Posted September 16, 2005 by Adam in Reviews

Review: Big Daddy Jake’s Mango Habanero Jelly

How many bites does it take to make Adam run, screaming, to the fridge for milk? And the answer is one. Admittedly, this is a mixed review for the Big Daddy Jake’s Mango Habanero Jelly, one which may be due to my ignorance or intolerance. I’m not sure which. I have been debating which way to run the review for the past week or so, and it still is just not crystalized in my head.

Mango Habanero Jelly is made by Big Daddy Jake’s, the manufacturers of one of my new favorite hot sauces, the Texas Pit Smoked Hot Sauce. The ingredients list is what you might expect for a jelly: mango juice and pulp, gelatin, and fresh habanero peppers. The color is a light orange, and the texture is similar to that of orange marmalade.

“Hmm, the habaneros are last on the list of ingredients. This shouldn’t be bad at all,” I quipped

I really do love spicy jellies, jams, and sweets, and I was really looking forward to trying BDJ’s Jelly. My first application of this jelly was on a piece of toast. It sounded logical. Jelly … toast … breakfast, right?

I spread a thin layer of jelly on the toast, sat down, and took a bite. The flavor of the mango hit me first. It was bright and tart, very exhilirating. Two seconds later, the habaneros hit me in the face with a Mike Tyson knockout punch. I did the whole “breathing-through-the-mouth” thing, as if that would ever help, and I started making those horking sounds we make when something is burning the tonsils right out of our throats. Yes, it was milk time.

Said TheWife, “Weren’t you the same guy that just said ‘this should’t be bad at all.'” She mocked my pain.

“Why don’t you try a bite, pumpkin?” I said, gulping milk and horking.

“Hell no, I’m not stupid.”

I’m sad to say that I could not finish my toast. I just couldn’t taste the flavor of the mangos and the toast through the fire of the habaneros.

I was stumped. This just couldn’t be the end of my Mango Habanero experience; I had come to far to give up. Not yet defeated, I went to the drawing board for some inspiration for some other application of this jelly.

Glaze … YES! Glaze! I’ll glaze some pork chops with the jelly and grill ’em. So the other night I fired up the grill and made a nice brush-on glaze for some boneless pork loin chops.

– 1/4 Cup Green Bell Pepper
– 1/4 Cup White Onion
– 1/2 Cup Big Daddy Jake’s Mango Habanero Jelly
– 1/2 Cup Peach Jam or Jelly
– Olive oil

Mince the onion and bell pepper, and sautee them in olive oil until very very soft. Mix in the jellies and simmer until the sauce is thick enough to be brushed onto meat. When the meat is almost done, liberally brush the glaze on each side of the chop. Remove and plate up.

A strange thing ocurred when I served this to my Mother-in-Law and TheWife. They said, “I thought this was supposed to be spicy. I don’t taste the heat at all.”

WHAT? I nearly burned my face off of a piece of jellied-up toast, and you’re getting cocky on me? But it was true. The glaze had nearly zero spice whatsoever. This must be some sort of magic jelly, able to kick ass only when it wants to.

So I went back to the toast test. Made the toast, spreaded on the toast, and took a bite. Then came the heat. Everyone laughed.

I suppose the addition of the peach jam in the glaze really mellowed things out for the mango habanero. But I’m still not one-hundred percent happy here.

Big Daddy Jake’s Mango Habanero Jelly is a wonderfully tart jelly that kicks butt with the addition of habaneros. On plain toast or bagels and such I think the heat is a little too much. I want my breakfast toast to be soothing and energizing not something to be retarded with asbestos. I will say that there are probably a myriad of other uses for this jelly, one of which is glazes and sauces. If you are making a nice glaze for ham, this would be a perfect addtion. Or possibly this would go well for making General Tso’s chicken or Sesame Chicken.

So my verdict is this. By itself? No. Mixed with other foods? Yes, and how.

Rating: 5 out of 10 chiles.