider supporting Operation Sauce Drop - and you can even include a message to the troops when you make a contribution! Thank you very much for your consideration.

Zestfully yours,

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Halloween Hot Sauce Sale

No tricks here, just treats: We've scared up some frightfully good savings for you at the Carolina Sauce Company to help you get in the spirit of Halloween. Check out our great big Halloween Hot Sauce Sale, just below the Operation Sauce Drop banner on our storefront page. Don't panic: there's more than just hot sauce for sale, including Dave's Gourmet Badlands BBQ Sauce, both flavors of Sunfire Marinade (zesty Original and pleasantly pungent Garlic (perfect for keeping vampires away)), and more great products. And if you need a truly scary Halloween gift for a friend or party host, there's our Scary Sauces Gift Set, featuring a selection of four ultra-hot sauces that fit the Halloween theme.

Don't delay - these special savings will do a ghostly vanishing act after Halloween!

Zestfully yours,

Homemade Flavor from a Jar?!?

Having grown up in New York City, and specifically in predominantly Italian neighborhoods in the Bronx, I've had plenty of hearty, old-world Italian food, including slow-cooked homemade pasta and spaghetti sauces that basically ruined my palate for store-bought sauce in a jar. My hubby also makes spectacularly good pasta sauce from scratch, no doubt because he worked in an Italian restaurant while in high school and learned a few things from the chef. One of my joys in the kitchen is to make a homemade sauce starting with just-picked summer-ripened tomatoes, a good olive oil, plenty of garlic, onions and peppers, perhaps some earthy wild mushrooms, a splash of red wine, fresh herbs (I love rosemary, especially if making a meat sauce), and other ingredients depending on my mood. The problem is, a good homemade sauce takes time. I admit I've resorted to grocery-store spaghetti sauce, and invariably found them too sweet, with an unsavory "processed" flavor and lacking the body and rustic flavors of a lovingly made homemade sauce. As a result, I'd invariably end up "doctoring" the store-bought sauce with additional herbs and spices, sauteed vegetables, a splash of red wine, etc. etc., just to make it palatable.

Now imagine my utter surprise - shock, even - when I tasted a pasta sauce from a jar that I could have sworn was homemade! Santo & Josie Pasta Sauces are the real deal, folks, full of rustic old-world flavor that's rich and complex, with a hearty texture that coats your pasta and isn't thin or watery. Santo & Josie Pasta Sauces are made just outside of Charlotte, NC, using a family recipe brought over from Sicily by the grandparents of the man responsible for introducing these delectable sauces to the rest of us. Using only the finest natural ingredients and attentively made in small batches, these gourmet sauces are wonderful on spaghetti and other pasta, and also in your favorite Italian recipes wherever a tomato sauce is called for. You can also heat them and serve as a dipping sauce for breadsticks. Santo & Josie Pasta Sauces come in three mouthwatering flavors: Tomato-Artichoke, Tomato-Olive, and Tomato-Eggplant (which is heavenly in Eggplant Parmigiana). Perhaps best of all, the manufacturer donates a portion of the proceeds from each sale to support children's charities, so you can feel good while eating well. So treat yourself to authentic homemade flavor with no more effort than opening a jar (and boiling some spaghetti)!

Zestfully yours,

Friday, October 5, 2007

Gloria's Spicy Cauliflower with Ginger

I love Indian food. I was lucky to spend two weeks in Bangalore a couple of years ago, and had wonderful meals in that city and while traveling on a daytrip to Mysore on New Year's Day. The fragrant aromas and heady flavors were so much more intense and fresh than any Indian food I've had in the US, and the meals were deliciously satisfying regardless of whether they were at an upscale restaurant or a quaint spot favored by locals. And contrary to popular belief among many back here in the US, it ain't all curry! The variety of intriguing dishes, tastes, textures and aromas kept me from ever getting bored.

Here is a simple vegetarian recipe that's inspired by Indian cuisine. You can make it as mild or as spicy as you'd like by adjusting the amount of red pepper. When short on time, I use frozen cauliflower florets. The fresh gingerroot is essential: you'll need about 2 inches of gingerroot that's about 3/4 inch in diameter, which will grate down into 4 teaspoons. Some specialty grocery stores carry small bottles of fresh grated gingerroot, which will work in a pinch although the flavor won't be as intense. Ghee is Indian clarified butter, and can be found in specialty stores and Indian markets. If you don't have ghee, just use regular vegetable cooking oil (not olive oil).

1 large cauliflower head, broken into small florets (6 cups) OR 6 cups frozen cauliflower florets, defrosted
1/4 cup water
2 Tbs Ghee or vegetable oil
1/2 tsp fennel seed
4 tsp grated gingerroot
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/4 to 1/2 tsp ground red pepper
1/2 to 1/3 cup unsalted cashew pieces (see note)
2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice
2 Tbs fresh chopped cilantro

Melt the ghee (or heat the oil) in a 12-inch skillet or wok over medium-high heat. You'll know it's hot enough if it sizzles when you toss in a fennel seed. Add the fennel seeds and stir for 30 to 60 seconds or until the seeds are browned. Remove the skillet from heat and stir in the grated gingerroot, turmeric, salt and red pepper to taste. Add the cauliflower florets and water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to med-low and cover. Cook for 10 to 12 minutes or until the cauliflower is crisp-tender, stirring occasionally. Increase the heat to medium, remove cover and sautee for 3 to 5 minutes until any remaining water has evaporated. Stir in the cashews, lemon juice and cilantro. Serves 6 to 8 (or 4 as a main course with Basmati rice).

Note: I like to dry-roast the cashews in a small pan until lightly browned, to bring out more flavor before adding to the cauliflower. I love cashews, so I use more rather than less.

Zestfully yours,

PS: If you love curry, check out Nando's Curry Coconut Cooking and Grilling Sauce, an award-winning exotic and versatile South African sauce!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

More Best-Selling Sauces for September

We've finally finished updating the remaining best-seller lists for product categories at Carolina Sauce Company. Check these out, stock up on an old favorite, and treat yourself to something new:

* Best-Selling Rubs and Seasonings, including NC's very own Pig Pen's Original Seasoning cracking the Top Ten for the first time, at number 7;

* Best-Selling Marinades and Dressings, with Big Daddy's Marinade breaking in at number 3;

* Best-Selling Salsas and Relish, featuring Red's Sweet Salsa at number 7 and Just My Taste Jalapeno Dip rounding out the Top Ten;

* Best-Selling Jerks and Curry, with Walkerswood Traditional Jamaican Jerk Seasoning and Walkerswood Jonkanoo Pepper Sauce breaking in at numbers 1 and 2 respectively;

* September's Best Selling Mustards, Best-Selling Snacks and Best Selling Wing Sauces;

* Best-Selling Gift Sets with the Exotica Gift Set leading the list; and

* Best Selling North Carolina Products, with the unique Mile High Hot Sauce (a red ripe jalapeno hot sauce) making its first entry to the list, at number 9.

Zestfully yours,

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

September's Best Selling BBQ Sauces and Best Selling Hot Sauces

We've updated our lists of Best Selling BBQ Sauces and Best Selling Hot Sauces to show the Top Ten sauces at the Carolina Sauce Company in each category for the month of September. Each category had some newcomers make the list. On the Best Selling BBQ Sauce side, Bog Bottom BBQ Sauce (a western NC style barbecue sauce) broke in at number 6, while another North Carolina favorite, Tongue Tinglin' Sauce (made with tomatoes, vinegar and mustard), made its first appearance at number 7. Rounding out the list at number 10 is Rumboggies Hot Southern Style BBQ Sauce, a spicy mustard-based sauce from Florida. Perennial top-seller Wells Hog Heaven Barbecue Sauce (an eastern NC style vinegar based BBQ sauce) returned to the top spot as the best-selling barbeque sauce for the month of September.

Topping the list of September's Best Selling Hot Sauces was the Jamaican classic Busha Browne's Pukka Sauce, an all-purpose table sauce that's good on virtually everything. Making its first appearance in a long time is the very hot and aptly named Dave's Temporary Insanity Sauce, placing at number 7. Appearing for the first time is NC's very own Mile High Hot Sauce, a delicious blend of red ripe jalapenos that breaks in at number 8 on our best-seller list. And finishing the list at number 10 is another popular NC hot sauce, Bone Suckin' Hiccuppin' Hot Sauce, a mild-medium tomato-based hot sauce from the creators of Bone Suckin' BBQ Sauce.

If you're looking for a real palate-pleasing BBQ Sauce or Hot Sauce, you can't go wrong with any of the sauces on our best-seller lists. Order some of your favorites today, or try a new product for a change of pace - and don't forget to claim your free "Dish This" catalog and discount coupon by including the words "Dish This Blog" in the comment section of your order! And stay tuned as we continue to update our other best-seller lists.

Zestfully yours,

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Top Ten Sauces for September

The data is in, and we have the results for our top ten best-selling sauces and products in September 2007! Here is the updated list:

1. Busha Browne's Pukka Sauce, a spicy and flavorful table sauce from Jamaica that's a perennial favorite
2. Capsicana Zing Sauce, an award-winning North Carolina table sauce that's aptly named and quite good on just about anything
3. Matouk's Calypso Sauce, another favorite from Jamaica that's rich, thick and packed with scotch bonnet heat
4. Buderim Ginger Bears, Australian gummy bears made with real ginger for a zippy bite (these are addictive!)
5. Wells Hog Heaven BBQ Sauce, a favorite of fans of Eastern NC style BBQ sauces: no tomatoes, lots of vinegar and pepper, and just a hint of sweetness and smoke
6. Fried Pork Fatback, Hot BBQ Flavor, a low-carb snack that's a southern tradition
7. Carolina Swamp Sauce, a unique marinade and grilling sauce full of gourmet flavor and flair
8. Georgia Peach & Vidalia Onion Hot Sauce, pleasantly peppery, this award-winning sweet and fruity sauce captures the summery flavors of ripe peaches and sweet Georgia onions
9. Blue Tick Dressing, a wonderful poppy seed dressing for salads that doubles as a tasty marinade
10. Scott's Barbecue Sauce, an old-fashioned Eastern NC BBQ sauce that's as authentic as you can get!

We're now working on updating our best-selling lists for specific product categories, so stay tuned for more lists of top selling products from the Carolina Sauce Company!

Zestfully yours,

Monday, October 1, 2007

Gloria’s Happy Pumpkin Soup

In celebration of the Fall harvest and Halloween, here's a zesty pumpkin soup recipe!


1 small pumpkin, approx. 3 1/4 to 3 1/2 lbs., OR approx. 4 cups of pumpkin puree (fresh, frozen (defrosted) or canned) **NOT Pumpkin Pie Filling**
1 tsp olive oil
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 cup Greg's Happy Sauce (shake well first)
2 1/2 to 3 cups chicken broth OR water (less for thicker soup, more for thinner soup)
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 cup half and half OR evaporated skim milk (to cut fat)

If using a whole, fresh pumpkin: Cut pumpkin in quarters, remove the stem, scoop out seeds and fibers, and cut each quarter into large chunks. Cook pieces until soft and flesh scoops out easily from skin. You can cook by microwaving in a covered microwave-safe container with some water (takes 15-20 mins), or roast in oven in ovenproof pan with water, placing pieces flesh-side down (can take 1 hr or more), or cook in a steamer. Let pumpkin pieces cool to the touch, then scoop flesh out into a bowl and mash well (you can also puree in a blender or food processor using some of the cooking water). You should end up with about 4 cups of pumpkin puree.

If using pumpkin puree, start here: In a large saucepan or soup pot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat with bay leaf and onion. Sauté until onion begins to soften and become translucent. Add Greg's Happy Sauce (make sure you shake the bottle well first) and chicken broth or water, stir, cover and cook on medium heat for about 10 minutes. Add pumpkin puree, cinnamon and nutmeg, stir well to blend, cover and cook on medium-low heat for 15 minutes or until heated through, stirring occasionally. Bring heat down to low, and stir in half and half (or evaporated skim milk) and heat back up to barely a simmer, careful not to boil. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Zestfully yours,