Friday, August 6, 2010

"Weekend of Fire" guest post

This past weekend, my husband, Brian, and I were kid-free and decided to checkout the “Weekend of Fire” at Jungle Jim's. We had never been there and thought this was a good reason to make the drive. If you live in Southwest Ohio, Northern Kentucky or Southeast Indiana, you probably have heard of Jungle Jim's International Market and Event Center. One weekend each summer, Greater Cincinnati is the “center of the hot sauce universe “ at this Fiery Foods Show. This year boasted up to 75 booths of hot sauces, BBQ sauces, salsas, marinades, jerkys, dips, rubs and more from all across the USA.

Being the condiment “connoisseurs” that we are, the inside door of our refrigerator displays a dozen or more bottles of various sauces, salsas, marinades, and mustards at any given time. Any dish is only as good as what it can be soaked in, brushed with or dipped in.

So, we got our tickets and off we went. The “Weekend of Fire” show is a complete consumer oriented show. The vendors encourage tasting samples of their products which are available to purchase on the spot. When we arrived, we were handed our bag and headed upstairs. They were starting one of their many hot food contests of the weekend. The Hot Cracker Eating Contest consisted of eating 15 Texas Fire Crackers the fastest. One glass of water was on the table in case of choking-you drink it, you're disqualified. I tried a cracker at the vendor's booth. It was tasty and hot! I was not able to eat more than one. Later, we watched the Hot Lolly Contest- Be the first to finish the Hot Lix Candy lollipop. Other contests held throughout the day included: Bugcicle Eating- eat a Hot Lix Insect Sucker in 10 min; Eat Hot Horseradish on 10 slices of bratwurst; PB & J using hot peanut butter and hot jelly; Hot Ice Cream (ex. Chocolate with cayenne pepper), and others.

While there were a few vendors whose goal was to see fire shoot out your ears and have you running out the door sick (Crazy Uncle Jester), most vendors claimed their products were more about flavor than heat, but, they were still hot! Ghost peppers (bhut jolokia) are the hottest in the world and there were several hot sauces and dry rubs made with them. I tried a VERY small piece of a brownie made with ghost peppers. It started out as a typical chocolate brownie, but then as any good ghost would do, the heat sneaks up on you, attacks and then haunts you for what seems like an eternity. I then realized the foresight of several people seen walking around with jugs of milk. I had to make due with the beer booth at the end of the room.

We sampled and tasted at almost every booth-not bothering to stop at the one called “Defcon”, which provided a decontamination area. We collected business cards from the ones we liked so we could remember which ones were the best and go back later to make any purchases before we left. We tried salsas, hot sauces, BBQ sauces and dips on pulled pork, blackened chicken, potato chips, tortilla chips, pretzels, and by the spoonful. Additionally, there were wasabi peas, various wasabi nuts (peanuts, cashews, almonds, etc), spicy crackers, hot suckers complete with a dead, dried scorpion inside, and fudge sauce with chili peppers. If you had something hot to offer, it was at the show.

We ended up buying more than we intended, including Jim Dandy's BBQ sauces (mild, hot and extra hot), Mudflap Jones' Cajun Kicker sauce and All Purpose Prairie Dust, The Extreme Gourmet's Southwest Chipotle seasoning mix, Lee's Hot Mustard's Cajun Seasoning, and Shudog's Sweet and Sassy Mustard Relish. Finally, although we didn't care for the Chipotle Chile Fudge sauce, the Sweet & Saucy Co. did offer a whole line of flavored fudge and caramel sauces. We couldn't agree on one, so we bought Raspberry Fudge, Cinnamon Caramel and Rum Caramel. Yum! The description on the jar is accurate, it is “so good, it's sinful”. And, yes, you will want to eat it by the spoonful right out of the jar!

We had a good time and are looking forward to next year. When you plan your next weekend activity, keep it local and find out what's going on in your own backyard. You never know what fun and interesting things you may have been missing.

Kristine is a non-blogger friend of mine who graciously agreed to write a post for me during my blogging hiatus. Check back on Monday the 9th for my re-launch!
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