Garlic: once you go black, you’ll never go back. Except for seconds. Or to try new recipes. Or just to sit there mainlining it down your piehole with your eyes rolled back in your head. If you’re a garlic junky like myself but you haven’t discovered black garlic on your own, let’s just say it’s your idea of candy. Just don’t hand it out on Halloween. The last thing we want is for the cops taking you away in cuffs just because the vampire who lives down the street thinks you poisoned his/her kid’s trick-or-treat bag. Or as it’s called around my neighborhood, The Great Mark Masker Candy Fiasco of 2017.
CaJohn’s Fiery Foods also knows the dark magic of black garlic; they’ve even put forth the culinary alchemy to bottle it into a damn fine sweet hot sauce. Not only does CaJohn’s Black Garlic Hot Sauce contain black and white garlic, it’s balanced with Fresno pepper, apple cider cinegar, sweet soy sauce, brown sugar, salt, and cayenne powder. CaJohn’s aimed for balance with this sauce and hit the target. Not only does it give you the earthy, fermented flavor of the black garlic and its associated sweetness, you also get salt, sour, and a kiss of fire at the finish when you eat it. Balanced sauces make for broader consumer appeal and more versatility for cooking than straight ramping up the heat, so it’s a win-win for company and consumer alike. You can marinate with it, use it as the flagship flavor in a glaze, punch up dishes like fried rice, or experiment with it like I did in this Banzai Burger recipe:
- 2 tbsp Kewpie mayonnaise
- 1 1/2 tsp sesame oil
- 2 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 1/2 tbsp CaJohn's Black Garlic sauce
- 1/4 tbsp Hawaiian sea salt
- 2 cups Coleslaw veggie mix
- 1 lb 80/20 ground beef
- 3 slices medium cheddar cheese
- 3 slices pineapple
- 3 King's Hawaiian hamburger buns
- 2 tsp Nanami Togarashi spice mix
- 2 tsp brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Whisk together all the ingredients except the coleslaw vegetables.
- Then hand toss the mixture with the vegetables. Cover the slaw and refrigerate it overnight so the flavors meld together.
- Mix the ingredients in a bowl just prior to prepping the burgers.
- Preheat your grill to medium high.
- Form the ground beef by hand into 1/3 lb patties 3/4-inch thick. Press your thumb into the center of each patty. This keeps them from puffing up during grilling.
- Brush each patty with a thin layer of cooking oil. This helps the spice rub stick during grilling. Rub the patties with the spice blend. Brushing the pineapple slices with a little oil helps with keeping them from sticking to the grill grates as well.
- Grill the pineapple slices for 2-3 minutes per side and move them to a cooler part of the grates to keep warm. Grill the beef patties with the lid closed for 4-6 minutes.
- Flip the burgers. Add the cheese slices and pineapple slices. Shut the lid and grill for another 4-6 minutes.
- Toast the buns for 30-60 seconds. Spread Kewpie mayonnaise to taste on the top bun. Assemble the burgers with the slaw atop the patties and chow down.
A little goes a long way, which means your bottle goes a long way unless you’re a garlic fiend. In that case, you’ll want a straw, an intervention, or both.
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