I remember the first time I tasted jalapeno peppers. My father and I were making tacos and I had bought some canned jalapenos. The hottest thing I had eaten before this was banana peppers.
I opened the can and stared at the murky brine dotted with circles of orange oil. I picked out a pepper and ate it. Fire burned my tongue. I danced around the kitchen as sweat broke out on my face. Yow-ee! My father had done the same and was doing a more restrained version of my pepper dance. When the nuclear reaction in my mouth was over, I looked over at my dad. He looked at me. And we both took another jalapeno pepper and started the process again.
It’s hard describing what the allure of hot food is to people that don’t like hot foods. Is it the heat? Is it the taste? Is it the feeling of relief when the burning stops?
The problem for people that do like hot foods is that your tolerance builds. Just like moving from banana peppers to jalapeno peppers was a natural progression, eventually jalapeno peppers didn’t seem that hot. My cousin in Bar Harbor gave me my first habanero pepper. I started hiccupping immediately and drank a glass of milk to soothe the fire.
I remember when Frank’s Hot Sauce was hot. And when Tabasco could only be taken in small doses. Now, I’ve moved on to Blair’s hot sauces. But the danger is that these sauces are too hot. Seriously.
I have a bottle of Blair’s Sudden Death. I put a drop of it in a bowl of salsa and stir it up, but if the drop is a bit too big, I burn my mouth off. And it doesn’t have much flavor, just heat. It burns, Mommy, it burns!
Last month, I was at a friend’s barbecue and Shuggy came in with some of his Hot and Salty Rocks. Shuggy has infused some kosher salt with his home grown hot peppers. The result is awesome! You grind the salt onto the food you want to heat up and voila! Instant fire, but not too much.
It’s like a sting of heat. And because you control how much you put on by grinding, it is easier to control than putting a dab of Blair’s Sudden Death.
At the barbecue, I put that stuff on my burger, my chicken, and my salad. Heck, I was putting it on everything! Shuggy felt sorry for me and gave me a bottle of Venom (Naga Morich peppers,Red Trinidad Moruga Scorpion peppers, Ring of Fire peppers, Sundried Tomatos, Garlic, Black Peppercorns, Spices) to take home.
Was it good? I ordered two other salts from Shuggy’s website: Hell Fire (Devils Tongue peppers , Ghost Peppers,Sundried Tomatos,Chives,Paprika,Garlic, Spices) and Hot Biatch (Red and Yellow Trinidad Moruga Scorpion peppers,spices). Other names include: Cheeky Monkey, Vitamin C, The Four Horsemen, and Tandoori Thunder. I’ve put some Hell Fire in a grinder that goes to work with me everyday to spice up my lunch.
Shuggy’s salts come in a little bottle and you supply your own grinder. However, I know that Shuggy was looking into putting them into self-grinding bottles. You can easily order them from his website and he can even ship them to you for an additional fee. For more information, check out Shuggy`s website or Facebook page.
Do any of you have hot food favorites? Let me know… Happy Grinding and enjoy the sting!
© 2015 Peter Gruner