June 21st, 2021

All About Hot Sauce

Posted in Sauce, Tips

With All the Hot Sauce Americans Consume, It’s Good to Know Hot It’s Made

Hot Sauce How To

Let’s face it, Americans love hot sauce. If you’ve ever thought otherwise, simply wander through the condiment aisle of your local market.

It doesn’t matter if it’s a national chain or a local mom and pop, you’re bound to find dozens of brands and flavors. In fact, Fortune Business Insights predicts the hot sauce market will be worth 3.77 billion in 2026! That’s a staggering number, making it truly a hot commodity (get it?).

So, whether you’re a sriracha-holic, a gochujang trend-setter, or a Tabasco purist, we can all agree hot sauce is just tops. And if you’re thinking otherwise, I’ll remind you buffalo is technically a hot sauce too. Got you there, didn’t I?

With all that in mind, let’s get a better idea of how hot sauce is made.

Hot Sauce 101

Pepper Power

Hot Sauce 101

When it comes to hot sauces, it all starts with the pepper. Sure, it seems obvious, but the flavor of the sauce is dictated by the type, quality, and ripeness of the chile you use. And with over 4,000 types worldwide, you have plenty of options.

Once the pepper has been picked, the stems are removed, and the pepper is washed thoroughly. They are then mashed, chopped, or ground in preparation for the next step.

In This Case, Be Salty

Salty

Now that a clean pepper mash has been created, it’s time to bring out the chili’s natural depth of flavor and assist in preservation. This is accomplished by adding salt in a concentration of 15-20% (or higher in some cases), thus beginning the fermentation stage.

Remember two things: a higher salt concentration means a longer fermentation but a cleaner flavor, whereas a salt concentration under 9% allows for a faster malolactic fermentation (like in wine), but it creates an unpleasant flavor in pepper-based sauces. Choose wisely.

The salted mash is placed in a breathable covered container and agitated (shaken or stirred) periodically. Fermentation times vary by sauce type and batch size anywhere from 15 days to 6 months.

Once desired fermentation is achieved, peppers may be further processed and strained as desired to remove seeds and fibers leaving only a soft, fermented pulp.

Acid Trip

Vinegar

Now it’s time for some acid. Most hot sauces use vinegar in this step. Not only does the vinegar add to the flavor, but it also helps protect the sauce from spoilage. The high salt and acid ratios mean many hot sauces are entirely shelf stable.

At this point you can start tweaking the final flavor of the sauce. The addition of other flavorings like onions, garlic, or even fruits, can add water activity to the sauce, reducing its shelf-life. Remember, even a small amount of water can take a hot sauce from safe to dangerous.

Keep it Safe

Hot to make hot sauce

Hot sauces, regardless of their salt and acid levels, should always be placed in sanitized jars with tightly closing lids that can be submerged in boiling water until the internal temperature reaches 185 degrees Fahrenheit. The jar should then be cooled and stored appropriately.

Whether it’s happening in the back of house at a restaurant or in a commercial bottling facility, these rules should be strictly adhered to for consumer safety.

Unfortunately, more delicate flavors like cilantro can be degraded in the heating step. But you can always add natural oils to help keep these flavors bright.

It’s a Pleasure to Burn!

Hope this little lesson in hot sauce production taught you something interesting. If not, hopefully it just made you want to go splash some spicy pepper liquid onto your menu. Either way, hot sauce is boss, and it will be for a very long time.

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June 7th, 2021

Global Flavors Showcase – Chicken Wings

Posted in Consumer Trends, Food Trends

Chicken Wings Offer Easy, Safe Way to Explore Global Flavors

Global flavors

Looking to showcase some new global flavors? There’s not better vehicle than chicken wings.

Fried chicken continues its reign in 2021 and with a rise in global flavor interest, it’s a match made in heaven. It offers a familiar way for consumers to try new flavors without a large investment. This style of safe exploration is exactly what’s needed to bring new flavors to market.

Plus, for back-of-house all it means is a new sauce, making it safe for bottom lines as well. Whether as an LTO or a new lineup launch, global sauces provide excellent opportunities to extend menus into popular trends with minimal investment.

Here are some of the popular wing flavors for 2021.

Global Flavors Give Chicken Wings Lift

Mediterranean

Global Flavors

Mediterranean flavors from places like Lebanon, Greece, and Morocco continue to grow in interest. Not only because of their bright, vivid flavors and colors, but also because of their perceived health benefits.

Luckily, these flavors are also perfect for chicken wings. Capitalize on the flavor and Med. diet trends with unique flavors like spicy harissa, aromatic shawarma, and Greek ladolemono (aromatic lemon sauce).

On chicken wings alone these flavors break through the norm and create buzzworthy items customers are sure to line up for. Top them with a specialty garnish like chives, basil, or mint and you can easily elevate them to a whole new scale of interest.

Authentic Mexican

Chicken Wing trends

Consumers are starting to recognize the difference between Mexican American and traditional Mexican cuisine. This is great for flavorists, as it offers an opportunity to explore new ingredients and sauces.

Particular among these is adobo sauce. Made with ancho and guajillo peppers, it balances a tangy base with smoke and a medium warmth that’s safe for all types of diners. Brighten it up with a spritz of fresh lime juice or chopped cilantro for an aromatic balance.

Other authentic Mexican flavors coming up include various moles (rich, aromatic blends of fruits, chilies, and spices) and Veracruz sauce, a briny combination of tomatoes, garlic, and capers.

Asian American Influence

Global Chicken Wings

Finally, we must talk about Asian sauces. 2019 and 2020 saw the rise of gochujang in the form of Korean BBQ sauce. This opened up a whole new level of interesting, umami packed sauces piquing consumer’s interest. Flavors like Szechuan Chili Crisp and XO Sauce are finding their way onto menus nationally, but these are still at the very beginning of recognition.

The comfort food trend has, however, reinvigorated interest in classic Asian American flavors like General Tso’s, Kung Pao, and Sesame chicken. These rich, flavorful sauces are absolutely perfect for chicken wings and guaranteed crowd pleasures.

Each can be easily tweaked to add a touch of heat or burst of aromatics without needing to add extra ingredients or drop steps. They’re the restaurants best friends and the consumer’s new favorite.

These Wing Trends Are Hot!

But not all of them are spicy. So, no matter your audience, use global flavors to excite existing consumers and bring in new ones. Trends change fast, so act now to get on top of things.

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