Saturday, July 4, 2015

Sweet Ghost Wings!

     Sweet & Super Spicy Hot!
     First there was crispy coated fried chicken wings.  Then along came buffalo wings!  When the nationwide buffalo wing craze started, I was the chef at a very busy sports pub.  Chicken wings sold for pennies on the dollar back in those days and customers could not get enough of them.  The hot wing sauce was a basic recipe that required cheap commercial hot sauce that tasted very mild.
     A few years later, I worked as the chef at an English pub for 2 years.  I grew over 20 varieties of blazing hot chile peppers in a garden on the business property to make hot sauces with.  I made mild and medium hot sauces for the English pub customers.  I also made a few very spicy hot chile pepper sauces for those who demanded a spicier hot sauce.
     There is nothing that is more disappointing than ordering super hot wings at a restaurant, then being served wings that are made with a mild tasting sauce.  Many chefs and managers fear serving extra spicy hot food and this is a milk-toast marketing attitude that in the long run will only please middle of the road customers.  By setting limits on one item, the entire restaurant operation will be subject to conform to limited standards.  Eventually the business will be just another average restaurant in a vast sea of ho-hum burnt out restaurants.
     When it comes to marketing hot wings at a restaurant, it does not pay to limit the level of spicy heat.  This is because the wing will be just as boring as the wings at competing restaurants and the popularity of this food item will burnout.
     Niche marketing has always been a key in the restaurant success formula.  By pleasing the few, a restaurant can monopolize a niche market.  When the restaurant has a reputation for offering extra spicy hot wing option, word gets around and hot chile pepper heads will be drawn in.  Even better, when the popularity of super hot pepper sauce reaches a peak in popularity nationwide, the restaurant will be poised to profit on the increased demand for such an item.
     An increase in consumer demand for super hot wings happened in recent years.  Consumers shifted to preferring extra spicy hot sauce options nationwide.  Restaurants that offered blazing hot wing options profited from the trend.  Those restaurant chefs and managers that were too chicken to offer customers a super spicy hot wing option, ended up watching their own chicken wing sales dwindle down to single digits.

     Nobody knows exactly where Ghost Peppers originated, but more than likely they were a hybrid of local Caribbean Scotch Bonnet Peppers.  English servants from India that worked in the Caribbean during the Victorian age probably sent the Ghost Pepper seeds back home to India.  In India, Ghost Peppers are called Bhut Jalokia.  There are three Ghost Pepper hybrids and they are all very spicy hot.
     Some people say that Ghost Peppers are the hottest peppers in the world, but those folks are referring to outdated Scoville Capsicum Charts.  The Trinidad Scorpion Pepper is the current record holder for the hottest pepper in the world.  Scorpion Peppers are at least 2 times hotter than a Ghost Pepper.
     Recently the Carolina Reaper Pepper was claimed to be the world's hottest pepper, but upon a closer look, a Carolina Reaper is nothing more than a selectively bread Trinidad Scorpion Pepper.  The name Carolina Reaper is pretty much nothing more than a marketing ploy.
     Ghost Peppers are very spicy hot.  The heat builds up slowly to a peak intensity that lasts for about 12 minutes, then the spicy hot flavor starts to taper off.  Ghost Peppers have deep strong robust chile pepper flavor with strong tobacco flavor undertones.  The flavor of Ghost Peppers alone are not that great for making a hot sauce.  Mixing Ghost Peppers with a few other types of chile pepper is a good option when making an extra spicy hot sauce.
     Today's Sweet Ghost Wings Sauce tastes just sweet enough to be lip smackin' good, then the chile pepper heat quickly takes over.  The extra spicy Ghost Pepper heat is rounded off with the flavor of a few milder tasting chile peppers.  This extra hot wing sauce has depth!
     Sweet Ghost Wing Sauce: 
     This recipe yields enough sauce for 15 to 20 wings!
     This sauce is very spicy hot!
     Step 1:  Heat a sauce pot over medium heat.
     Add 2 cups of water.
     Step 2:  Add 3 ground dried ghost chile peppers.
     Add 1 tablespoon of chile guajillo powder.
     Add 1 tablespoon of chile arbol powder.
     Add 2 tablespoons of finely minced chipotle en adobo.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of onion powder.
     Add 1 teaspoon of coriander.
     Add 1 tablespoon of sugar.
     Add 2 tablespoon of organic ketchup.
     Add 1 tablespoon of rice vinegar.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of vegetable oil.
     Add 2 pinches of sea salt and black pepper.
     Step 2:  Bring the sauce to a gentle boil.
     Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Gently simmer and reduce the sauce, till it is a medium thin consistency that can coat a spoon.  There should be a yield of about 1 cup of hot sauce.
     Step 3:  Place the warm hot sauce in a mixing bowl.
     Add 1 tablespoon of honey.
     Add 2 teaspoons of unsalted butter while stirring.
     Stir till the butter melts into the sauce.
     Keep the sweet ghost wing sauce warm on a stove top, till the chicken wings are cooked.
     Sweet Ghost Wings: 
     This recipe yields 6 wings.  (12 wing pieces)
     The best buffalo wings are not coated with flour or breading of any kind.  The best buffalo wings are deep fried plain wings.  Plain deep fried wings are traditional. 
     Step 1:  Heat 8" of vegetable frying oil to 360ºF in a high sided sauce pot.
     Step 2:  Cut through the joints of six whole chicken wings, separating the drumettes, wings and wing tips.  (Save the wing tips for making chicken stock for another recipe.)
     Step 3:  Place a few of the chicken wings and drumettes at a time into the hot oil, till all of the wings are in the deep fryer.  (Adding a few wings at a time will keep the hot oil from foaming excessively.)
     During the first minute of frying, use a long handle fryer net to stir the wings up from the bottom of the sauce pot occasionally, so they do not stick.
     Fry the wings, till they are fully cooked with crispy caramelized highlights.
     Step 4:  Use a fryer net to remove the fried chicken wings from the hot oil and place them on a wire screen roasting rack on a drip pan to drain off any excess oil.
     Step 5:  Place the fried chicken wings in the mixing bowl with the sweet ghost pepper hot sauce.
     Toss the wings and sauce together, till the wings are thoroughly coated.

     Place a bed of endive lettuce on a plate.
     Arrange the sweet ghost wings in a circle on the plate, so they point outward from center.
     Garnish the empty center of the plate with small carrot sticks and celery sticks.
     Sweet Ghost Wings are not quite as scary as they sound, but they are still very spicy hot!  Sweet and spicy is the first taste sensation.  After a few bites of these sweet ghost wings, a slow rise in chile pepper flavor occurs.  The hot spicy flavor "comes on" slowly and steadily.  Cool waves of endorphin rushes begin after eating a few wings.  When the endorphins kick in, an unstoppable smile grows from ear to ear!    

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