Posted March 5, 2007 by Ron Levi in Reviews

Review: Chuk Hell’s Magic Blend #2

I guess today is my lucky day. Worked my butt off; sold a ton of sauce and I have a nice big plate of left-over barbecue to eat for dinner. Thanks to Nick, I also have a few sauces to review. Off to the TBR (to be reviewed) Shelf to see what looks good. OMG what the “Hell” is this? Looks like today’s sauce du jour is Chuk Hell’s Magic Blend #2 Roasted Habanero Sauce w/ Whiskey, Honey & Ginger

Chuk Hell's Magic Blend

Initial Impression: TERROR. Nick, is this a joke. I am afraid, very afraid. So many evil thought are running uncontrollably through my head. This is obviously not professionally packed. As another chilling wave of fear runs down my spine, the following thoughts occur to me; was the produce properly cleaned, jars sanitized, temps reached. What was the pH? Will I get botulism, e coli, or salmonella? OH Lord why did he send me this”¦.Have the chili-gods forsaken me?

Ingredients: Habaneros, garlic, onion, carrots, lime juice, ginger, whiskey, honey, apple cider vinegar, salt, black pepper.

Ok so dramatics aside, this is a pretty nice list of ingredients. Since it is clearly homemade I did not expect I would find any preservatives or related nasty chemically engineered ingredients

Appearance: Where do I start? From the top I guess. The top is a standard jelly jar home canning doodad. What makes this one special is that there is a blurry picture of John Holmes roughly cut out and stuck on top. I think this picture was taken during his pre-porn days.

In place of an actual label there is a heavy paper tag. The limited information on the tag is clear and concise, however, being a label reader I felt a little lost without the nutritional data. On the bright side the tag is held on with some kind of leather hillbilly handcuff. I gave it to my kids; who tied it to the end of a stick and are outside gigging toads with it.

Chuk Hell's Magic Blend

So now we get to the inside; the sauce is nice and thick and pretty smooth. I see the occasional seed and little flecks of black pepper or chile roast, I am intrigued. But wait, is this the deal killer? I found a tiny hair in the sauce. Initially I thought I may have dropped an eyelash into it, but when I got the hair out I realized it was half black and half white, with a tiny black tip on the white side; most likely a dog hair. At this point I really considered abandoning the review. I continued stirring the sauce around with my spoon rationalizing the potential review. It occurred to me that the lid was really hard to get off, and it made a loud sucking noise telling me that there was a vacuum. To get to that point there must have been enough heat to kill any bacteria, and there is whiskey in it. Oh what the hell; I survived Taco Bell’s cilantro, and Salinas’s spinach. I doubt a little hot sauce will kill me. Let’s go on for the sake of the review!

Aroma: Yeeehhaaw! Get a snoot full of this stuff; it hits your nose with a wallop! The fumes coming from this little jar rivals those of the finest prison wine ever made. I can’t believe the intensity of the vapors, I cough with every sniff. It is very fruity with the whiskey being the dominant scent. I can’t smell much else; perhaps it needs to breathe?

Right from the jar, I tried a small amount with the spoon. Considering the smell, I expected the whiskey to take over but that was not the case here. The lime stood up to be the dominant flavor, followed by the honey and ginger. This is a very sweet and tangy sauce, with its moderate heat, the citrus is the defiantly the star with the whiskey flavor coming out in the finish.

Chuk Hell's Magic Blend

The Food Test: Based on the ingredients I knew BBQ would be the right choice to test this sauce. Since the heat was moderate I figured it would make a decent BBQ sauce. I was seriously impressed with the way this sauce tasted on food. It has a richness that blended extremely well with the smoky BBQ’d meat. The whiskey came through a little sooner and the citrus cut through the rich smoky meat flavors. This is a standout that I did not expect. I proceeded to slather my ribs and tri-tip with magic blend #2. It was a truly unique and delicious sauce experience.

Chuk Hell’s Magic Blend #2 tastes out of this world on barbecue. While I do have some serious reservations about the packaging, and sanitation; that does not discount the fact that it is delicious. Even though fear was a constant shadow in the testing of this magical concoction; I emerged the next morning unscathed. Besides, what kind of a magic potion would it be without a little hair of the dog? I think this sauce is a winner. If you like a sweet, citrusy habanero sauce with moderate heat, you would love Chuk Hells Magic Blend #2. Packaged professionally and I would be a regular customer.

Packaging 2/10 ““ Homemade Appearance
Aroma 3/10 ““ Overpowering
Appearance 9/10 ““ Thick, smooth
Taste 10/10 ““ Sweet & Tangy
Heat 6/10 ““ Moderately Hot

Overall 6/10

Ron Levi