Joe’s been friends with Jed for a long time. Seen in the pic here, Jed (a.k.a. John McClure) was indeed one of Joe’s first friends he made in Lexington during his long-ago move from New Orleans, LA to Lexington, KY. As a friend, former roommate, and fellow Miskatonic Student Union alumnus, we shared a lot of common interests. Although we don’t live anywhere close to each other anymore, Jed lets us know how he’s doing from time to time up in the concrete jungle of NYC.
Some time ago, Jed wrote to tell us that his father made his own hot sauce and wanted us to try some of it. With little hesitation, we gladly accepted his offer. Jack McClure (a.k.a. Captain Jack) had this to say about his sauce creations:
“There are 2 sauces there. the one labled Batch 9 is in fact:
“Captain Jack’s Pyrate Sauce- “It Goes Down Fighting!” is the slogan.”
“The other is Blazing Camel was created for the restartaunt Helios in Lexington as label notes. I made it to let my daughter Clay’s mix of patrons (either Mid-Eastern or Hillbilly) make their harissa as hot as they liked when they ordered her couscous.”
“I made up the recipes. I heard somewhere that a mix of acetic and citric acids would preserve anything and started playing around. The rest is history. I’m not sure that I want your friend to publish this fact tho… I’ve got to keep some secrets. ”
“The peppers are Scotch Bonnets, and I originally bought them at this marvelous open-air market on the beach on the French side of Saint Martin in the Caribbean. I ended up reserving the seeds from the peppers, and brought them back with me to the US, where they now happily grow in the rich soil of the Shenandoah valley.”
Captain Jack’s Batch #9:
What I liked about it: A bit tart due to the high vinegar content, it reminded me a little of a Louisiana-style hot sauce…until the chinense heat caught up with me. There’s an almost citrus-y taste to it, which must be that citric acid that was mentioned above that isn’t completely bad. A little goes long way, and the ch
en-11.html”>date advice for meninense habanero flavor is pretty darn good.
What I thought could be improved: Something I call “separation anxiety.” Left alone on a shelf, this sauce separates quite quickly and is a little challenging to get to re-mix. This one could also use a thickening agent, perhaps a natural one, to give this sauce a little more viscosity.
Overall impression: A bit too thin for me, as I like my everyday hot sauce to stick to my food a little bit more. A great add to already-liquid foods like soups, stews, burgoos, etc. I especially liked this with gumbo and cajun-style rice dishes like jambalaya. Probably about a 8.5/10 on the heat scale, which makes it a “your mileage may vary” sauce in terms of how much you need to heat up your food to suit your chilehead palate. It certainly won’t go to waste in our house….
Helios’ Blazing Camel Harissa Sauce:
The ingredients list says “citrus juice, vinegar, chili peppers, spices, garlic, salt”
What I liked about it: Not sure what the spices are in this sauce, but it has a great aroma to it. (Harissa traditionally has chiles, garlic, caraway seed, coriander seed and cumin and is traditionally served with couscou.) Pouring a little on my plate, I could see the spices floating within this succulent sauce. The heat level is about 6/10, making it ideal for use in a wide variety of dishes.
What I thought could be improved: Like the Batch #9 sauce, it’s a little thin…but it actually still works well. Not much else I can criticize about this one.
Overall impression: Despite its name, don’t let this sauce be limited to Moroccan or other middle-Eastern cuisine. I poured this right over steak and hamburgers, and it made both sorts of dishes taste better. Not limited to meat by any stretch, it’s also good on veggies of all shapes & sizes. It makes me want to schlep down to Helios to have a meal.
Kudos and thanks to Captain Jack for a couple of delectable sauces we were able to sample. Keep on growin’ them peppers, Captain!!