I have always been a fan of spicy foods whether it be salsa, chili, ramen, or any other food that can be made spicy (which is pretty much anything). But I began my path to Chile Head just a few years ago.
It was about 4 years ago, when my wife, our oldest daughter (Penny wasn't born yet) and I were driving from Maryland to California. As I am sure most of our readers know by now I am in the military. We were PCSing (Permanent Change of Station) - That's the fancy military acronym for moving to a new duty station.
We had made a stop for a few days in Nebraska to visit one of Jackie's sisters. While there we had stopped at a store for something (the reason now escapes me). In the parking lot of the store was a very small building that touted home made beef jerky. We had to stop. No questions asked.
It was a cute a little shop with tons of decorations including an old tank round (diffused of course) sitting by the entry door. I asked him what he had that was spicy. He suggested the Ghost Pepper Jerky. At the time I had no idea what a ghost pepper was but I went for it.
This jerky was so hot to me at the time that it almost wasn't even enjoyable to eat. That was my first experience with a chili pepper that was in the super-hot range. Now that I look back I realize that, at the time, this was the world record hottest pepper as verified by the Guinness Book of World Records.
2 or 3 years later, one of our good friends was talking about his prize winning "Hottest Chili" which contained Carolina Reapers. The thought of another pepper that was hotter than the ghost pepper (also known as Bhut Jalokia) was terrifying. The Carolina Reaper was, and still is, the current world record holder (though many believe that it will be dethroned by the Chocolate Bhutlah or the Chocolate Brain Strain once they have been officially tested).
That was then, this is now...
Since then I have become fond of super-hot pepper varieties. Now, I am even growing my own. Tonight I made burgers for the family and couldn't resist adding some chopped ghost peppers into mine. There is nothing like the feeling of the an insanely intense burn. Especially from the super-hots. Your mouth ignites, sometimes slowly, until every taste bud on your tongue is screaming in agony, and that's only in the first few bites. Soon you break into a sweat as the burn becomes more and more intense. It becomes a test of self control, pain tolerance, and eventually, intestinal fortitude. The endorphin rush that follows eating a super-hot chili pepper is certainly an intense one. It will literally produce a sense of euphoria as your brain tries to control the fight or flight reaction. Its an amazing, almost enlightening, experience.
(My wife would like you to know that I am crazy, but she puts up with me. More sane people will generally find that a little of these super hot chiles used as an ingredient will be much more palatable than a straight bite!)
The love that I have developed for really spicy food lead to a literal dance of joy when I found out that I was going to get to review a pepper sauce that combined a good solid heat with an emphasis on taste using a traditional family recipe for 'peppa' sauce.
The creator of Trini Pepper Sauce, Mustafa Mannan, has been eating this sauce his entire life. For five generations his family has been perfecting this recipe in Trinidad and Tobago. The combination of peppers that are used in this sauce, the Scotch Bonnet and Trinidad Scorpion, are native to the small, Caribbean island. They grown in a hot, tropical climate and produce some very intense heat.
To give an example of the level of heat in these peppers, we can take a look at the Scoville Scale. This is a rating given to peppers based on several factors including the concentration of a chemical called Capsicum or more commonly knows as Capsaicin. This is the chemical found in peppers that make them spicy. A jalapeno pepper, which most of us are familiar with, falls in the 2,500 - 5,000 SHU (Scoville Heat Units) range. Meanwhile the Scotch Bonnet hits a modest 100,000 - 325,000 SHU (which is just shy of the Habanero). Then in comes the Trinidad Scorpion at a deafening 800,000 - 1,000,000 SHU. Thats some serious heat!!!
Trini Pepper Sauce combines the fury and intensity of the Scotch Bonnet and Trinidad Scorpion peppers with fresh fruits, herbs, vegetables, and vinegar to create a truly amazing experience.
The sauce has just the right ratio of flavor to heat. Right out of the gate you'll notice quite a decent burn. The sweet flavor of papaya combined with salty herbs follows shortly after.
Then the heat intensifies.
Over the course of about 5 minutes the heat level will peak and begin to fall. The combination of flavor and heat is definitely one that everyone should experience at some point in their life.
I am honestly humbled by the opportunity to try something that was a family secret for so many years.
Mustafa brings the taste and heat of Trinidad and Tobago to your table in a truly delicious sauce.
Trini Pepper Sauce is currently on Kickstarter with the hope of gaining enough of a backing to begin mass production of this artisan sauce - and they're offering some great deals on both sauces and swag in exchange for your support.
They are seeking 15K total by October 29th, and as of today I see they are only about 3K short of that goal.
If you enjoy quality hot sauces that are clearly made with love, I strongly recommend you go help them out - the sauces are expected to ship in November.
Short of an actual trip to Trinidad and Tobago, I think this is your best shot at getting a taste of this delightful tradition.
But, what's a pepper sauce review without a recipe to use it with? Try this one on for size!
Trini Pepper Sauce Shrimp with Fried ZucchiniThough you can use Trini Pepper Sauce just as you would with any off-the-shelf hot sauce, here is an insanely easy recipe to incorporate the flavor and heat of Trini Pepper Sauce with a simple, yet perfectly pleasing meal. I will give you fair warning though: This recipe is not for the faint of heart. It definitely has a level of spice that will challenge most of our audience.
But don't let that scare you. Capsaicin can, in no way, physically harm you. For those of you that may be used to consuming spicy foods, you should definitely give this one a try. And of course, you can use less of the pepper sauce, working up until you find your preferred amount.
Here's what you'll need:
1lb Jumbo Shrimp, shelled, deveined, tail off (I used cooked, but raw is fine)
1 Zucchini, thinly sliced
2 cloves Garlic, minced
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
2 Green Onions, chopped
Salt and Pepper to taste
2/3 Bottle Trini Pepper sauce (non-crazy people can use a couple shakes, and taste before adding more)
Preheat your frying pan with 1 Tbsp olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp, half of your minced garlic, and the chopped green onion. Stir and cook until the moisture from the shrimp is about half gone. Add half of your Trini Pepper sauce and the juice from your lime and continue to cook.
In a second pan preheated over medium high heat with 1 Tbsp olive oil, add your zucchini slices in a single layer along with the remaining garlic. Cook your zucchini until the center starts to look translucent and you can see the seeds more clearly then turn (about 3 or 4 minutes). Cook for an additional 3 minutes, salt and pepper to taste, and then remove from the pan.
In addition, I used a pre-packaged pasta side for ease and speed of preparation, and made that up while the zucchini was cooking.
Once the shrimp is fully cooked remove from pan to a bowl. Pour in the rest of your Trini Pepper Sauce and toss to coat evenly.
This dish took me roughly 30 minutes to put together and was absolutely perfect. Trini Pepper Sauce is truly one of the greats. This is one I will definitely continue to buy in the future as it becomes more widely available!
You can check out Trini Pepper Sauce at any of the links below. And, until next time, burn on!