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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…

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.

These are the Top 5 Best Spicy Snacks Available Today

best-spicy-snacks-fiery-foods-hot-potato-chipsIt’s time to revisit a subject (and maybe the first in a series of similar topics) for discussion here in the chilehead world: what are my favorite spicy snacks in the world?

On previous lists on this very topic in years past, I have included spicy sweets among fiery snacks. I decided to forgo the mention of candies, chocolates, confections, sweet baked items, and caramel sauces and hot syrups on this top 5 rundown, and instead will go for the more salty-based variety of munchies. This includes chips, baked or fried products made from potatoes, corn, wheat, or meat jerky.

As I was compiling this list, I discovered that a few “shoe-ins” unfortunately had to be left out as the manufacturer either stopped production of the item or the company went out of business altogether. It’s sad, but most of you know that the fiery foods industry can be a fickle and tough one to remain successful in, and sometimes the products for whatever reason did not gain the audience they deserved.

So, without further ado, here are what I think are the best chile pepper-laden snacks on the market today in order…

Local Sauce Storms on to Festival Scene – HoneyBlaze

honeyblaze-wing-sauce-logoThe Florida Festival of Flavor & Fire will be made tastier this year with the addition of the highly awarded HoneyBlaze Buffalo Sauce. Riverview native Miller Townsend, creator and owner, takes his sauce to Lakeland next weekend representing Tampa as vendors flood in from all around the country.

“We’ve had great success at festivals,” Townsend said. “People tell me they fall in love with HoneyBlaze even before first taste but at first smell.”

HoneyBlaze is manufactured in Tampa but has seen explosive growth in…

What is Nashville Hot Chicken?

nashville-hot-fried-chickenAssimilation of spicy food into regular American culture is in full swing. Led by popular trends such as the sriracha craze, fiery cuisine is completely unavoidable now.

In all of this, there is one smaller trend in spicy foods that has seemingly come out of nowhere that, for a lot of foodies and chileheads, remains mysterious. And that is “Nashville Hot” or “Nashville Hot Chicken.” Nationwide restaurant chains such as KFC and O’Charley’s have picked up on this style and have introduced menu items based on it.

“What precisely is Nashville Hot Chicken?”, you may be asking yourself? Nashville Hot is a type of fried chicken that is typically marinated in buttermilk, breaded and seasoning, and fried in a deep fryer, pressure cooker, or sometimes pan-fried. What makes Nashville Hot Chicken stand out from other forms of Southern fried chicken is the application of a dark, decadent, chile pepper-based paste made from lard and cayenne pepper powder. This paste is what separates regular buffalo chicken in that the buffalo style usually gets its spiciness from a hot sauce sauce.

The typical, traditional way of serving Nashville Hot Chicken dates back to the 1970s, and most recipes have included chicken parts (legs, thighs, or wings) or pieces (such as breast strips) that are served on white bread and topped with pickles. That has inspired other culinary variations, like Nashville Hot Chicken nuggets, sliders, salads, and even pork ribs at dining outlets such as the aforementioned chains, and Nashville Hot Fish in local Tennessee restaurants. How big will this trend be? Well, KFC’s addition in select markets in early 2016 have made executives rave about Nashville Hot as, “the most successful product testing in the company’s recent history,” so this may become a household term within the next 5-10 years.

Super-Hot Buffalo Wing Sauce Recipe

Extreme Super-Hot Chile Peppers Buffalo Wing Sauce

Alright, you want hot? You got it!

This super-hot buffalo wing sauce recipe is for serious chileheads only. If you’re a certifiable heat freak and are tired of other buffalo wing sauce recipes leaving your tongue disappointed with a flat heat level, then these scorchers should do the trick.

First, you will need two things:

  • 2-3 pounds of assorted chicken wings, both flats and drumettes.
  • Approximately 1 quart of cooking oil.

Regular Super-Hot Buffalo Sauce Version

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Frank’s RedHot Pepper Sauce
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • read more…

Grilling Wings Missouri-Style

missouri-style-grilled-wings-1

What’s that? You mean haven’t tried chicken wing drumettes and flats “Missouri-style”? If you’re unfamiliar with this tiny little live-fire recipe twist on grilling these popular poultry pieces, it simply combines the best of grilling (hot and fast cooking) and true outdoor barbecuing (low n’ slow with a touch of wood smoke). The results are spectacular!

And if you’re unlearned about grilling wings, period, and are just used to frying them indoors, you’re missing quite a treat. The great thing about grilled wings is that the fat drips down, the skin gets lovely and crispy and you don’t have to deal with cooking with hot oil (and the disposal associated with using it). Plus, you get a delicious grilled flavor!

To first implement Missouri-style, first lay out some…

The Firecast Podcast Returning For 2016 Episodes

the-firecast-hot-sauce-bbq-chile-pepper-podcast-2016There is great news for chileheads, BBQers and fiery foods fans everywhere!

After taking a brief hiatus, The Firecast Spicy Food, BBQ and Hot Sauce Podcast Show is returning soon with all-new episodes for its 2016 season! Some cool topics and guests are planned with the coverage all you foodies have grown to love.

As always, listening to The Firecast is extremely easy! There are a vast number of ways to listen, subscribe ad download the episodes on virtual every internet-enabled electronic device known to man. Go to The Firecast‘s Subscribe and Connect page to peruse all the different options you have available.

The Firecast is the most listened-to show on the internet with a focus on hot sauce, fiery foods and BBQ. The program aims to feature the best and most diverse coverage of spicy food, sauces, seasoning, grilling, barbecue smoking, chile peppers, buffalo wings, chili and more, with weekly product previews and interviews with the biggest movers and shakers in the industry. New podcast episodes are released roughly twice per month.

The Firecast Podcast is downloaded on average of over 45,000 times per month, with new episodes racking up more than 12,000 downloads each.  The show began in 2010 as a YouTube video show, and transitioned into its current audio format in mid-2012.

Website Link: http://www.thefirecast.com.

Hot Island Wings Recipe

ashlynn-gourmet-hot-island-wings-recipeAshlynn’s Gourmet is a hot new sauce company based out of sunny Florida who makes an impressive array of “flavor enhancers”, including tapenades, hot sauce, barbecue sauce and basalmic glazes. Annthea and Mike, owners of Ashlynn’s, sent along this recipe for some island-inspired hot wings that encompass so many flavors and builds to an amazing heat crescendo.

Everything is not too overpowering, and the heat and flavor do the dance amazingly well in your mouth. This wing recipe uses two of Ashlynn Gourmet’s products (Hot Island Que BBQ Sauce and Kings Judgement Pineapple Habanero Hot Sauce), along with fresh red onions, red peppers, pineapple and cilantro, try these spicy appetizers for yourself, and you might feel like you’re sitting in an island bar watching the relaxing blue waters of Bimini…

Review – Doritos Dinamita Fiery Habanero Tortilla Chips and Ruffles Deep-Ridged Classic Hot Wings Potato Chips

doritos-dinamita-fiery-habanero-and-ruffles-deep-ridged-classic-hot-wings-chipsIt’s time for another captivating snack chip showdown! Of course, since I try to keep it spicy, I’ve selected a pair of nationally-available brand names with takes on fiery flavor variations. Since major snack manufacturers are scatter-shot when it comes to not only featuring a product that should appeal to chileheads, but also be delicious at the same time, I came into this review with no expectations.

Interestingly enough, there are now actually a wealth of hot n’ spicy options down the chip aisle (almost too many, to be honest!), so I had to be very judicious in not only selecting suitable review subjects.

I ended up choosing Doritos Dinamita Fiery Habanero Tortilla Chips and Ruffles Deep-Ridged Classic Hot Wings Potato Chips, and I was fortunate because they were two fairly dissimilar munchies in core ingredients, texture, and flavor styles…

What’s In A Name? Spicy Food Terms and Definitions – Sauces, Salsas and More

salsa-hot-sauce-definitionsIn cooking, consuming and dealing with fiery cuisine, especially the liquid seasonings that give flavor and heat to dishes, you’re going to stumble upon dozens of interrelated names and terms. Some of their meanings may be obvious, but chances are good that if you’re newer to the world of spice you may get hung up on a few.

For the novice foodies and beginner chileheads, I’ve given definitions of a lot of these words you’ll encounter. The following list is certainly not comprehensive, yet still should cover most of the terms encompassing the wide world of spicy sauces, condiments and liquids.

Hot Sauce

In its most basic meaning, a hot sauce is simply any sauce that uses hot chile peppers as one of its mean ingredients to give it a spicy taste. Diving deeper into what the definition of hot sauce is, it can technically mean any type of pepper-based substance ranging from watery liquids to thicker condiments all the way up to a thin paste in terms of consistency. Hot sauce can have an almost unlimited number of supporting ingredients including tart, sugary, fruity, salty, smoky or tangy ones. It also should be noted that technically salsas are considered to be hot sauces, albeit much thicker ones. Also referred to as pepper sauces and chile sauces.

Salsa

Review – Buffalo Wild Wings Ghost Pepper Sauce and Salted Caramel BBQ Sauce

As promised a few days ago, below is my review for Buffalo Wild Wings Ghost Pepper Sauce and Salted Caramel BBQ Sauce wings. These two wings sauces, along with their Classic Margarita Sauce is a brand new trio that’s part of B-Dub’s “Sauce Lab” – which is a slick marketing term for “limited time only” flavors for their namesake chicken pieces.

I’m all about great taste, but what is especially notable is that after asking the former head of research and development, Sylvia Matzke-Hill, about the possible introduction of a ghost pepper sauce, the Minneapolis, Minnesota-based restaurant chain has finally released one.

buffalo-wild-wings-new-sauces-ghost-pepper-sauce-salted-caramel-bbq-sauce

In a display purely for show, the wait staff is instructed to bring out any Ghost Pepper Sauce Wing order wearing protective eye goggles.  And yes, that is a flashing light on the tray with the wings…

buffalo-wild-wings-new-sauces-ghost-pepper-sauce-salted-caramel-bbq-sauce with lights and siren

Buffalo Wild Wings New Sauces – Ghost Pepper, Salted Caramel and Classic Margarita Sauces

It’s time for another batch of new sauces from Buffalo Wild Wings. This time out, the chicken wing chain has a trio of new flavors: the super-hot Ghost Pepper Sauce; whch by some accounts, is hotter than their previously-hottest Blazin’; Salted Caramel BBQ Sauce, a sweet and salty blend; and Classic Margarita Sauce, a fruity alcoholic beverage-style spin put into buffalo wing form.

I will be trying these (with a formal review to follow) this coming weekend, so stay tuned! If you’re interested in these BWW wing flavor options yourself, let if be known that these are only available for a limited time only at participating Buffalo Wild Wings restaurants.

buffalo-wild-wings-new-sauces-ghost-pepper-salted-caramel-classic-margarita-sauce

Review – Domino’s Specialty Chicken – Classic Hot Buffalo, and Spicy Jalapeno-Pineapple

dominos-specialty-chicken-classic-hot-buffalo-spicy-jalapeno-pineappleIf you’re in the mood for some decent delivery pizza, you can find a much better joint to order from than Domino’s Pizza. Oddly, to battle a poor reputation (which may or may not have been deserved) a few years back, Domino’s had revamped their core pizza recipes but actually came out with an even worse product, despite some aggressive marketing tryin to convince the masses otherwise.

It is Domino’s vast array of sides, that in my opinion set them apart from the other national chains. Although not all of their sides are stellar, they are distinctively guilty pleasure enough to purchase if my boys try to convince me to order from them.

Domino’s has recently introduced their Specialty Chicken, a very…

FireTalkers: Busting Chile Myths with Dave DeWitt

dave-dewitt-fire-chileHere is s re-publication of a popular blog post from 2009. Enjoy!

It seems as though when I go both online and in the “real world,” whenever I mention the fact that I’m into chile peppers and hot sauce, there’s a good chance that the people I meet will drudge up a misconception, myth, or urban legend about the subject. To help clear the constant confusion, I’ve for the longest time wanted to make a blog post that would take on the most common ideas and separate the fantasy from reality.

To accomplish this, I’ve asked Dave DeWitt to help out and verify if any of these chile pepper and hot sauce myths are true. Dave is more than qualified to answer, as he is one of the world’s foremost experts on chile peppers – he’s written more than 35 chile-related books, is a board member of the Chile Pepper Institute at New Mexico State University, producer of the Fiery Foods and BBQ Show, therefore rightly earning the nickname “The Pope of Peppers”. His brand new book, The Complete Chile Pepper Book, is now available on Amazon, and you can visit his Fiery Foods and BBQ SuperSite for a vast wealth of spicy information.

Scott: The capsaicin found chile peppers and hot sauces can irritate parts of the body, such as the skin, eyes, mouth and tongue. As some people have claimed, can you actually get a blister from capsaicin contact?

Dave: Yes, it’s called contact dermatitis. Like with poison ivy, some people are more sensitive and some are even immune…