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Exploring the World of Spice and Smoke
Tags >> Scovie Awards

The 2011 Scovie Awards was unique, because For the first time in the competition’s 16-year history, two products tied for the Grand Prize in the Tasting Division. That’s pretty amazing, considering we’re talking about 650 products entered, with a panel of more than 100 judges. Even more remarkable is how different the two winning products are: a spicy candy and a horseradish sauce! Meet the winners on the Burn! Blog here.



Q: What's a good use for horseradish besides cocktail sauce or as a side with roast beef? And what makes it so hot?

A: Horseradish is a root, similar to wasabi, and a member of the mustard family. Prepared horseradish is grated horseradish root combined with distilled vinegar. It has almost no taste until grated when the cells are crushed to release a volatile oil that produces the “heat.”

Read more about the uses of horseradish and get some great recipes for making your own on the Burn! Blog.


Fire BreatherLast week, a judge at the Fiery Foods Challenge, a spicy food contest held in conjunction with Texas-based festival, ZestFest 2011, was hospitalized after sampling an entry. The blind entry in the hot sauce category was described as a “nightmare in a bottle” by another of the contest judges. Speculators have suggested the sauce may have contained the extract capsaicin, the chemical that gives chile peppers their heat.

“Our best wishes for a swift recovery go out to the judge injured in the Fiery Foods Challenge this week,” said Dave DeWitt, owner and producer of the Fiery Foods and Barbecue Show in Albuquerque, New Mexico. “Safety is the most important thing when testing fiery foods. Chemical additives such as capsaicin only increase the necessity for proper precautions.”

“At the Fiery Foods Show, exhibitors are required to have warning signage at their booths and to taste only on the end of toothpicks,” said DeWitt.

In addition to producing the Fiery Foods Show—the largest hot foods trade show in the country, DeWitt also hosts the annual Scovie Awards, a contest that judges the best food products in the hot foods industry. Judges who participate in the superhot category of the Scovies (including products containing the capsaicin extract) are required to sign a waiver before the contest and to test products separately, overseen at all times by a designated monitor.

Judges at the Scovies are provided with several different, thick coolants, such as yogurt and ice cream—the same cooling agents that members of the public should use when tasting fiery foods. Dairy and alcohol products are particularly effective in counteracting the heat associated with chile peppers; capsaicin dissolves in the fats contained in dairy. Water is a relatively useless cooling agent. Other methods used to combat the heat from peppers include tasting small samples in order to gauge heat levels, and building a tolerance to heat over time before tackling superhots.

With the proper precautions, the general public can avoid overexposure to the “fire” in fiery foods and enjoy the spice of life.

Extras:

Check out this video from Dave DeWitt on how to avoid chile pepper burnout!


 

Scovie Awards JudgingThe judging of our 14th annual Scovie Awards Competition was held yesterday at the County Line Barbecue Restaurant in Albuquerque and we were astonished by the response from the judges.  Usually we have an attrition rate of 10 to 20% for judges because these food professionals are such busy people.  But this time, nearly every judge showed up, and they brought friends!  About 90 judges showed up in two sessions and the tables were packed.  Fortunately, we had enough drinks and cool-downs for everyone, and although some tables had a slight delay because the judging 600+ products took a while, when it was all said and done, every product got tasted by more judges than usual.  Part of the delay was due to the diligence on the part of the judges, who took time to make a lot more comments than usual.  Thanks to everyone who participated, and the results will be announced in about two weeks.


2010 Scovie Awards Winners Posted!

Posted by: Dave DeWitt

Tagged in: Scovie Awards , new content

Scovie Awards logo

We have posted all the winners in the various categories of the 2010 Scovie Awards here.  Congrats to all the winners, and especially to Grand Prize--Tasting Division, New York’s Pleasant Valley Kitchen Company for their Sugar and Spice Sweet Sauce.  Despite the mild sounding name, the sauce won its division in the Habanero Hot Sauce category as well as the Grand Prize!  The top award in the Advertising and Marketing Division went to Toluca Gourmet for their Toluca Gourmet Salsa Casera packaging.  In about a week, we will be launching a new website devoted completely to the Scovie Awards and the business of fiery foods and barbecue.


For quite a while I've wanted to offer manufacturers of spicy and BBQ products a way to test to see if their new products can compete successfully in the Scovie Awards and in the marketplace, but I didn't really have the time to devote to the project.  To the rescue comes James Beck of Houston, who has launched a site devoted to that very subject.  James, a hard-working young entrepreneur who was formerly a business and financial consultant, has decided to focus his life on the fiery foods and barbecue industries--sounds like me 25 years ago!  So we have teamed up for New Product Reviews, a for-now free service that judges the latest products according to the same criteria as the Scovie Awards, and James will publish the results on his EatMoreEat.com site. Welcome aboard, James!


Have you ever wondered what it would be like to taste and judge about a hundred fiery foods and barbecue products in four hours?  Well, food writer Larry Greenly has been doing it for years as one of our expert judges.  He gives the inside story of what it's like, here.


2009 Scovie Awards Winners Announced

Posted by: Dave DeWitt

Tagged in: Scovie Awards , contest

Congratulations to the Grand Prize Winners of the 2009 Scovie Awards.  The Tasting Division winner was Bon Bon Bakery for their Chile Verde Ganache with Sweet Corn, which also won 1st place for Sweet Heat: Candy/Cakes/ Pastries/Cookies.  The Marketing Division winner was Treasure Valley Salsa for their Black Bean & Corn Salsa product label.  You can check out all the Scovie Winners here.


At left is a mockup of what will be the Show Program that will be distributed at the National Fiery Foods & Barbecue Show, Feb.27-Mar. 1, 2009.  It will have Exhibitor Listings and Scovie Winners inside, as well as enhanced listings and display advertising.  We have posted a page on the SuperSite that has:

--SuperSite Banner Advertising Rates

--Show Program Display Advertising Rates and Sizes

--Enhanced Listings Rates and Sizes

Access the Advertising Rates here.


Congratulations to Bon Bon Bakery and Chocolate of San Diego, Grand Prize (Tasting Division) Winner of the 2009 Scovie Awards Competition with their incredibly tasty Chile Verde Ganache with Sweet Corn!  The Sweet Heat category has won the Grand Prize more than half the time in the 12 year history of the Scovie Awards.  I was a table monitor and the judges at my table, after the sampling, commented on the beautiful appearance of the Chile Verde Ganache, and I think that really helped the product to win.  Of course, flavor had something to do with it as well.  Visit Bon Bon Bakery here.

We are now contacting all winners by phone, and once that is done, we will post all the winners on the SuperSite.



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