Thank you Clarice Plow at Hidden Away but not Forgotten for the wonderful review on the Our Story’s the Celebrities segment!
You can visit www.destinationsmalltown.com for more great content!
Today’s food market is not the market of old. To be sure the old staples are still very prevalent in the local super markets but there has been a huge change.
Specialty foods have literally changed the way we shop. Healthy food habits have precipitated this change and food preferences have changed over the past 50 years. No longer is our diet simply meat and potatoes with serving of vegetables and a glass of water.
Gourmet foods are in great demand as shoppers have expanded their dining and cooking horizons. All natural, gluten free, no MSGs and organic are terms not heard 50 years ago. Precise labeling of nutritional values and ingredients in foods is also a must. This is a result of consumer demand. People want to know what they are putting in their bodies. How it will affect them and their loved ones is of great concern.
And with that great concern comes great power. Super market managers must be very responsive to consumer requests and demands. If they fail to carry popular or requested items, they will fail to maintain the loyalty of the very consumers they need to maintain a viable business.
But one question remains in all of this. Do the consumers realize the power they possess?
It is my contention that many do not. Often times they may look for particular items in their local store and not be able to find them. They either go to another unfamiliar store to find the items they could not find in their local store or they resort to ordering the item online. Both alternatives carry costs to the consumer. To go to another store requires time and money for gas. To shop online once again requires time and often requires the cost of shipping. Both alternatives are not desirable to the loyal shopper.
But, seeking out the store manager, grocery manager or meat manager to ask them to bring certain items into their store is very powerful. First, it tells the manager that you would prefer to buy the item in their store. It tells them too that you are a loyal consumer to their store and would prefer to not have to chase down the item of choice somewhere else. And it may inform the manager of what items are becoming popular or what consumers are trending toward. Everybody wins as the managers are trained to listen to the demands and wants of their customers and to grow the business the customer gets what they want.
Specialty food stores are notorious for listening to their customer base. They are always bringing in requested items for their customers because often enough, other consumers want and need the same items. The staff at these stores are well trained to assist the gourmet consumer in their needs are they are very responsive to product requests. This is one big reason for the rise in popularity of specialty stores.
So the next time you are frustrated because nothing you seek seems to be available, just ask a manger and your frustration just might come to an end. Remember, the power of the gourmet consumer is a powerful thing!
How big is BBQ and what changes are taking place?
There are many BBQ Associations throughout this country and indeed, the world. At the 2014 Kansas City Barbeque Society’s (KCBS) American Royal competition, there were association teams entered from countries like Australia, Germany, Austria, Belgium and Canada.
Though the KCBS is one of the largest organizations, there are many in the United States. The National Barbecue Association, the Mid Atlantic Barbecue Association and the World Barbecue Association are just a few of the others.
These organizations sponsor events nearly every week across the country. The competition is stiff and the cooks are getting brave with their recipes in that they are infusing more heat in the meat! While for many years the sweet savory flavor of BBQ was the preferred presentation of chicken, ribs, pork and brisket, methods used now are including sweat heat for the judges to try. And it is becoming accepted and in some regions, preferred.
But, when you talk about BBQ cooks adding heat to their recipes, it is important to distinguish what kind of heat. Specific hot sauces are used in some BBQ sauces and injections. Chile pepper seasonings are being used in secret rubs and pepper spreads (or pepper jellies) are widely used as a glaze in competition.
The cooks in the BBQ world do not subscribe to adding heat to their recipes just for heat’s sake. There has to be a delicate balance of sweet, heat and savory flavor to “trip the trigger” of BBQ judges in every region of this country. If a cook adds too much heat, judges cannot distinguish between flavor, heat and savory. If the heat is added, with little attention to flavor, the competition team is quickly penalized for their half-hearted effort.
Amateur cooks will most certainly need to seek advice from experts which can include BBQ cooks, BBQ judges, TV BBQ shows, various association members and the personnel at local BBQ specialty stores.
The advice may be comprised of methods to use, products to use and what to use with the different kinds of meats used in competition.
Products can be purchased in some big box stores and chain stores, specialty stores offer an alternative that should be pursued. The personnel at these specialty stores can give great advice on the most popular rubs, sauces and injections being used in the BBQ world. They will know what is selling and what is not. They will also have practical experience as they use many of the products they sell. These stores and their personnel should be used as a resource for the barbeque novice and the experts.
To be sure, the heat is on in the BBQ world. Do some research, buy what works, and you too will be able to produce some BBQ that even the most stringent judge will be happy to give you the perfect score.
That is a question that is being asked by nutritionists, doctors, scientists and even those on their 100th diet!
It is well known that overweight people suffer many health anomalies such as Diabetes, respiratory problems, circulation and just plain feeling miserable in their overweight condition. It is also well known that all habitual dieters are continually looking for better foods conducive to a better quality of life. The secret may just be found in spicy foods made from all kinds of chili peppers.
In a recent articles citing the release of a very long study by Peking University Health Science Center in Beijing, Sky News and The New York Times site the study that analyzed the food habits and health details of nearly half a million Chinese people.
They found those who ate spicy food six or seven days a week had a 14% reduced risk of dying compared with people who ate it less than once a week.
Eating spicy food was also associated with a lower risk of death from cancer, heart disease and respiratory illnesses.
The results of the study is well in line with previous evidence on the health benefits of spicy foods. The study authors said capsaicin is the main active component of chili pepper. Spicy foods speed up your metabolism through the release of natural endorphins.
Its qualities have been extensively reported in relation to anti-obesity, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, and anti-hypertensive effects. In addition to this, the antimicrobial function of spices, including chili pepper, has long been recognized.
If you are not already a hot food lover, fear not. This can be an acquired taste. I was once not a spicy food lover. But over time, the more I ate, the more I became addicted to the endorphin rush. Once you get used to spicy food, you will find that you use chili peppers and seasonings in more and more of your recipes.
There is no doubt that there are millions of “Chili Heads” in the United States. The overriding reason for this is not only the change from a boring meat and potatoes meal to a more unusual and spicy meal with more character, but it is undoubtedly because of the health benefits.
How do people get their spicy foods? Some can be found at local chain stores but “Chili Heads” are shopping at fiery food specialty stores staffed with personnel who know and understand the chili pepper world and have knowledge of the most popular products. The selections at these stores will give you many alternatives for future healthy meals.
There is no question that spicy foods have been discovered and are an ever increasing ingredient to dishes of all kinds but, as the study above indicates, eating spicy foods is a healthy choice! For those seeking help with their diet, you may find this to be the final answer and live longer indeed!
The other day I decided to smoke some mushrooms. Not just any mushrooms.
I first went to the local grocery store to pick up some good sized mushrooms, some spray butter and Havarti cheese. I then stopped at my local specialty store to obtain some Hickory and Apple wood and some Chipotle seasoning.
I went home to make some of the most delectable mushrooms ever. After cleaning the mushrooms, I simply snapped out the stems. This is very easy if you snap them out quickly. I held the mushroom in the palm of one hand and then pushed the stem to one side or the other with fingers from my other hand.
Then I sprayed the mushrooms with the butter to create a base on which to hold the seasoning. After the Chipotle seasoning was applied on the inside and outside of the mushrooms, I inserted ¾ by ¾ inch pieces of the Havarti cheese in the cavity. All of my mushrooms were put onto an open cookie sheet for quick selection when putting them in the smoker.
I fired up my Weber smoker with lump charcoal and brought it up to my desired temperature of 225 degrees. I placed my mushrooms on the grate, placed my hickory and apple chunks into my fire box, closed the lid and let them begin to smoke.
It didn’t take but 12 minutes at 225 degrees and I was able to pull out some very delectable and savory mushrooms. They still had some crunch to them, they were hot and the cheese had melted quite nicely in the stem cavity. The flavor was phenomenal! What a great appetizer and it really doesn’t take that long. And, with a decent sized smoker, you can make a lot of them.
Where did I get this recipe? Well, it was during a barbeque event that I attended. I tasted some very awesome mushrooms, too good to not ask how they were made. The barbeque cook was more than willing to share his recipe. Not all, but many barbeque cooks, will share their recipes with you if you just ask. They get a kick out of helping even the most novice of cooks get started in the world of barbeque. This is how barbeque is taking over the country. The sharing of recipes and the pure joy of the cooking experience.
Where can you get recipes? This question comes up from time to time. Answers can come from barbeque recipe books, a lot of expensive trial and error or, most generally, by talking to expert BBQ cooks or other knowledgeable folks in the art of smoking and barbequing. For example, ask personnel in specialty stores that have the supplies you need once you determine what it is you would like to cook. They have the rubs, supplies and woods that big box stores or local grocery stores do not. They also have a network of barbequers willing to share secrets and they have practical experience and recipes to share as well.
Let the chase for new, unusual, fun and great recipes begin!
It is often asked, “How should I do my barbeque, grill or smoke?”
Well, it all depends are what you are into. Looking for a quick meal with not much preparation, many choose the quick cook of a natural gas or LP gas grill. They heat up fast, the heat is relatively easy to regulate and they can produce a quality meal in a short period of time.
There are many gas grills to choose from. Those made by well-known manufacturers and some made by manufacturers not so well known. The features of a gas grill will vary depending upon the manufacturer, the desired features and the price. Grills can be simple with no bells and whistles or they can be complicated with side burners, sear burners, automatic start buttons and lights and so on.
People buying a gas grill for the first time will do well to first decide on what features are important to them and then shop and compare for features and price. This is not a decision to be made lightly.
Charcoal grills, pellet smokers and wood smokers offer a variety of cooking results and a variety of time requirements.
Charcoal grills offer a great barbeque flavor for any kind of product, meat, fish or other dishes. They do however require a bit more time to fire up and managing the heat requires practice to become proficient. These come in all sizes with various options so, once again, features and price must be considered when looking at charcoal grills.
Pellet smokers allow for some awesome cooking with a great allowance for time management. You can set the temperature to the desired heat level and manage the internal temperature of the food product with outstanding accuracy. These smokers also come in various sizes offered be several manufacturers and the price points will vary. Research is advised when contemplating the purchase of a pellet smoker.
Wood burners, or stick burners, are a completely different story. Though the most fun for avid cookers and barbeque chefs, they are not an exact science. The temperature has to be watched as you will have to monitor the air flow and fuel burn to maintain a constant temperature. Competition smokers offer some interesting features and there are literally hundreds to choose from. But when you turn out an excellent meal with this type of cooker by watching over the entire cook, the result can be unmatched satisfaction.
Though you can buy these products at big box stores and chain stores, specialty stores offer an alternative that should be pursued. The personnel at these specialty stores can give great advice on gas grills, charcoal grills, pellet smokers and stick burners as this is there field of expertise. These stores and their personnel should be used as a resource for the barbeque novice and the experts.
For success with barbeque on your deck instead of in the kitchen, do some research and you decide, SMOKE OR GRILL?
Since the early 1990’s, after moving out of Omaha to acreages in Washington County, Nebraska, two brothers, Tim & Shawn, began their food production journey by making salsa. Using fresh ingredients from their gardens, they experimented with various combinations of tomatoes, peppers, onions, garlic and many spices to create several outstanding flavor profiles.
In the mid-1990’s, the brothers began to share their concoctions with family and friends. The recipes continued to improve. Like many entrepreneurs, the brothers continued to get suggestions from family, friends and business associates that they should bring their recipes to market. After much contemplation, the two brothers, both of whom have a passion for great food with heat, started Chili Dawg’s Foods of Fire. Chili Dawg’s Foods of Fire was incorporated on their father Arthur’s birthday, November 30, 2005.
Though the salsa recipes are outstanding and very unique, the brothers will not compromise on the quality of the recipes by using inferior tomatoes. Due to difficulties in finding a year-around source for fresh tomatoes and some other special ingredients for their brand of salsa, they are delaying introduction of their salsa to the market until all quality conditions are met.
During the same time, however, they also began making Habanero pepper spreads using the Habaneros grown in their gardens. They began with an apple lemon blend called Hablemeno, (hob-la-mean-o). They now have eight spreads that are becoming favorites to use in the barbeque world during competitions. They are most popular for entertaining at parties and tailgates.
Their very popular habanero pepper spreads are referred to as “Sweet Before the Heat.”
The spreads are not just jellies, jams or preserves, they are much more versatile. These pepper spreads are used to spice up and put a zing in Hors d’oeuvres, toast, bagels, crackers, snacks, and fish and meat dishes. The possibilities are endless. The “Sweet Before the Heat” gives the consumer a very unusual combination of flavor and heat. The flavors are very robust and they are very successful in the BBQ markets.
They are now selling their Habanero pepper spreads and seasonings nationwide.
They have created not only fantastic pepper spreads but they also have a line of chile pepper rubs. Based upon customer demand, they have recently added jerky to their product offerings.
Innovation is the key to great products and the company continues to grow because of that focus. Their slogan, “We Put the Eat in Heat” explains this focus. Great tasting food with just the right amount of heat is always the goal.
Due to the success of the entire product line, the brothers opened a retail location in Blair, Nebraska on August 1, 2014 where they sell their products, products from all over the country, and all kinds of barbeque supplies as well.
When using Chili Dawg’s products with any dish, “your imagination is your only limitation.”
It has been a long while since our last post. No excuse for this other than we have been “crazy” busy in building our market presence in the Midwest. We are in many states, many stores and in a myriad of specialty stores.
We have introduced more Habanero pepper spreads with our newest, Habacherry” to hit the market soon. We have introduced a line of Chile pepper seasonings (our latest is Green Ghost) and even an outstanding DawgHouse Fiery Beef Jerky.
And our greatest accomplishment to date is our Fiery Foods Store opened in August of last year. It is a store that carries spicy foods from all over the country, things that cannot be found in our area. It also serves as the BBQ headquarters for Blair, Nebraska.
In our effort to increase our sales area we neglected our blog. No more. Please visit us frequently now as we are beginning a rebirth of our social media efforts. Look for some fun stuff to come.