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Dave's Fiery Front Page

Exploring the World of Spice and Smoke

In this pic from Pace Foods, crowds pour into the show, overwhelming the Pace booth at the very entrance.  Chris, at lower right, of the Pace test kitchens, looks unfazed at the onslaught of hot-stuff-craving fans.  See Pace's photo coverage of the show, here.  Rosa Linda Roman, who produces the NewMexicast web broadcasting site, did a great job covering the show, including an interview with me, and you can watch it here.  Here's a Pace shot of me interviewing Rick Browne of PBS's "Barbecue America" at the Great Grill-Off, with Gwyneth Doland to his right.  Boy, was that show fun, or what!

A Hybrid Bonsai Chile Plant

Posted by: Dave DeWitt

From Jukka Kilpinnen in Finland comes an unsual hybrid of a Dutch chile (Capsicum annuum) and an orange habanero (Capsicum chinense).  Jukka is a bonsai expert and has made a beautiful plant.  It's not easy and I failed at my first attempt.  For instructions, go here.

Redneck Seafood Dinner

Posted by: Dave DeWitt

Tagged in: humor , food trends

From contributing editor Nancy Gerlach in Chelem, Yucatan:  "The picture is from our friend in Italy and got me thinking about a blog for you on hot dogs in Mexico. They love them and put them in just about anything down here. We stopped to get some french fries from a vending cart in Merida and they had a garnish that looked like this. Yup, a fried weenie flower!"


At the Great Grill-Off at the National Fiery Foods & Barbecue Show, Barb and Bill Milroy (at left) plus Chip Hearn of peppers.com edged the Barbecue America team of Rick Browne and Gwyneth Doland 2-1 in three days of competition.  I was the host along with Erica Viking of 94-Rock.  It was great fun as the teams competed with grilling salmon on day one (TRR won), coarsely ground chuck on day two (BA won) and whole chickens on day three (TRR won).  The video tape, shot by Production Outfitters of Albuquerque, will be edited and shown on Rick's TV program, "Barbecue America," on PBS sometime later in the year. Gwyneth is writing a story about the entire experience, to be published soon on the SuperSite.





Rick and Gwyn of the "Barbecue America"  team.










On the set with Erica, Gwyn, Rick, and me.                       


Fun Stuff from the Show

Posted by: Dave DeWitt

The 21st annual National Fiery Foods & Barbecue Show was a huge success!  Periodically I will show you some interesting stuff from the show, like this from Jeffrey Schickowski, an author, scientist, and artist.  Using x-rays, photography, CT scans, and 3-D computer reconstructions, he takes us deep inside chile pepper pods.  Visit Jeffrey's website here.

New TV Spot for Show

Posted by: Dave DeWitt

--Watch the latest video masterpiece from Wayne Scheiner & Co. here.
--Check out the Great Grill-Off at the show here.

by Gerald Schmidt

China is red. More than just in the flag, more than in its political philosophy. Traditionally, red is the color of luck. The color of the clothes people marry in. The color on many temples. The color of the banners and charms put up around New Year. No wonder, then, that the chile peppers' role in culture comes to a high point in China: In many sizes, many forms, in rare cases even in a few colors, one finds the chile pepper as part of good luck charms.
One of the first questions one learns when eating out, whether in restaurants or on the street: Do you eat chile pepper? (And it's not just the foreigners who get asked that!) I teach at a university.  I once asked my students what they did when they felt unhappy. One reply: I eat.  Not chocolate, but hot and spicy food.  Chile peppers even made it into a Chinese/Tibetan medicinal treatise that was written (for the greatest part, actually, painted) between 1750 and 1800.  It suggested taking chile peppers and honey, hailing that concoction a drug to prolong life. Hot food is a good point also considering that China does not have heating south of the Yellow River.  What one hears in winter, contrary to the popular theory about the chile pepper's great role in hot regions, cooling us off by making us sweat: they are heavily consumed in the cold months, for heating up.  Of course, they are also widely eaten during the hot months.  Here and there, chile peppers hang outside like ristras. And there are the good luck charms which look like them.  Sometimes, aside all the red lanterns, one wonders what design the Chinese could possibly have used on their decorations and charms before the chile peppers were introduced.


Big Bob Gibson BBQ Book is Great!

Posted by: Dave DeWitt

Tagged in: smoking , personalities , books

I received an advance reading copy of Chris Lilly's Big Bob Gibson's BBQ Book, and I've read most of it.  Chris is an acquaintance of mine, and I watched him demonstrate his technique for pulled pork at Kingsford University in Arizona a few years ago (article is here).  I expected his book to be good--after all, he is a 10-time world champion--but the book is more than just good, it's utterly fascinating.  Chris tells the story of Bib Bob Gibson and his famous BBQ joint in Decatur, Alabama from the 1920s to the present, interspersing the history with Southern BBQ tips, recipes, and lore.  The chapter "Racks of Ribs" is possibly the best single chapter in any book on 'cue, so it's appropriate that ribs are on the cover.  Interestingly, pork ribs were not served at Big Bob Gibson's until the late '70s.  I took a look at Chris's recommended reading and was pleased to see Rick Browne's The Best Barbecue on Earth, Ray (Dr. BBQ) Lampe's Big-Time Barbecue Cookbook  and Dr. BBQ's Barbecue Road Trip (which I helped on--see article, here).  And I was flattered that he also selected Barbecue Inferno, which I wrote with Nancy Gerlach.  Chris's book will be released May 12, 2009, and it should be a part of every barbecue aficionado's library.

Sweden Embraces BBQ

Posted by: Dave DeWitt

by Paul Schatte

Head Country Food Products and the BBQ and Chili Company of Stockholm, Sweden have been doing business together for two years. Last April, as general manager of Head Country Food Products, I was invited to Sweden by Jonas and Robert Lundin, owners of the BBQ and Chili Co. The purpose of the trip was for me to share my knowledge of barbecuing.  For several days I shared my expertise with restaurant and grocery store owners, as well as magazine and newspaper personnel.  I prepared several of Head Country's specialty items like bar-b-q brisket and ribs.

One of the restaurant groups in attendance was O'Leary's Sports Bar that operates more than 40 sports bars in Sweden. From that event and follow-up meetings by the Lundins, the O'Leary's restaurant menus will be featuring several flavors of Head Country Bar-B-Q sauce and smoked meats from the BBQ and Chili Company.

The highlight of the five-day trip for me was being asked to be guest Chef at Melker Andersonn's four-star restaurant, The Grille, in downtown Stockholm.  Melker Andersonn is a respected Michelin Chef in Europe and he asked me to prepare some of his favorite barbecue items. "The Grille Plate" featured brisket, pork shoulder and homemade sausage prepared by me. More than 125 Grille plates were sold that evening.

Our company has been selling BBQ sauce off and on in Germany for the past ten years, exporting private label sauce to Canada and are in the beginning stages of a larger scale growth in Canada as well."

Originally published in The Ponca City News, Ponca City, Oklahoma.  Used with permission.


More than 16,000 buyers jammed San Francisco's Moscone Center in mid-January to taste new food products from all over the U.S. and three dozen nations around the world at the Fancy Food Show.  "Despite near-historic economic challenges, our industry is showing resilience," noted Ann Daw, president of the National Association for the Specialty Food Trade, the show's owner. "Consumers are eating at home more, and they are purchasing specialty items to liven up their meals."
The sold-out National Fiery Foods & Barbecue Show supports Daw's theory and from my observations, business is still strong in our sector. Harald Zoschke, owner of Germany's largest online hot shop, Pepperworld.com, agrees, and notes: "January 2009 orders are up 50% from 2008 at the Pepperworld Hot Shop."
One of the more interesting displays at the Fancy Food Show continued the competition of who has the hottest hot sauce.  Dave's Gourmet introduced "Ghost Pepper" Jolokia Private Reserve, which Dave Hirschkop is calling the



world's hottest sauce. It's hand signed by Dave, numbered, vintage dated, and laid to rest in a wooden coffin wrapped in caution tape. A 5-ounce bottles are available for $35 each.


Blair Lazar, of Blair's Sauces and Snacks, begs to differ and points out that he was first with a Jolokia Pure Death Sauce. The battle rages on.

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