Welcome, folks, to another edition of Fiery Friday! While I normally wind up review sauces and salsas, I do occasionally have the pleasure of tackling a dry product. Today’s subject, Fri-B-Que‘s very own seasoning, is one such product. Long-time readers may recall that my buddy David reviewed the company’s sauce earlier this year, and he seemed pretty pleased with it. Well, I’m hoping that the seasoning measures up to that sauce, and also delivers on the label’s promise of “A kick in the throat every time.”
Lemon Peel, Chili Pepper, Garlic and Other Spices, Brown Sugar, Paprika, Salt
It’s really interesting to see the lemon peel as the first ingredient, and it leads me to suspect that this blend will have a bit of a zesty flavor to it. I do tend to enjoy seasonings that incorporate a balanced amount of spice and brown sugar, so I’m also looking forward to that. I’m wondering exactly what sort of pepper is in here, but seeing as how this stuff is from New Mexico, I do have some hopes.
In terms of visual aesthetic, there’s nothing really unique separating this from a lot of other spice blends on the market. It has that same rusty hue that we’ve come to expect out of a blend of brown sugar and chili powder. A few quick shakes, though, and it becomes clear that this blend isn’t entirely homogeneous. There are chunks of something – the lemon peel, perhaps – that are noticeably larger than the rest of the mixture. Everything fits through the five shaker holes just fine, though.
Smell and Taste:
The strongest smell I get is the brown sugar, which I find a little surprising. My nose usually detects garlic before most other things, but the scent here is more sweet than anything else. The flavor, though, is closer to what I predicted earlier. It’s got that citrus tang, though not overly so, backed up by a a somewhat smokey chili flavor. This is an interesting combination, to say the least.
The most impressive part about this seasoning is the heat. After going a few rounds with Fri-B-Que, I probably do have some bruises on my throat, not to mention some scorch marks. You won’t feel it immediately, but the heat kicks in moments later, and really ratchets up after a few bites (or licks – I’m eating right out of my hand here). Honestly, if it were only slightly hotter, it would be reaching into the upper realms of our heat ratings, but it’s just enough for a Mean. The flavor is equally awesome. The overall flavor, though certainly reminiscent of a few of its ingredients, is not completely dominated by any one thing, leading to a Notable blend of zestiness, sweetness, and good old-fashioned heat. I seriously love this stuff.
Even better is the minute role the salt plays. It may enhance the flavor, but it isn’t noticeable at all (and a serving doesn’t even register on the daily recommended value for sodium), making this the perfect seasoning for people who don’t like very salty blends. It’s a near-perfect table seasoning, and will probably go well on just about anything. I’ve tried it on steak, and that works phenomenally. Tonight I’ll be having it on a burger and some sweet potato fries. I bet it will be great there, too. I may need to get a second one just to carry with me to restaurants.
Fri-B-Que Seasoning has a really unassuming black and white label, but don’t let that throw you off. This stuff just goes to show you that you don’t need colorful labels, cartoon characters, and punny names to make a great product.