My travels took me to Key West in early August and I had the pleasure of visiting a great Hot Sauce Store called Peppers of Key West. I wish there were more stores like this everywhere. Literally, thousands of sauces lined the walls as well as countertops and you could try them all. Pete Legrady, one of the owners let me try several of is signature sauces, one of which is “Key West Conch Cruiser Asian Marinade”.
This is not a hot sauce but rather a great marinade. I’ll tell you right off the bat, I like this product.
Ingredients: Vinegar, Low sodium Soy (water, wheat, soy beans, salt,lactic acid, sodium benzoate) Light Brown Sugar, Garlic, Sesame Oil, Paprika, Ginger, Cayenne
The label states “Great with fish, steak, chicken, lobster, shrimp, veggies, just about anything” I couldn’t agree more.
The label is very Caribbean and reeks of laid back Key West. Not sure why the name came to be and the label gives no hint of what to expect inside the bottle, except for the “Asian” in the name. The label fits the island theme and I had a fair idea what to expect from the name. All in All, plain but original.
Color and consistency: The color is a rich coffee color on the spoon and a rich brown color when marinated on the chicken. The sauce is thick with bits of fresh garlic suspended. The viscosity is just right and it stuck to my chicken tenders just like it stuck to the spoon.
Aroma: First impression is a great garlic smell with ginger and sesame tagging along to make a bold “Asian” aroma. My mouth started to water after pouring this sauce on chicken to marinate. My second impression of smell reminded me of a robust teriyaki sauce.
Heat: Since this is not a hot sauce, I did not expect to get any heat, even though the ingredient list includes cayenne. Much to my surprise, after trying a spoon full, was immediate heat on the front of my mouth. Not hot, but just a mild burn that stayed with me for a couple minutes. I will tell you that there was no sign of heat after sampling the finished chicken.
Flavor: This is of course where the rubber meets the road in any sauce and this product rocks. The flavors are intense, almost amplified. The garlic, ginger and sesame blend together to make a bold, rich, sweet tang and then you catch a hint of soy. I almost get a hint of coffee and peanuts in this sauce even though they are not present. I actually could just eat this sauce straight out of the bottle and still use it as a dipping sauce. I should have marinated the chicken longer and should have basted the chicken with it while grilling. We ended up pouring more sauce all over the chicken when it was plated. Great, great stuff!
Overall: Key West Conch Cruiser Asian Marinade should be a staple in everyone’s fridge. It is far superior to any other Teriyaki type marinades that are commercially available.
If you ever get to southern Florida, I highly recommend visiting Peppers of Key West and picking up this sauce. They are located at 602 Greene Street, Key West, FL, 33040. You can also order on the web at www.peppersofkeywest.com or by calling 800-KW-SAUCE.