Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Review: Grumpy’s Private Reserve Bar-B-Que Sauce; Not So Bold.

Hello Foodies and specialty food makers, today’s sampling is Grumpy’s BBQ sauce; Not So Bold flavor. If you would like to see your product reviewed on The Last Bite, email us to find out where to send your samples.

Initial Impression: The jar I received to sample is pre-label change. The sauce is contained in a standard barrel jar and is wrapped with a fancy die cut label. This sauce looks like it has been in grocery stores forever. There is a label over the ingredients declaration. Hmm? Let’s peel it off and see what happens.

Ingredients: Brown sugar, water, tomato paste (tomatoes), apple cider vinegar (diluted with water up to 5% acidity), yellow prepared mustard (vinegar ,mustard seed, salt, turmeric and spices), liquid smoke (purified natural liquid smoke, water), hot sauce (peppers, vinegar, salt),honey, black pepper, spices, kosher salt, oriental hot mustard (mustard, turmeric), cayenne pepper.

The ingredient list is really nice and clean. There are no preservatives or artificial anything. I did peel off the ingredient label that covers the original declaration. It looks like the type of liquid smoke has been changed and that’s it, no nefarious goings on here!

Appearance: This is one rich, thick, and sexy sauce. It is reddish brown sauce and there are sparse but definite pieces of herbs and spices floating around. The consistency of this barbecue sauce lends it to many applications. It was super thick and brushes on and sticks to your meat nicely. It also makes a great dipping sauce since it won’t drip off of whatever you’re ‘queuing.

Aroma: Mouthwatering. I’m not sure what else to say. I popped the cap and took a whiff. It made my mouth water like crazy. Now that I calmed down I can tell you that this sauce has definite layers of aroma. At first you get a sweet tomatoey perfume, next the vinegar pops you in the nostrils and makes your mouth water. The velvety smokiness comes in for the finish and practically hypnotizes you.

Taste: Sweet, tangy, and smoky with emphasis on sweet. This could be a dessert sauce. Tasting it from the jar it has a definite tangy fruity flavor. There are some larger pieces of peppercorn in it. Like magic they appear in your mouth and add yet another layer of flavor. The pepper is pronounced but not overpowering or out of balance. I detect the ever so slightest zest, but not what I would call spicy. Not so bold is definitely the right designation for this flavor.

The Food Test: Since we were having some nice weather I decided to fire up the grill and throw some yard stroller on it. Well not the whole bird just some leg and thigh sections. I gave it a quick rub down with poultry spice and barbecue rub and fired away. Once the chicken was done I brushed the Grumpy’s on them. Since there is such a high sugar content I didn’t apply it until the last few minutes. The Grumpy’s takes well to heat and the caramelization of the sugars rounds out all of the flavors.

Conclusion: Grumpy’s Private Reserve Bar-B-Q Grumpy’s Private Reserve Bar-B-Que Sauce Not So Bold is ue Sauce Not So Bold is a thick and rich Kansas City style barbecue sauce. It has layers of flavor that include mustard, black pepper, and smoke. Not So Bold has very little detectable heat so it would be perfect for those in your family that prefer you don’t singe off their eyebrows. A Chile-head may require the addition of some heat or an upgrade to a spicier flavor of Grumpy’s. Overall Grumpy’s Private Reserve Bar-B-Que Sauce Not So Bold is a fine example of how a KC Style BBQ Sauce should taste.

Packaging 8/10 – Fancy Die Cut Label
Aroma 9/10 – Overpowering
Appearance 8/10 – Thick, Rich, Sexy
Taste 8/10 – Layered Flavors
Heat 2/10 – Barely Detectable.

Overall 8/10 – How a KC Style BBQ Sauce should taste.

Barbecue Sauce on Foodista

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Doctors Test Hot Sauce for Pain Relief

WASHINGTON (AP) — Devil's Revenge. Spontaneous Combustion. Hot sauces have names like that for a reason. Now scientists are testing if the stuff that makes the sauces so savage can tame the pain of surgery.

Doctors are dripping the chemical that gives chili peppers their fire directly into open wounds during knee replacement and a few other highly painful operations.

Don't try this at home: These experiments use an ultra-purified version of capsaicin to avoid infection — and the volunteers are under anesthesia so they don't scream at the initial burn.

How could something searing possibly soothe? Bite a hot pepper, and after the burn your tongue goes numb. The hope is that bathing surgically exposed nerves in a high enough dose will numb them for weeks, so that patients suffer less pain and require fewer narcotic painkillers as they heal.

"We wanted to exploit this numbness," is how Dr. Eske Aasvang, a pain specialist in Denmark who is testing the substance, puts it.

Chili peppers have been part of folk remedy for centuries, and heat-inducing capsaicin creams are a drugstore staple for aching muscles. But today the spice is hot because of research showing capsaicin targets key pain-sensing cells in a unique way.

Read the Entire Article

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Great to Give, Fun to Receive - Gourmet Sauces

Whether it's Monday Night Football or Christmas Day, RoJo's Gourmet Foods has the right gift for you to give. Gourmet food items are loved and enjoyed by everyone, and are moderately priced so that this holiday does not mean trying to pay off your credit cards by next holiday season.

The image above is the Monty's Best Buffalo Wing set. brand new and already earning awards this set is sure to please. With the original Buffalo style wing sauce there are also some less traditional flavors like Teriyaki Buffalo Wing and Roasted Garlic Buffalo Wing, and the Super Spicy and HOT Wing sauce for the die hard Chile-heads.

There is the new Chile-head survival kit from Dave's Gourmet; creator of the world famous Insanity Sauce. Each retro lunch box kit contains two full five ounce bottles of Dave's famous hot sauce. One bottle of his Hurtin' Jalapeno Hot sauce; perfect for eggs, taco's, burritos, or anything you want to inflict flavor on. The other five ounce bottle contains Dave's famous Temporary Insanity Sauce. This sauce is perfect for inflicting severe but temporary agony on yourself or others. Temporary Insanity Sauce is a ultra-hot extract based sauce that delivers great flavor and incredible heat. You will also get a package of Dave's Insanity Popcorn; a snack food guaranteed to deliver both pleasure and pain. It is the hottest snack food on the planet! Don't forget the awesome retro lunch box. It is a metal, painted number; not like the trashy plastic stuff they sell nowadays!

The Aussie Originals Outback gift set is made up of two sauces. Aussie Originals Ginger & Lime Soakin' Sauce is bonzer on Chicken, fish, tofu, and so much more!. It makes a great marinade, dressing, grill or dipping sauce. Aussie Originals Spiffy Steak Sauce is bonzer on steaks, burgers, meatloaf and Chicken. It makes a great marinade, grill or dipping sauce.Together they will work wonders on all your favorite foods. Made with the finest ingredients available. These are definitely the bees knees. So fire up the Barbie and pour on the Aussie Originals!

Two Goombaz is the ultimate in Italian Gravy(pasta sauce), and now you can have the entire experience in the Two Goombaz Italian Gravy Gift set. You'll get Tony's Basil & Garlic, Meadow's Marinara, and Paulie's Puttanesca. That's right, Da Whole Crew. A whopping Three pounds of gravy! Your taste buds will be amazed with the intense fresh flavors that can only be created in small batches. We do this to preserve the incredible, old world flavor of these treasured family recipes. However you choose to use The Two Goombaz Gourmet Italian Gravy, you can be assured that there is no better sauce available.

Follow the link below to find more interesting gift sets on sale now!

Shop Early Rest Sooner ...

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Review: Crazy Ed’s Cave Creek Chili Beer Brand Hot Sauce

Hey Foodies what’s shakin’? Well I’ll tell you what’s shakin’; this bottle of Crazy Ed’s Cave Creek Chili Beer Brand Hot Sauce. Got any idea why it’s shakin’? It’s shakin because Crazy Ed put this silly little flip top restrictor cap on a nice thick hot sauce and the only way to get enough of the darn stuff out is to shake the shit out of the jar.

Initial Impression: The fist thing I noticed about 100% Natural Crazy Ed’s Cave Creek Chili Beer Brand Hot Sauce is that it looks remarkably like Tabanero sauce. The big difference being that Tabanero is 10 words less than 100% Natural Crazy Ed’s Cave Creek Chili Beer Brand Hot Sauce. Beside the extremely verbose title I think this packaging look cool. I like the clear label; it really shows of the amazing orange color of the sauce. The visual appeal of this sauce made me feel joyful, as if something good was about to happen. Now if you could only figure out what you actually want to call it.

Ingredients: Fresh carrots, selected red peppers, fresh onions, key lime juice, garlic & salt.

Hmmm? Carrots are listed before peppers; and where is the beer? The name says Chili Beer in big letters remember; 100% Natural Crazy Ed’s Cave Creek Chili Beer Brand Hot Sauce. I guess in all fairness it does say “Brand” after “Chili Beer”. I gotta say though, I was actually expecting to see beer in the ingredients list. I suppose I have to let this one go since I don’t have baboon listed as ingredient in my stuff.

Appearance: Boy this 100% Natural Crazy Ed’s Cave Creek Chili Beer Brand Hot Sauce is bright orange and nice and thick. It sticks to the sides of the bottle and it also sticks to whatever you put it on. Now I am really getting anxious to taste this practically glowing orange sauce.

Aroma: When you smell 100% Natural Crazy Ed’s Cave Creek Chili Beer Brand Hot Sauce you might find yourself smiling. I know I did. The crisp fragrance of habanero peppers is dominant here. Upon taking another generous snoot full of this pleasing perfume I noticed the onion is gently lingering in the background. I found the bouquet of 100% Natural Crazy Ed’s Cave Creek Chili Beer Brand Hot Sauce to be simple yet well balanced.

Taste: I always like to have a taste before trying any sauce on food. How else will you know with what foods a particular sauce might combine well? When I tasted 100% Natural Crazy Ed’s Cave Creek Chili Beer Brand Hot Sauce I noticed that the peppers were not the star of the show here. The acidity of the lime juice seems to jump out at you first. The next thing to happen is a little onion flavor comes forward and finally the peppers show up in the form of both flavor and heat. I would rate the heat of 100% Natural Crazy Ed’s Cave Creek Chili Beer Brand Hot Sauce at about a 3-4 out of 10. This sauce, however, is so nicely balanced you might not mind the absence of blistering heat here. Of course this is Hot Sauce blog!

The Food Test: When I first saw 100% Natural Crazy Ed’s Cave Creek Chili Beer Brand Hot Sauce I thought Beer. And what goes great with beer, pizza of course. But I was in the mood for some more than just pizza tonight, so I decided to test 100% Natural Crazy Ed’s Cave Creek Chili Beer Brand Hot Sauce on a Mediterranean Falafel pizza complete with tahini sauce. Well, I managed to kill about 4 pieces of pizza and I consumed about ¼ of the bottle of 100% Natural Crazy Ed’s Cave Creek Chili Beer Brand Hot Sauce. I could not think of a better sauce for the job. It’s like they were made for each other. This tangy, oniony, pepper sauce has won over my palette with or without the beer.

Conclusion: 100% Natural Crazy Ed’s Cave Creek Chili Beer Brand Hot Sauce is obviously suffering from some sort of multiple personality issue or perhaps even an identity crisis. Regardless of the name I like this sauce! Even though on the back it says “use chili beer hot sauce…” and there is no beer in it, I like this sauce. If you want a great flavored sauce that won’t burn your face off, you’ll like this sauce too!

Packaging 7/10 – 100% Natural Crazy Ed’s Cave Creek Chili Beer Brand Hot Sauce?
Aroma 9/10 – Fresh, Habanero & Onion
Appearance 9/10 – Bright Orange
Taste 9/10 – Well Balanced
Heat 4/10 – Not Habanero Hot.

Overall 8/10

Monday, October 22, 2007

Review: Sweet Sunshine Chili Sauce Atomic

Hello All, today’s sampling for The Last Bite is Sweet Sunshine Chili Sauce Atomic flavor. It’s been a little while since my last review and I’m excited to share my experience with this very interesting looking sauce. The label boldly states “FLAVOR BEFORE FIRE”

Initial Impression: I like the multifaceted bottle being used here, and I think it would have made a great statement if it were not wrapped with one of the most ADHD labels I have seen in a long time. There was so much going on here I almost had to take a Xanax to remove the tamper seal. While we’re on the subject of tamper seals, in my opinion clear is a bad choice for a clear bottle. The inside of the neck is always goopy and makes the products overall appearance sloppy looking. A complimenting color may have even toned down the label a bit.

Ingredients: Sugar, Water, Vinegar, Ripe Red Savina Habanero Peppers, Mustard Seed, Ancho Peppers, Corn Syrup, Cayenne Peppers, Habanero Peppers, Molasses, Modified Food Starch, Salt, Worcestershire sauce, Natural Flavors, Onion, Spices, less than 1/10 of 1% sodium benzoate and potassium sorbate.

When I started reading the ingredients I became a bit confused. Sugar is the most abundant ingredient on the label. There is also corn syrup and molasses, just in case your blood sugar starts to drop during your meal. The ingredients looked a bit more like a spicy barbecue or steak sauce.

Appearance: This is a thick one. Dark and rich looking, it still has me thinking barbecue. There are tiny red flakes, and light and dark colored seeds. Overall the sauce has a nice look and is fairly appetizing, but I just can’t help wanting to put it on ribs or brisket; maybe it’s the color?

Aroma: POW! Red Savina is definitely the first thing you smell, however I get the sense that this is a pepper mash that I smell. It has that tangy slightly fermented pepper smell you get from a mash. I left the bottle open for a little while to let it breathe. The pepper smell is so pungent I can’t really pick up anything else.

Taste: Straight from the bottle, I tried a small drop. The label says it’s ATOMIC, so I approached it carefully. There is even a caution warning across the label. Sweet, No, not “sweeeet!” as in awesome, just sweet as in sugary sweet. A little heat followed but nothing that I would call atomic. No hazmat cleanup crew needed to do tonight’s dishes people; it was a false alarm. Oh, and if the flavor that they were going for is sweetness, then you certainly do get flavor before fire.

The Food Test: I was hoping this sauce would be elevated by the right food choice. Since it was very sweet and close to a steak or barbecue sauce I thought steak might be a good choice. I dipped my first cut of juicy rib eye into a small puddle of Sweet Sunshine Atomic Chili Sauce. The juice from the steak mixed with the sauce and hit the back of my throat as if I had just swallowed a handful of thumbtacks. After I coughed up a lung I drank a little iced tea and tried it again. There is a lingering heat from the chiles, but the overriding flavor here is the sweetness. I don’t get any layered or flavor complexity during the consumption of this sauce but there is a slight smoky aftertaste after some time.

Conclusion: Sweet Sunshine Atomic Chili Sauce is ok. If you like sweet sauces and are a fan of red savina mash you will like this sauce. If it’s amazing flavor or incredible heat you are looking for this sauce might leave you wanting. For me, this will go in the fridge with the other 30 hot sauces I have in there, and I’ll give it another shot on something out of the smoker.

Packaging 2/10 – Hyperactive Label
Aroma 3/10 – Overpowering
Appearance 8/10 – Thick, Rich, BBQish
Taste 2/10 – Sweet and Flat
Heat 7.5/10 – Not Atomic.

Overall 5/10 – This much sugar is better suited for waffles

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

More Presidential Candidate Hot Sauce Results

The hot sauce polls are tallied and closed for the week ending October 14th, 2007. Clinton has taken a two point lead on Obama and Nunov Deabove is in third place with 10% of the votes.

Giuliani has slipped to 4th place with nine percent of the Chile-heads vote. Dave the creator of the world famous Insanity Sauce; the hottest sauce in the universe ties Gore, Thompson, Romney, and McCain in fifth place, a slip from last week.

The newest candidate to join the Chile-head Presidential campaign is Ron Paul. Since his label was just created the stats are not yet available.

Vote for your favorite candidate at RoJo's Gourmet Foods by ordering their sauce. We will update you every week until the Election. If there is a candidate that you don't see on our list let us know if you want to vote for them. If you think you stand a better chance all you need to do is email us and order 10 cases and we'll make you a label. To get your own Presidential candidate label email us at

Vote/Buy your candidate here...

Friday, October 12, 2007

Really, It's Gourmet - Huitlacoche?

When you think of Mexican cuisine, what image comes to mind? If you are like most people it's gonna be burritos, tacos, enchiladas and a myriad of other Americanized dishes that have been adjusted to please our pallets. Today however we are looking into a food that never really quite caught on around these part, until now?

American farmers call it "smut" and "devil's corn" and consider it a disease to be eradicated. The people of Mexico as well as the American Hopi Indians consider the fungus a delightful delicacy.

Considered a pest in most of the United States, smut feeds off the corn plant and decreases the yield. Usually smut-infected crops are destroyed. However, in Mexico corn smut is called huitlacoche, (sometimes spelled cuitlacoche) It is pronounced (kweet-lah-KOH-chay) an Aztec word reportedly meaning raven's excrement. Gee, I wonder why they would have called this ever so attractive food by that name. It is considered a treat, even being preserved and sold for a higher price than corn. So to recap; infected corn is more expensive than healthy corn.

For culinary use, the infected kernels are harvested while still immature — fully mature corn infection is dry and almost entirely spore-filled. The immature infected kernels, gathered two to three weeks after an ear of corn is infected, still retain moisture and, when cooked, have a flavor described as mushroom-like, sweet, savory, woody, and earthy. Or as I would describe it a delicate blend of smoker’s lung, sweet corn and sweat socks. The Aztec's fashioned the fungus into dishes of crepes, soups, and tamales.

This fungal infection has had difficulty entering into the American and European diets as most farmers see it as blight, despite attempts by government and high profile chefs. In the mid-1990s and due to demand created by high-end restaurants, Pennsylvania and Florida farms were allowed by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to intentionally infect corn with huitlacoche.

In 1989 the James Beard Foundation held a high-profile huitlacoche dinner. This dinner was intended to get Americans to eat more of it by renaming it the Mexican truffle. The menu was created by Josefina Howard of Rosa Mexicano restaurant and included huitlacoche appetizers, soup, crepes, tortilla torte, and even a huitlacoche ice cream. I’m pretty sure that this foods public relations nightmare has little to do with the name.

Huitlacoche can be bought as a canned good in some markets in the US and over the internet. Some farmers markets and organic growers are endeavoring to bring fresh huitlacoche to their customers and local food service trade. How does that old saying go, “when life gives you lemons…?” If you do manage to find fresh huitlacoche, immediately locate the field and burn it to the ground then turn the soil. If you insist on eating it here is a recipe:

Arroz con Huitlacoche (Rice with Huitlacoche)

1 cup rice, soaked 15 minutes in hot water, rinsed and allowed to dry
1/2 medium white onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 large cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
1/2 can huitlacoche, or chopped, fresh-cut huitlacoche from two ears of corn
2 cups hot chicken or vegetable broth
1 cup fresh corn kernels (optional)
salt to taste


Sauté the rice, onion and garlic in the hot oil until the rice is golden. Add the huitlacoche and cook until the juices that run out evaporate. Stir in the hot broth and the corn, if using, plus salt to taste, lower heat and cook, covered, until the liquid is absorbed.

Good Luck!

Huitlacoche on Foodista

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Review: Memphis Minnie's Bar-B-Que Joint

When you think of The Haight in San Francisco, images of tie died t-shirts and other eclectic clothing, black light posters, the Grateful Dead, and Janis Joplin might come to mind.

When I visit The Haight it’s smoke that I think about! Not the kind of smoke that is typically associated with that bohemian part of town, the smoke that comes from a little barbecue joint called Memphis Minnie’s Bar-B-Que Joint & Smoke House.

You can’t help but to notice the little red building with its windows ablaze and the cartoon like sign featuring a jolly chef toque adorned porker. We actually came across it as if by mistake. After being smacked in the nose by the aroma of wood smoked meat we frantically looked around wondering where the intoxicating BBQ smells were coming from.

When you enter you find yourself transported instantly to the Deep South. The smell of barbecue is heavy in the air and there is row of tables occupied by a wide variety of patrons clearly enjoying their meals. There is a small pie case that displays some of the regional desserts, the sauces that they make, and some piggy influenced chachkis, which can be found all around the restaurant.

At first I found the menu board to be a bit complicated. I don’t mean to say I didn’t understand what the items on it were; I wasn’t sure why some of the items were on it. I guess when I really think about it one item kept distracting me; Premium Sake. As it turns out I am not the first to point out that Sake and barbecue are an odd combination. Their official position on the sake is that there are similarities in the long standing traditions and artisanal approach to both, and besides, the Sake tastes great and so does the barbecue so together they are doubly good. Ok, I’ll buy that. Some people drink red wine with fish and white wine with beef, and some people will drink Sake with barbecue.

Since we just happened to end up at Memphis Minnie’s and this was not a planned review I was a bit unprepared to order the variety of foods that I would for a typical menu sampling. Since I was with a couple of other people I just let them know that I would be eating off their plates for the sake of the review. They hesitantly agreed.

I ordered the Minnie’s Taster; three meats with a choice of two sides. On my plate will be the Texas Big Bones, the 18hour Smoked Texas Brisket, and the Memphis Sweet Smoked Pork. Accompanying those meats will be the Potlikker Greens and the Tart ‘n Tangy Slaw. In addition to those I will also be sampling the St. Louis Smoked Pork Ribs. I really had my mind set on the Andouille sausage, alas there was none. In all fairness it does say “Not All Items Are Available All The Time” right on the menu board.

I prefer to start with the sides, let’s get the supporting cast out of the way so that we can get to the main event. The slaw is crispy and tangy. There are slivers of red onion and bell pepper which compliment the shredded salad. This is not your typical California creamy mayo slaw. The dressing is on this is vinegar based and has a distinct twang to it. There is a sweetness that follows as your taste buds snap back, but it is well balanced and not sugary.

The Potlikker Greens are prepared in a classic down south manner, with onion and vinegar and slow cooked tender greens. I found these to be quite delicious but a little sweeter than I like. I did put about half of them down before the sweetness got to me.

Center stage was a battle for the best and quite honestly I find it almost impossible to pick the best of these incredible smoked delicacies. The beef ribs are rich and dark with a zesty bark. The meat comes away from the bones cleanly and they are the most tender beef ribs I have ever experienced. Next, the pork shoulder, buttery soft and smoky with just the right amount of spices. The outside pieces are sweet and sticky from the slow cooking process. No knives are needed here. The beef brisket was juicy and tender. The flavors were mesmerizing and the texture was perfect. There was a quarter inch smoke ring on the tender beef slices. The St. Louis Ribs also came away from the bone cleanly. The outside was crusted with spices and slightly charred meat while inside; the tender pork, pink from smoke was juicy and sweet. I struggled with the idea of putting sauce on this perfectly cooked meat but the variety of sauces on the table was intriguing.

On the table were three sauces Red, Vinegar, and Mustard sauce. First the Texas Red; Bold, tangy, and sweet, the flavor of ginger and clove stood out. The North Carolina Vinegar Sauce is tangy but not sour. I think the word vinegar in the name of this sauce is a bit misleading. It is fresh and herbal and really wakes up the meat you sprinkle it on. South Carolina mustard sauce is a just little sweet and has a delicate nature. It is a perfect accompaniment for the any of the pork dishes. All of the sauces were balanced and enhanced the meats. They were delicate enough to let the meats natural flavors come through, yet bold enough to stand up to the rich smoky meats that they adorn.

In Northern California where you find barbecue restaurants with no pits, and heavily sauced meats cooked in ovens, Memphis Minnie’s is a whole new world; like walking through a portal to a land where barbecue matters. The meats are perfectly prepared and the sauce is optional if needed at all. If you can’t go to the Deep South to experience the real barbecue culture, go to Memphis Minnie’s and experience real Bar-B-Que!

Memphis Minnie's. 576 Haight (at Steiner), S.F. (415) 864-PORK. Tues.-Sat., 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; Sun., 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Beer, wine, and sake. American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa. Wheelchair accessible.