Peri peri chicken
Sensient sampled grilled peri peri chicken at I.F.T.16.

At I.F.T.16, the annual meeting of the Institute of Food Technologists held in Chicago in July, seasoning suppliers showcased hot new concepts. Here are some of them:

Sensient, Hoffman Estates, Ill., sampled grilled peri peri chicken. Peri peri is a Portuguese sauce made from crushed peri peri peppers (50,000 to 175,000 S.H.U.), citrus peel, onion, pepper, salt, lemon juice, bay leaves, paprika, pimiento, basil, oregano and tarragon. Another sauce the company promoted is chamoy, which is a mash of flavors that combines the smoky heat of ancho chilies with apricot preserves, lime juice, salt and sugar. It functions as a glaze on grilled pork chops where it caramelizes and delivers sweet heat.

An up-and-coming chili is urfa, also known as Turkish chili, according to Sensient. It has a rich raisin and chocolate taste with notes of tobacco and wine and about 50,000 S.H.U. of heat. Lamb and beef kebobs are a common application, as well as venison chops and other game meats.

Urfa lamb kebab
Lamb kebabs are a common application for urfa, also known as Turkish chili.

Kalsec, Kalamazoo, Mich., showcased its purified and concentrated natural capsaicin extract in varied ethnic seasoning blends. By using the extract, seasonings contain a specified ratio of capsaicinoids to ensure consistent heat delivery. For example, a kimchi spice for use in Korean beef and pork dishes, is a blend of garlic, onion, leek and capsaicin. Malaysian rendang beef is possible with a blend of lemongrass, fried shallot, kaffir lime and capsaicin.

Capsaicin can deliver heat to Indian curries, too. The company showcased a low-use level with coriander and sweet spices in a yogurt tandoori sauce on chicken. Usage levels were increased to make vindaloo, a fiery, spicy pork and tomato dish that includes garlic, coriander, turmeric and ginger.

The company has an extensive line of pepper flavors, which were used to create a number of Latin American foods. For example, a blend of onion, jalapeno, chipotle, toasted cumin, garlic and Mexican oregano was used to make carne adovada, a spicy pork dish.

Brazilian beef brisket
This Brazilian beef brisket was prepared churrasco style and served with a chimichurri sauce.

Asenzya, Oak Creek, Wis., showcased how chili peppers can kick up tomato-based barbecue sauces intended for grilled meats. Sweet honey combines with habaneros for a heat-meets-sweet combination for ribs and steaks. Pineapple and anchos meld well with a brown sugar-style barbecue sauce for pork and poultry.

Kerry Ingredients, Beloit, Wis., showed how the same beef brisket can be prepared and served with different seasonings for different flavor adventures. The menu included a “modern” barbecue brisket sandwich. This beef brisket was slow cooked after being smothered with an espresso chili rub. There was also a Brazilian version. This beef brisket was prepared churrasco style and served with traditional chimichurri sauce, which is a mild pepper sauce with strong notes of garlic, parsley and oregano. Lastly, there was an Asian offering featuring brisket treated with bulgogi seasoning and topped with a Carolina gochujang mustard sauce, which featured the world’s hottest pepper.

American’s obsession with heat shows no signs of abating. Layering in flavors and applying spice blends to meat and poultry can help keep animal proteins in the center of the plate.