Two of Our Favorite Things: Tequila and Hot Sauce

If there is one thing that is true for us here at Smoking J’s Hot Sauce, it is that we  often end up having some tequila in the same meals where we are enjoying some hot sauce. And if you love it as much as we do, then you might care to learn a bit more about tequila – it just might make you appreciate it a bit more the next time you’re getting out those tequila sipping glasses.

Being one of the world’s oldest brands, tequila boasts of centuries of existence. Its history dates back to the 16th century when the first blend of the spirit was produced in the city of tequila. This was after Spanish ran out of their brandy in the North American region and resulted to use of agave plants to produce a distilled spirit. 80 years after the initial distillation, a license to produce the spirit commercially was granted.

Brands

Over the centuries, many distilleries have been developed. In Mexico alone there are over 100 distilleries were operational. These produced over 900 brands of the spirit. In the same period over 2000 brands of the same had been registered since its first production.

The regulating body in Mexico has in this regard introduced a method through which each bottle of tequila is given a unique serial number. This makes identification of the bottle much easier as well as the distillery from which it was made. The brands available are either family owned. Others are owned by large corporations. This also allowed various distillers to add flavors to their creations and in such way giving it a unique and distinct taste.

The most expensive bottle

Tequila has gained its place in the Guinness book of records. This was as being the only bottled spirit to reach a cost of $225,000. This was a one liter bottle sold by Tequila Ley Company. This was contained in a gold and platinum bottle where the sale was conducted in July 2006.

Bottling agreements

For many years, tequila remained a product sold solely by Mexicans. Owing to its growing popularity the Mexican government created “tequila bottlers registry” that was required to indentify and license qualified bottlers. An agreement in 2006 allowed importation of bulk tequila to the United States. After this, the distillers made an effort to penetrate the Chinese market this led to lifting of a ban to import the spirit to china in 2013.

Tequila barrels

The spirit is stored using large barrels. These are at times as large as 20,000 liters. Made from oak, the barrels are essential in adding the flavors of the tequila. White oak is used in this regard and it is imported from US, France and Canada. To enhance the flavors, some companies char the wood or use barrels previously used with other types of alcohol.
It is in the barrels that the spirit gains its flavors. They may take up to one tear in the barrels after which the spirit is transferred to the stainless steel tanks to reduce the evaporation rate.

Future of tequila

It has been discovered that synthetic diamonds can be produced through use of alcohol. This is done through heating alcohol to temperatures of over 8000c to break its molecular structure. This is then cooled on steel and silicon trays forming a thin uniform layer. This may increase the usage and values of the spirit where as well faster growing species of agaves promise availability of raw materials.

Tequila is a drink that has been embraced globally. With a rich history and culture, it continuous to be one of the most expensive labels. Unlike most of the available alcoholic brands available, it still uses the same traditional brewing method where it is brewed and distilled for years before it can fully mature.

Tips on Growing Your Own Peppers For Homemade Hot Sauce

Are you a major fan of hot sauces and salsa? Do you wish you could make your own straight from scratch, but you are unsure of what kind of peppers to use? In this article, we will list the steps and tips you need to successfully grow and harvest the best kinds of hot peppers straight from your kitchen or garden.

Why Should I Grow And Harvest My Own Hot Peppers?

There are several reasons why you should grow your own hot peppers at home. The main reason is that home grown peppers have a large variety, meaning you can choose from a wide range of different colors, sizes, shapes, and flavors. Hot peppers that are grown at home are also better tasting and tend to last longer. Peppers are also prolific producers, which means it is well worth the time and investment to plant a few seeds and get hundreds of peppers in return.

How Should I Plant And Grow Hot Peppers?

Before you even consider planting hot peppers, check and make sure that it is warm enough, both indoors and out. In order to grown properly, Hot plants need at least 70 degrees of heat, though it is best to grow them in 80 degrees. Hot peppers do not fare well if the temperature is below 60 degrees, so keep an constant eye on the whether, especially at night when cold spells can occur. However, don’t let hot peppers get too hot; if the temperature is above 90 degrees, it can cause the plant’s flowers to fall off and negatively affect yields.

When you first plant the seeds, use a heating pad if you don’t have enough warmth. You can also keep a layer of plastic wrap over the soil to keep it warm and moist until the seeds sprout. Keep the plants and seedlings covered if the temperature drops below 60 degrees.

When Should I Plant Hot Peppers?

It is best to start the seedlings indoors about eight to ten weeks before the last frost in your area is due This usually means starting the plants in the middle of May to late June. You must also pick a pepper that is best suited for your region and climate. Also, try to look for disease and insect free plants if you are using transplants.

Water And Other Care For Hot Peppers

Hot pepper plants do not need a lot of water, but the soil should not be dry either. Use soil that is well drained, sandy, or silt loam with a pH of 6.0 or 8.5. Also use a layer of Epsom salt for added magnesium.

If planting outdoors, choose a site that is sunny and has well drained soil. Avoid transplanting right away; allow the plant to adjust to the outdoors.

Before you pick the peppers, decide what kind of flavor you want. For a milder flavor, pick them when they are still green. For full flavor, wait until they are ripe.

Everything You Need To Know About The Hot Sauce Diet

Peppers are tasty in when they’re cooked in a variety of recipes, or they can be added to fresh salsas, added to salads, and more. In addition, if you’re trying to lose weight, they can really help when added to as a complement to a healthy diet and thousands of individauls are using what’s lnown as the Hot Sauce Diet. This is due to several factors.

Nutrition Facts of the Hot Sauce Diet

Chili sauce, salsas, and peppers provide a lot of flavor without calories, and peppers contain high levels of Capsaicin that offers several benefits that include the following:

Benefits of the Hot Sauce Diet:

  • Improves Digestion By Stimulating Stomach Secretions
  • Lowers Triglycerides
  • May Reduce High Blood Pressure
  • Triggers The Release Of Endorphins
  • Unclogs Stuffy Noses By Irritating Mucus Membranes
  • May Protect Against Some Cancer Forms

It’s actually been proven that when used correctly, hot sauces can help you lose weight. The burning sensation produced by a variety of hot sauces forces people to slow down while eating, which helps you eat less by giving your stomach time to send signals your brain that you’re full.

As different types of chilies ripen and turn from green to red, they lose a significant amount of vitamin C but gain Vitamin A through increased amounts of carotene Capsaicin also contains Vitamin C, and beta-carotene. It’s very low in fat, cholesterol, and calories. Capsaicin also increases your metabolic rate, meaning you will burn more calories.

If you sprinkle cayenne pepper flakes onto your salad, or toss sliced peppers into a bowl of turkey chili then you will most likely lose weight faster and benefit from lower triglycerides and experience better digestion. A bowl of fresh salsa with low-fat tortilla chips always makes a satisfying appetizer anytime.

Studies indicate that eating these types of spicy foods makes a person feel fuller and therefore consumes less food. So if you enjoy healthy food, spices, and want to shed a few pounds without too much effort, try adding peppers and salsa to your meals, they’re excellent as a condiment and topping.

Health Benefits of Hot Sauce

Hot sauce is not usually considered beneficial to one’s health. There’s a hot pepper paradox that makes people register hot sauce as unhealthy when it is actually very beneficial to one’s health. Hot sauce is one of the most beneficial foods in the world to a person’s health. The consumption of hot sauce has been linked to treating diabetes, inflammation, cardiovascular disease, help aid in weight loss, and even cancer.

Different types of hot sauces have different health properties based off of the peppers within them.

Green chili pepper hot sauce

  • has no cholesterol
  • has low calories
  • has a large dose of Vitamin C

Hot sauce with green chili peppers is very beneficial to one’s health, mainly because of the abundance of vitamin C within it. Vitamin C has the ability to increase metabolism, help maintain healthy skin, teeth, and bones, improve the function of the immune system, help heal wounds, and develop connective tissue.

Hot chili pepper hot sauce

  • has large dose of Vitamin A
  • has antioxidants
  • has flavonoids

The abundance of Vitamin A can have anti-aging benefits, anti-inflammatory properties, and actually protects a person’s DNA.

There are thousands of kinds of peppers that show similar health properties to the two examples above.

Hot sauce can help a person slim down quickly. Hot sauce can slow down your appetite, but increase your metabolism at the same time, and the benefit of hot sauce is that you can carry it around in a bottle and put it on top of any food you can imagine. Just add a little hot sauce on top of what you’re already eating, and you’re on your way to weight loss. Managing your weight is how hot sauce assists with diabetes.

More research must be taken to prove this aspect of hot sauce, but the evidence points in hot sauce’s direction. Hot sauce might have cancer curing abilities. One helpful health benefit inside of all chili peppers is capsaicin. Capsaicin is the compound that gives hot peppers their heat. Capsaicin is a popular ingredient used in topical pain-relieving creams. Capsaicin is a miracle component when dealing with health. It causes cells (including cancer cells) to undergo a process called apoptosis, which is cellular suicide, but that’s not as bad as it sounds. That means old cells will die and will be replaced with newer, healthier cells. Hot sauce could benefit cancer patients!

People should stop falling victim towards the hot pepper paradox that makes them stay away from hot sauces. A little tingle on the tongue is worth the health benefits that arise from it. The heat from the hot sauce is essential for the body, and may be a key to the cure of cancer.

Top Hot Sauce Eating Contests

Hot sauce is an important accompaniment for almost any food. A number of people are so used to it that they cannot take any food without it. As a result of this love for hot sauce, many contests have been established in different cities to find out the true hot sauce kings and queens. Below are some of the top hot sauce contests around the globe.

North Carolina Hot Sauce Contest

Established seven years ago by Julia Overton, North Carolina hot sauce contest has become one of the most popular contests. Its establishment was initially meant to recognize Bailey Farms, the largest pepper distributor on the eastern seaboard. It is held on September 13th every year and covers three streets, Main, Hillsboro and College Streets, in the historic Downtown Oxford. This competition attracts thousands of people every year, with the number rising to a high of about 12,000 people in 2013 and more than 70 vendors.

The Great Dorset Chili Festival

The UK Chili Cook-off Association came up with the idea of the Great Dorset Chili festival in 2010, and it has grown to be a remarkable event all over the world. This is a two day festival with the hot sauce competition coming on the second day. The event is usually attended by well over 20, 000 people, all ready to taste the different chilies available. Accompanied by great music, this August 2nd and 3rd competition is one of its kind. It is usually held at St. Giles House, Wimborne Street, Dorset.

The New York City Hot Sauce Expo

This is another fierce hot sauce competition out there. The competition is held in the greatest city in the world and it brings together thousands of participants. The NYC Hot Sauce Expo is usually held in different locations within New York City each year on the 29th and 30th March. With chillies coming from different parts of the world, you can be assured of finding that sauce that will leave your mouth burning.

The Chilifest Finland

Last year alone, the Chillifest Finland had more than 20,000 participants not only from Finland but the rest of Europe as well. The competition is usually held in August each year since its inception in 2012. Organized by the Finnish Chili Association, this two day event takes place at the Central City Square where participants get to taste different chillies and also learn different ways to use these chilies in their food.

Regardless of where you are, there are very many hot sauce competitions that you can take part in to test your chili eating prowess.

History of Hot Sauce

Chili pepper plants have been about for hundreds of thousands of years and have been believed to be one of the earliest cultivated plants. Hot sauce can be traced back to the earliest members of civilization. Hot sauce cultivation clues have become apparent in in archaeological digs studying the Aztecs. It is assumed that they began cultivating them before 3,500 B.C. Analyzing Aztec history shows that the Aztecs not only used hot sauce for flavor, but they used it for medicinal purposes as well.

Beginning in the early 1800’s, hot sauces begin the appear in the modern world.

In Massachusetts in 1807, bottled cayenne sauces began to appear and become popular.

Between the years of 1840 and 1860, McCollick & Company in New York City made Bird Pepper sauce by cultivating wild chiles.

In 1859, Edmund McIlhenny began to farm chilies until the civil war forced him out of the job.

In 1877, Willian Railton advertised a type of exotic hot sauce with medicinal benefits, leading to a boom in attraction to hot sauce.

In 1849, Louisiana banker Colonel Maunsell White grew the first recorded crop of Tabasco chiles. Also in 1849, Perrins Worestershire Sauce was imported into the United States of America.

In 1912, the Scoville Unit creates a test to measure the hotness of particular hot sauces. Here, they discovered that bell peppers have a range of 0-100 Scoville Units while a Habanero pepper has about 300,000 Scoville units.

Between 1918 and 1928, manufacturing hot sauce became increasingly popular, but the industry didn’t thrive as well as it could have because of the impact of The Great Depression.

In 1957, Colonel White manufactures and produces Tabasco hot sauce.

In 1980, the El Paso Chile company began to experiment with new hot sauce ideas by adding cilantro and prickly pear cactus juice. 1980 was the start for many big hot sauce names such as: Panola, Franks, and Montezuma

In 1992, Salsa replaced Ketchup as the United States of America’s top condiment.

In 1994, Pace and Old El Paso began to control half the market for Mexican hot sauces in the United States of America.

Hot sauce has a long history of popularity and health benefits. Throughout time, people learned to cultivate hot peppers and turn them into healthy hot sauce for everyones enjoyment, and the hot sauce industry has boomed over the years, bringing in billions of dollars to hot sauce companies. In every restaurant, there’s usually a hot sauce bottle on the table. In every fridge, there’s usually multiple bottles of hot sauce in the condiment area.

Top Hot Sauce Brands

People have used chili peppers and other hot spices for thousands of years and that has carried on into modern day society in the form of Hot Sauce. Hot Sauce is used in a variety of ways and depending on its flavor, can be used in many different applications. From being added to various sauces to being drizzled directly on top of food, to even being used in some forward thinking desserts, hot sauce is one of the many most versatile condiments on the market.

People love hot sauce because of its “heat” or spice. How a respective hot sauce’s “heat” is graded is based on the Scoville Scale. Developed in 1912 by American pharmacist Wilbur Scoville, it is a measure of the pungency or heat index of a chili pepper or other spicy foods. While everyone’s taste and tolerances for heat are different, it is not an exact unit of measure, however will give a person a good indication of how hot they should expect a particular pepper or sauce to be.

Hot Sauce certainly has its place in modern society and below is a list of some of the more well-known and popular brands of hot sauce and their place on the Scoville Heat Scale.

1. Tabasco Original

Developed in 1848 by Edmund McIlhenny, Tabasco is widely considered America original hot sauce. Tobasco was started in Avery Island Louisiana where it is still manufactured to this day. Comprised of just tobacco peppers, vinegar and salt, many complain that while tobacco adds heat to anything it is put on, it often lacks any real taste other than vinegar. Made from the tabasco pepper, it is one of the hottest hot sauces rating 2500-5000 on the Scoville Heat scale.

2. Frank’s Red Hot

Although it was officially released in the marketplace back in 1920, the original Frank’s Red Hot recipe dates back to 1896 and is credited to the Frank Tea and Spice Company based in Cincinnati, Ohio. Frank’s Red Hot is also credited for being the primary ingredient in the original Buffalo Win sauce created by Teressa Bellissimo at the Anchor Bar and Grill in Buffalo, New York back in 1964. Today, Frank’s Red Hot is also used in Wishbone’s new Buffalo Ranch sauce. Frank’s Red Hot is considered another mild-type sauce rating 450 on the Scoville heat scale.

3. Texas Pete

Developed in 1929, despite having “Texas” in its name, Texas Pete was actually not created in Texas. It was created in Winston Salem North Carolina by Sam Garner of the Dixie Pig BBQ. It is said that the customer of the Dixie Pig BBQ requested a spicier sauce with their BBQ and Mr. Garner came up with a concoction that is made up mostly of cayenne peppers. As of 2004, Texas Pete was the third highest selling hot sauce in the world. Texas Peter is considered a mild hot sauce as it rates just 747 on the Scoville heat scale.

4. Crystal Hot Sauce

Said to be the original Louisiana hot sauce, it was created in 1923 by the family owned Baumer Food company who still manufactures it today. It is said that 3 million gallons of Crystal hot sauce in manufactured yearly and is available in over 75 countries. Like many other hot sauces, Crystal’s is made from aged cayenne peppers, vinegar and salt. It rates 2,000 – 4,000 on the Scoville heat scale.

Men vs Food – Hot Sauce Challenge Video

I love tasting new hot sauces and adding them to new dishes and recipes. However, what I do not get are the people who do the eating competitions where they chug as much hot sauce as possible. That being said, I do get some entertainment out of watching these hot sauce chugging competitions.

If you want to see a good one, or if you’ve never seen one of these and don’t know where to start, just take a look at the video below from YouTube. It is for Men vs Food – Hot Sauce Challenge at Tijuana Flats.