Posted April 2, 2005 by Nick Lindauer in Hot Sauce News

Spice up cooking with rubs, sauces (duh)

By Linda Fradkin
The Daily News

Published March 30, 2005
You can’t accuse Mother Nature of nonsupport; she is, indeed, a generous provider.

Still, with all she offers in terms of natural ingredients for our dining table, we can’t seem to leave well enough alone. We’re never quite satisfied until we’ve reworked her creation by sprinkling or dousing on a little extra flavoring.

Sometimes it’s Mother Nature’s own salt or pepper or some unadulterated herb, but just as often it’s a manufactured sauce or rub or condiment.

We always hear about the first man who figured out fire and how much it improved the taste of the food he’d already discovered. But at exactly what point he took a bite and said, “You know, this would taste so much better if it had a little seasoning,” we’ll never know.

Food historians do tell us the Greeks had realized they could use mustard seeds as a condiment, but it wasn’t until the Roman time that cooks devised a spreadable form of mustard that included ground mustards seeds, wine, vinegar, oil and honey.

A formulation akin to ketchup was the invention of the Indonesian and Asian cultures. It consisted of pickled fish sauce made of anchovies, walnuts, mushrooms and kidney beans. But not until a container holding the sauce was ferried away from its native land — when 17th century British sailors took the concoction home with them from China — did Westerners get their first taste.

By the late 1700s the enigmatic potion showed up in New England, where Americans came up with the idea of tomatoes as an addition to the original recipe.

Even though Worcestershire sauce sounds British to us, its roots reach back to Asia. Englishman Lord Marcus Sandys was stationed in India serving as Governor General of Bengal. He returned home to Worcester, England, with a small batch of a sauce he’d come to love in India. He gave the assignment of re-creating the recipe to two local chemists. They came up with a facsimile of the formulation but ended up hating it. Way too red-hot was how they described their creation, so they forgot about it and left it in the cellar. Later, when they rediscovered the container, the formulation was in a fermented form. By then, the two realized their discovery was actually quite tasty — so tasty that they purchased the rights for the recipe from the governor general and began selling Worcestershire sauce.

These days, according to Old Strand Emporium owner Kyle Albright, very few products are considered too spicy by the condiment-buying public.

When Albright and his wife, Kathy, originally purchased the Galveston retail landmark in 2000 — it’s been around since 1974 — consumers were looking for product labels that included the words “hickory” and “mesquite.”

“Jalapeño was acceptable,” Kyle relates, “but nothing any hotter than that.

“Now the more names of peppers — like serrano or habanero — you can promote on the bottle or jar, the better,” he reveals.

Although like most sauce merchants around, he considers the less-stinging chipotle the most popular condiment ingredient on the market today.

Chili oils as an ingredient in sauces and dressings are also a come-on for consumers, and Strand Emporium does feature Dave’s Gourmet Products out of California, which features many oils that are formulated in the Orient.

But for the most part the Galveston store handles items that are made in Texas.

The Albrights describe Fischer & Wieser, which were featured on these pages a couple of months ago, as a top attraction. The Fredericksburg company is known best for its Raspberry Chipotle Sauce, but the Albrights are also enthusiastic promoters of the Teriyaki Wing Sauce, which works well with beef, pork and chicken. Most recently the line has added its Four Star Provisions — including products like Havana Mojito Glaze, Cilantro Pepito Pesto, Wild Honey Barbecue Sauce and Black Raspberry Chipotle Sauce.

“Hombre Foods is another Hill Country company that does well for us,” reflects Kyle. The star item by that manufacturer has to be the Onion Garlic Chipotle Dip, which the Albrights are quick to explain isn’t limited to dip uses. At their own house, they sprinkle the product on so many baked potatoes and scrambled eggs, there’s rarely a sufficient amount around to make into a dip.

D.L. Jardine’s sauces and salsas are made in relatively small batches in an actual ranch kitchen on an actual ranch in Buda — south of Austin. The Jardine family created a company with a product line made up of the salsas, barbecue sauces and seasonings they had made themselves. The original recipes remain — plus new add-on products — although the Jardines sold the business in 1998. The Albrights have many customers who are faithful fans of the salsas, barbecue sauces (especially the Texas Pecan rendition), hot sauces, olives, Margarita mixes and Bloody Mary mixes. Dedicated customers made such a fuss when owners stopped making Bronco Jalapeno ’N’ Mesquite Mustard that the spicy condiment is back in production.

Closer to home are items confected by John Henry Abercrombie out of Houston. He frequently makes guest appearances at Strand Emporium, where he shows off his famed Nedra’s Hickory Rub that’s applied to meat items several hours before they go in the oven or onto the grill.

Los Tios, which is also Houston-based, lures in the most followers with its Chipotle Ranch Dressing.


Burgers with red relish and herb aioli

Total preparation and cooking

time: 30 minutes

1 1/2 pounds ground beef

4 crusty French rolls, split


1/4 cup diced tomato

2 tablespoons jarred roasted red peppers, rinsed, drained and minced

2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar


1/3 cup mayonnaise

2 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil

2 large cloves garlic, minced


Shaved or shredded Parmesan cheese

Combine relish ingredients in medium bowl; cover and refrigerate until ready to use. Combine aioli ingredients in another medium bowl; cover and refrigerate until ready to use. Lightly shape ground beef into four 3/4-inch patties.

Place patties on grid over medium, ash-covered coals. Grill, uncovered, 13 to 15 minutes to medium (160 F) doneness, until no longer pink in center and juices show no pink color; turning occasionally.

Spread aioli on bottom of each bun; top with burger. Spoon relish evenly over burgers; garnish each burger with Parmesan cheese pieces. Close sandwiches.

Makes 4 servings.

Cook’s Tip: To thinly shave Parmesan use vegetable peeler to pull across the narrow side of cheese block.


Tropical lime glazed shrimp

1 pound extra large or jumbo shrimp, shelled with tails left on

1 red or green bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 large lime, sliced

1/3 cup honey Dijon mustard

1/4 cup mango chutney

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 tablespoons sucralose sugar substitute or light brown sugar

1 teaspoon grated lime peel

Arrange shrimp, pepper and lime slices on soaked wooden skewers. Combine remaining ingredients. Reserve half of sauce for dipping

Grill shrimp over high heat seven minutes or until shrimp are opaque, turning and basing often with remaining sauce.

Makes 4 servings.

Recipe courtesy of French’s Mustard.


Roasted chicken thighs with fall fruit salsa

8 chicken thighs, bone-in and skin-on

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

Fall fruit salsa:

3 ripe pears, coarsely diced

4 ripe plums, coarsely diced

1/4 cup dried cranberries

1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped

1/2 cup red pepper, diced

1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced

3 tablespoons basil, minced

1 teaspoon sugar

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Preheat oven to 375 F. In large bowl, toss chicken thighs, olive oil, paprika, salt and pepper. Place chicken thighs in large roasting pan, skin side down. Roast 20 minutes. Turn thighs over to skin side up; roast an additional 20 minutes or until chicken is browned and cooked through, with an internal temperature of 180 F.

While thighs roast, make fall fruit salsa by combining all ingredients in large bowl. Mix gently and set aside at room temperature. Taste for seasoning and adjust accordingly.

To serve, place thighs on serving platter. Spoon salsa over each thigh; pass remaining salsa at table.

Makes 4 servings.

Nutritional Information, Per Serving: 520 calories; 27 g fat; 6 g saturated fat; 39 g carbohydrate.

Recipe courtesy of the JNA Institute of Culinary Arts of Philadelphia, Pa.


Harvest chicken

6 chicken breast halves, boneless and skinless

2 Granny Smith apples

2 McIntosh apples

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

2 cups unsweetened apple juice, divided

1/4 cup rosemary, chopped

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 shallots, minced

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1/4 cup heavy cream

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

Using a zesting tool, grater or peeling knife, scrape thin strips of peel from apples. Set aside for garnish. Peel any remaining skin from apples, core and cut into a small dice.

In a large saucepan over medium heat, warm vinegar, 1/2 cup apple juice and rosemary. Add diced apples, reduce heat and bring to a simmer; cook 4 to 6 minutes or just until tender. Remove half of apple mixture, place in food processor and puree until smooth. Remove remaining apples from heat and set aside.

In large sauté pan, warm olive oil. Add chicken breast halves and cook, browning each side, about 2 minutes per side. Add shallots and sauté until translucent, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add remaining 11/2 cups apple juice and Dijon mustard. Bring to a simmer and cook 2 to 3 minutes. Add apple puree and apple-vinegar-rosemary mixture to pan. Stir and continue cooking 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in cream, salt and pepper.

Remove chicken breasts and sauce to serving platter. Garnish with apple zest strips.

Makes 6 servings.

Nutritional Information, per serving: 350 calories; 14 g fat; 4 g saturated fat; 26 g carbohydrate.

Recipe courtesy of the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, Pa.


Worcestershire wings

50 chicken wings, wing tips removed

2 (12-ounce) bottles of beer

1 cup molasses

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice

1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce

1/4 cup mustard

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons chili powder

Preheat oven to 450 F. Line a large roasting pan with foil. Cut chicken wings in half at the joint and place wings evenly in roasting pan. In a large, heavy saucepan, combine the beer, molasses, peanut butter, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, salt and chili powder. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes until sauce has reduced and thickened. Pour sauce over chicken wings, tossing to coat each wing. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes. Place wings on a large platter, and sprinkle with chopped parsley. Garnish with lemon slices and serve.

Yield: 15 to 20 servings.

Nick Lindauer

The Original Hot Sauce Blog