If there is one thing I enjoy more than a quality bourbon, it’s amazing, flavorful food. Whether I’m cooking or eating out, I seek food with lots of flavor and often lots of spice. I’m not necessarily talking about “heat spice;” I am talking next level, make you excited, savor every bite flavor. I ran across Bourbon Barrel Foods online and decided I had to try some. These guys started out as a soy sauce microbrewery and are now providing a large variety of amazing spices and sauces made with bourbon or utilizing bourbon barrels for aging or smoking. They sent me a package including their Bluegrass Soy Sauce, Kentuckyaki (Teriyaki) Sauce, aged Worcestershire Sauce, Bourbon Barrel Smoked Sea Salt, Bourbon Barrel Smoked Black Pepper, and Bourbon Barrel Smoked Chef’s blend.
To say I am impressed with Bourbon Barrel Foods’ products is an understatement. Bourbon and rich smoked flavor aren’t all these sauces and spices have to offer. The quality of the spices is far superior to your average store-bought offerings; the flavors are vibrant and a little goes a long way. I’ve had a couple of weeks with this stuff and it has me feeling like a culinary pro.
The sauces and spices are versatile, I used them while grilling, stir frying, and roasting. I coated a prime rib with a mix of some of the bourbon barrel smoked salt and pepper along with some Herbs de Provence and butter; it was fantastic. The bourbon barrel smoked black pepper is coarse ground and slow smoked using bourbon barrel staves. The bourbon barrel smoked sea salt is solar-evaporated and harvested from the Pacific Ocean (state side). The salt is slow smoked in small batches also using bourbon barrel staves. The smoked spices added a nice smoky flavor with a touch of bourbon.
The Kentuckyaki sauce is a ‘Kentucky-Styled’ Teriyaki sauce. It’s a Teriyaki base infused with bourbon and other spices. Before cooking with this sauce I tried a bit out of the bottle. I immediately had a couple of ideas for it. I brined a pound and a half of pork belly then marinated it in some of the sauce, which I mixed with some of the bourbon barrel smoked chef’s blend of spices. The Bourbon Smoked Chef’s Blend combines sea-salt, quarter cracked pepper and paprika that has been slow-smoked over oak bourbon barrel staves. Additionally, sugar, garlic, and parsley is added to the blend. When ready, I seared the pork belly then roasted it to 150 degrees. Secondly, I took the left over marinade and used it as sauce for a stir fry of green beans, onion, and tomato. The end result was some of the best pork belly I’ve ever had and a sweet smoky stir fry that paired well with both the meat and some steamed rice.
With Summer barbeque season just getting under way, I could hardly wait to see how the bourbon smoked spices might enhance a steak grilled over charcoal. I grilled a T-bone coated in bourbon barrel smoked salt and pepper, the smoky flavor of the spices complimented the steak nicely without overpowering the natural flavor of it; it really does take your flavor to another level. For a side dish, I steamed white rice and poured some of the Bluegrass Soy Sauce over it. The Bluegrass Soy Sauce is the only micro brewed soy sauce made in the United States, it is fermented and aged in bourbon barrels. Pouring it by itself over rice gave me a chance to really asses its flavor. It’s slightly smokier in flavor than an average soy sauce and quite enjoyable.
I recommend you check out Bourbon Barrel Foods. They are making some innovative products and have some great recipes as well. If you are a bourbon or culinary geek like I am, you will be glad you did.
Please keep an eye on theBarrelCellar.com for our upcoming interview with Matt Jaime founder and president of Bourbon Barrel Foods, and visit The Barrel Cellar’s new Recommended Products page for more.