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Learn to cook BBQ at home with Dr. BBQ Ray Lampe!


Sriracha is America’s Most Searched Condiment

Bowl of sriracha sauceEver wonder what condiment Americans are searching for more than any other? The answer is probably not a surprise to some of you.

It is Sriracha.

Sriracha chile pepper sauce, with the biggest-selling brand being the famous Huy Fong Foods “Rooster Sauce,” has certainly taken the culinary world by storm over the past couple of years. Therefore, it’s been on the minds of a lot of people, warranting searches on Google in a majority of the States.

Below is a handy infographic created by Fix Hot Sauce that shows that the trend towards Sriracha has grown in the past five years.

NOTE: Unfortunately, b0th the aforementioned Fix Hot Sauce and Business Insider Australia are taking this information and are erroneously reporting that Sriracha is “America’s Favorite Condiment.” Simple logic can tell you that Google searches do not equal sales. I mean, milk is in almost every U.S. home, but when is the last time you’ve done an internet search on milk? It is my hope that Fix Hot Sauce and Business Insider Australia both clarify this and correct their claims.

14 Signs You Are a True Hot Sauce Fanatic or Chilehead


Becoming addicted to fiery foods can become incredibly easy. For a lot of us, one taste of delicious heat, and we’re hooked! For others, the fascination with chile peppers and hot sauce is a gradual process. So how do you know if you have a true obsession with spicy foods? Here are 14 signs you are a true-blue chilehead:

  1. If you have more pictures on your phone of your chile peppers and pepper plants than pictures of your family.
  2. If you keep bottles of hot sauce at your work or in your car.
  3. If “ring of fire” and “burns twice” actually mean something to you.
  4. If you have or have ever considered getting a chile pepper tattoo…

2016 UCP Heartland Wing Ding St. Louis Judging Results

2016-st-louis-wing-ding-photo-1Every year, the preeminent chicken wing event is the St. Louis, MO metro area is, of course, the UCP Heartland Wing Ding. The 2016 event was held last night, and I was lucky enough to be one of the celebrity judges for the contest.

16 different St. Louis area restaurants not only sold their wings to the general public who paid to get into the foodie event, but also entered in one or more wings for consideration in the contest. The judging was split up into three categories: Best Traditional Style (with the flavor profile being based in the classic cayenne pepper sauce and melted butter, and can be grilled, smoked, fried and/or breaded), Best Specialty Style (anything goes!), and Best Dry Rub Style (non-sauced but with a seasoning covering the outside, and can be grilled, smoked, fried and/or breaded). There was a mind-numbing 38 individual entries across all three categories; although judges didn’t need to consume 38 entire wings, we were required to take a bite of each one.

Judging was subjective to the preferences of each judge, and included such criteria as appearance, texture, flavor, and juiciness…

NMSU Researchers Investigate How Super-Hot Peppers Pack Their Powerful Punch

trinidad-moruga-scorpion-nmsuResearchers at New Mexico State University’s Chile Pepper Institute have discovered that super-hot chile peppers, those with more than one million Scoville Heat Units, are built differently than other peppers. Unlike regular chile peppers, super-hot peppers make the most of the interior space they have available, which can lead to some serious heat.

“What we were interested in finding was why super-hot chile peppers are able to get that hot,” said Dr. Paul Bosland, an NMSU Regents Professor and director of the university’s Chile Pepper Institute.

According to Bosland, it has been known that a chile pepper’s heat comes from the chemical compound capsaicin, and that capsaicinoids are found in yellow-colored sacs called vesicles. In most chile peppers, the capsaicinoid vesicles are attached to the fruit’s placenta, where the seeds are located.

With super-hot peppers, those sacs are also found on the fruit wall, and in larger quantities. This gives the pepper far more surface area to pack in capsaicinoid vesicles and to turn up the heat. Peter Cooke, with the NMSU Core University Research Resources Laboratory, was able to make the capsaicinoid sacs fluoresce in both jalapeno peppers and Trinidad Moruga Scorpion peppers and then examined the fruit with university’s electron microscope…

The True Cost of A Healthy Lifestyle

The-True-Cost-of-A-Healthy-Lifestyle-InfographicWhat is the true cost of a healthy lifestyle? Does it cost more to go out to eat or stay home and make dinner? The answer may surprise you.

Now I will continue to go out to dinner and enjoy what a restaurant can offer, but purchasing food at home can be both cheaper and healthier for you. Here’s a handy infographic on food costs in the U.S. and the true cost of a healthy lifestyle.

Average Daily Food Cost In The U.S.
Milk, regular (0.25 liter): $0.23
Loaf of Fresh White Bread: $125g
Local Cheese (0.10kg): $1.07
Chicken Breasts Boneless, Skinless (0.15kg): $1.32
Banana (.25kg): $0.40
Oranges (0.30kg): $1.21
Onion (0.10kg): $0.26
Rice, white (0.10kg): $0.37
Eggs (2.4): $0.55
Beef Round (0.15kg)…

SauceFest LLC Announces Postponement of Festival

saucefest-houston-txGourmet Food and Music Festival Postponed Until 2017

Houston, TX | August 1, 2016:

SauceFest LLC (“SauceFest”) regrets to announce that the gourmet food and music festival’s inaugural run has been postponed until the fall of 2017. The event was originally scheduled to take place October 22-23, 2016 on the streets of East Downtown Houston. The festival is now tentatively scheduled for October 2017.

To ensure that SauceFest 2017 brings the heat, iBurn® is working with Houston’s own Pegstar Concerts to deliver a music lineup that only Pegstar can deliver. The 2-day festival will also feature gourmet food products with heat levels ranging from mild to the world’s hottest, craft beer and liquor brands, local restaurants, cooking demonstrations, and eating…

Love your enchiladas? You can thank NMSU chile research pioneer Fabian Garcia

paul-bosland-with-fabian-garciaIf you’ve ever sat and admired a perfect restaurant relleno before digging in, or sent up a quiet “thank-you” when you found some New Mexico certified green chile on the shelf in a coastal grocery store, you probably know how important the Mexican food industry is to American consumers. In fact, Mexican cuisine is second only to Italian in its familiarity and frequency of eating, according to research from the National Restaurant Association.

But you might not realize that the spicy staple of the most popular northern Mexican dishes – the chile pepper – owes much of its widespread popularity to the early work of one of New Mexico State University’s pioneering researchers, horticulturist Fabian Garcia.

“Really, Fabian Garcia is the father of the Mexican food industry in the United States as we know it,” said Paul Bosland, director of NMSU’s award-winning Chile Pepper Institute and a Regents Professor of horticulture. “Until his early research, chile peppers were a regional kitchen garden plant. His creation of the New Mexican pod type changed the food landscape of the United States forever…”

2016 St. Louis Wing Ding is Coming!

Wing-Ding-Buffalo-Wings(St. Louis, MO) Local restaurants will compete to see who has the “best chicken wings” in St. Louis at the 6th Annual Wing Ding St. Louis. This year’s event will be from 6:00 pm until 9:00 pm, August 11, 2016, at Queeny Park (Greensfelder Arena), (at 550 Weidman Road, Ballwin, MO 63011).  The Wing Ding is sponsored by Schlafly, CARF International, 105.7 The Point, Coca-Cola, Ices Plain and Fancy and Nothing Bundt Cakes.

NMSU Researchers Say Milk Works Best To Extinguish The Heat From Chile Peppers

According to research conducted by New Mexico State University’s Chile Pepper Institute, milk is the best way to extinguish the heat from chile peppers. (Courtesy photo)

The next time you bite off more than you can handle in regard to a hot chile pepper, your best bet is to drink some milk. That’s according to research conducted by New Mexico State University’s Chile Pepper Institute.

“Capsaicin is the chemical compound found in chile peppers that makes them taste hot,” said Paul Bosland, an NMSU Regents Professor and director of the Chile Pepper Institute. “It turns out that milk has a protein in it [called casein] that replaces the capsaicin on the receptors on your tongue. It’s really the quickest way to alleviate the burning feeling.”

Bosland said when capsaicin attaches to receptors in your mouth, it sends the same signal to your brain as it would if you had touched something hot. That’s why some people also begin to sweat when they eat hot peppers. Milk, and other dairy products like sour cream or even ice cream, will help to put out that fire.

So, does anything else work…

Cuts of Pork – Get to Know the Parts of a Pig


Are you a True BBQ Pitmaster? Do You Know Your Cuts of Pork?

There is nothing on God’s green earth that quite compares to a perfectly-cooked beef steak or grilled or smoked chicken.  But my favorite grilled or barbecued animal of choice? It is perhaps the pig.

Pork is undeniably one of the most commonly consumed meats in the world. My preference for swine is due to the meat being sweet and juicy, almost to the point of being deliciously unctuous. I also love pig because there is simply so much you can do with it and types of meat they offer. I mean, you can get ribs, pulled pork, ham, St. Louis-style pork steaks, sausage, bacon…? What’s not to love?

Where do you start? There are seemingly endless cuts that can be found, some better known than others, even if you only include what’s found at your neighborhood grocer…

Texas Caviar Recipe


What is Texas caviar? Well, unlike it’s namesake, it has nothing whatsoever to do with fish eggs, thankfully!

Texas caviar is a salad of beans, corn, black-eyed peas, and other ingredients, often eaten as a dip accompaniment to tortilla chips. You can also think of it like an jacked-up black bean and corn salsa. Texas caviar is good any time as a snack, part of an appetizer or a party food.

Here is a Texas caviar recipe that will add some life to your feeding frenzy…

Homemade Nacho Cheese Queso Sauce Recipe

nacho-cheese-sauce-queso-recipeI love me some nacho cheese. The ooey, gooey, liquid nacho queso sauce you commonly find in fast food Mexican restaurants, at concession stands and snack bars, and on your grocery store shelves are a guilty pleasure of mine, but I recently found that you can create a much better nacho cheese product at home.

So here is my nacho sheese sauce recipe. The consistency of this queso will be a tiny bit more “stringy” and “stretchy” like melted cheddar and be “gloppy”, yet still have attributes of being smooth and pourable and will be very similar to a store-bought processed nacho cheese sauce.

It’s great with old fashioned tortilla chips and jalapenos, but it’s also fantastic on Taco Tuesdays or even on fried potato slices (for what I call “Potchos”). Just as long as you have plenty of pre-shredded cheddar or a block of cheddar on hand, this nacho cheese sauce recipe should be pretty easy to make any time as it includes very common ingredients.


Grilling Tips From Rocky Stubblefield, Plus Exclusive Stubb’s BBQ Giveaway!

stubbs-bbq-rocky-stubblefield-giveaway-contestJuly is National Grilling Month, and it’s is the perfect time for backyard cooks to fire up 2016’s hottest Bar-B-Q trends. Barbecue expert Rocky Stubblefield of Austin, Texas-based Stubb’s Legendary Bar-B-Q offers tips for these top trends to try now:

  • Boosted burgers: Create over-the-top burgers by coating each patty with Stubb’s Bar-B-Q Rub, then sprinkle with a little smoked sea salt to really enhance that smoky barbecue taste. Let the patties sit for a while before cooking – you can actually see the flavor seeping into the meat!
  • Steak stand-ins: No barbecue is complete without coleslaw, so deconstruct the classic with grilled cabbage “steaks” marinated in Stubb’s Chicken Marinade for 15-30 minutes, then grilled over medium-high heat 3-4 minutes each side. Baste with 3/4 cup Stubb’s Sweet Black Pepper Anytime Sauce mixed with a quarter cup of mayo in the final minutes of grilling and serve with shredded carrots and finely chopped onions on top.
  • Smoky heat: Get just the right amount of heat to suit your taste by mixing in your favorite hot sauce with Stubb’s Original or Sticky Sweet Bar-B-Q Sauce, then heat together in a pan, adding hot sauce to taste. Throw in a little finely chopped onion for some extra tang and texture.
  • Smoking is the new grilling: For smoking meats on a charcoal grill, use hardwood chunks, or on a gas grill, use wood chips. Soak wood chunks…

Enter Hot Sauce Depot’s Awesome High River Sauces Giveaway Contest


Hot Sauce Depot is having a contest to give away a bottle of 1032 K Hot Sauce, the scientifically engineered hot sauce developed by GE, Thrillist, and High River Sauces. Only 1,000 bottles of this limited edition sauce were produced, and it sold out shortly after going on sale back in April. The 1032K Sauce is part of a prize pack courtesy of Steve Seabury of High River Sauces.

The contest is going on throughout July, and all you have to do to enter is…

McDonald’s to Test Sriracha Menu Items


If you hadn’t known before, McDonald’s has often used its San Diego-based restaurants as a testing ground for a handful of new ideas. What’s next on the world’s largest burger chain’s list for keeping up with the tastes of the country? Sriracha and Big Mac Special Sauce.

The special spicy sandwich is slated to be made with white cheddar, kale, spinach, crispy onions, tomato and a secret blend of Sriracha and traditional Big Mac sauce. The flavor option is…