Today is another special day for everyone, provided you enjoy seeing me in the throes of discomfort. I get to run my guts through the mill working on 3 posts for one day, and if time allows, I’ll be doing a video for an ultra-hot chile for our YouTube channel, but we’ll talk about that one later. Today I get to have a little moral pain by being tasked with the undesirable job of passing judgement on a young child, namely Jordan Brenner. Not so much the kid himself, but on this budding entrepreneurs Kickstarter launch in to the hot sauce business with assistance from his parents.
The Executive Chef for the company is his Dad and all the label work was done by his mother, so I guess in some sense, I’m being asked to judge the whole family. From what I’ve read of their growth in the industry, it sounds like they took measures to get good objective opinions before their launch, and so there’s a reasonable chance that I’ll only have to play Judge and jury today, and not executioner. Time to dig in to their first sauce, rumored to be the more mild of the trio, the Strawberry Habanero, and see what we’ve got here.
First let’s talk about the Strawberry component. It’s honestly an ingredient that is readily available to nearly everyone in the U.S., but is fairly rarely used in the fiery foods industry. Thinking about it, I’m actually a bit surprised at this point to not have come across it before, considering that things like homemade strawberry jelly and jalapeno and habanero jelly are pretty much a mainstay of festival booths across Texas, you would think at some point someone would have thought to put them together, but no. Maybe it was Jordan’s love of hot food and PB&J that just made this a no-brainer, but kudos to them for doing an easily executable outside of the box idea that makes them stand out in the crowd a bit. For the curious at heart, here’s what we’re eating today: Cider vinegar, Strawberries, Habanero Chiles, Water, Tomatoes, Agave Syrup, Onion, Garlic, Carrots, Kosher Salt, Cilantro, Spices, and Natural Strawberry Flavor.
The general color and texture of this sauce is fairly unassuming, with a medium thickness and a muted red-orange with flecks of green, white and red evenly throughout. There’s no telltale clues of strawberry within at this point, so let’s crack the bottle open. While the most noticeable part of the aroma of this sauce is the tartness from the vinegar and the pungent aromas of chiles, onion and garlic, there exists that telltale scent of sweetened strawberries, and almost comes across as if someone stirred together a mix of Smucker’s and Sriracha. Based on aroma, I’m squarely in the interested category now for what this is going to taste like.
The sauce goes through a few steps of being a little sweet for a second and then a wave of savory and spicy that eventually, and then the spicy weans off. We find ourselves a bit in the good news/bad news category here. The good news here is that even though they are using one of the more acidic varieties of vinegar as their largest volume ingredient, there isn’t an abrasive flavor from the vinegar, and the strawberry aspects of this blend well with the habanero for an overall fruit flavor. The bad news is, the sweet smell of strawberry jam doesn’t stand out as strongly once the sauce is on the tongue. You still get a taste of strawberry, but you’re brain gets ready for a sort of sweet and spicy trip with some savory in it after smelling the sauce, and instead you get a savory and spicy trip with a bit of sweet in it. It doesn’t make the sauce bad, it just does a more traditional hot sauce flavor trip than you would think. I’ll give this sauce a strong Mild rating, and where it falls in the mild area seems to move based on each spoonful, and I’ll give it a Nice rating. If you’re a fan of habaneros, you’ll enjoy this one, and I’m sort of interested in toying with this sauce now and seeing if I matched it up more with a sweeter representation of strawberries that it might not just be the next greatest ingredient to add to a strawberry rhubarb pie.