Hot Hot Hot Hot Sauces

The offer of a free box of these sauces was irresistable and we have spent the past few months trying them in a variety of different ways. Whilst our weak-willed Irish palates found the hotter ones just too hot, the depth of flavour is just fantastic. If only they had an Irish distributor!

Back in January I got a comment on a very old post from 2006 that I did about buffalo wings. I had used the famous Frank’s Hot Sauce and mentioned that I was a little disappointed by it. Mark Stirling from Branding Iron Foods offered to ship me a box of their sauces all the way from Washington State to try out. I was stunned and of course I accepted.

In no time at all, a box arrived with nine big bottles in it. Three each of EZ Earl’s Blazin Hot Stuff, Smokin Hot Stuff and Spicy Sauces. Mark told me that they have been refining the recipe in these sauces for generations. I couldn’t wait to try them out and immediately tried the hottest (Blazin) on a tray of chicken pieces in the oven. It blew my face off. Seriously, this makes vindaloo curry taste like a korma!

Chicken Pieces with EZ Earl Blazin Hot Stuff

Over the next while we tried out all three levels of heat both at home and on some of my extended family. It turns out we are all a bunch of big girl’s blouses and the lowest heat (Spicy) is our favourite. All three work brilliantly well on buffalo wings but the hottest is just too hot for us in things like pitta kebabs.

But heat shouldn’t be the main focus of this review, it should be taste. These sauces deliver that in bucketloads. There is a phenomenal depth of flavour that far exceeds anything I have tried before. In particular, the Spicy one gives you the opportunity to really get the notes of all the ingredients.

All of the sauces have smoke in them which I guess is traditional in the US? This is perfect for all those BBQ sutuations but I’d love one more member of the product family to be created without the smoke so it can be used in an even wider variety of situations where you need to add a strong spicy undertone to a dish.

Whilst using the sauce instead of Tabasco in a Prawn Cocktail might seem a bit odd, trust me, it works so so well. I actually find myself looking for unusual ways of using the sauce, it really is that good.

My gut tells me that the hottest level would not sell in Ireland and that the best seller would actually be the Spicy. But I do think it would be a best seller. If any Deli or Gourmet shop here is looking for unique products to import, you really should look at these. I’d be happy to put you in touch with Mark.

Now all we need is some decent weather so I can get some BBQ done!

UPDATE 1: The first ever OpenCoffeeClub BBQ was held in Terryglass, Co Tipperary on the shores of Lough Derg recently. I decided to test out the Blazin and Smokin sauces on the attendees. I got a few kilos of wings, some bone-in chicken breasts and some massive pork chops from the excellent Dan Moloney’s butchers in Bandon. I put each of them in ziplock bags and emptied bottles of the hottest sauce on the chicken and the less hot on the chops. They went in the fridge overnight and then were transported in a cooler box to the BBQ.

Due to the bad state of the grill near the venue, the food was actually cooked in some ovens. But boy were they popular! People descended on them like ravenous wolves. The feedback was all positive and contradicted what I said earlier about heat, no-one found them too hot, they thought they were perfect! Marinating them and then dry roasting them seemed to have mellowed the heat compared to wet cooking. The depth of smokey flavour came right through. Very memorable wings.

Conor O'Neill

Tech guy who likes running slowly

Bandon, Cork, Ireland http://conoroneill.com