In New Orleans, we love our hot sauce. The trinity of top local brands includes Tabasco, Crystal and Louisiana Hot Sauce. Each has a loyal following. My dad’s dad Beau, for instance, carried Tabasco everywhere he went and always had an emergency bottle stashed in his glove box. I think he put it on everything but dessert. The hubby is also a huge Tabasco man. Me? My favorites are Tabasco and Louisiana Hot Sauce with very specific uses for each. Tabasco has more heat than Louisiana Hot Sauce and because of that it’s a must in my cocktail sauce and on my fried seafood poor boys. I find that Louisiana Hot Sauce has a more balanced flavor than Tabasco. And for that reason it has become my go-to kicker for gumbo, soups and Buffalo wings. I like Crystal too, but I don’t ever buy it for the house. A while back, Tabasco branched out and started making different flavored hot sauces from peppers other than their trademark Tabasco peppers. For a while, I got into their green pepper sauce which is made with jalapenos. More recently, I started buying their chipotle pepper sauce. I’m pretty sure that particular sauce has both Tabasco and chipotle peppers in it. If you like chipotles, you need to give it a try. It’s extremely chipotle-ish and can be used a bunch of different ways. Just this week, I made a glaze with it which I initially thought would be great on ribs or some other bone-in cut of pork. But I ended up pairing it with bacon-wrapped shrimp instead. They were good! The chipotle Tabasco glaze gave the shrimp and smoky bacon a really nice Asian-barbecuey vibe. And the corn tortillas tied the whole dish together and kept the glaze-dripping-mess to a minimum.
Just about any cold beer would do these Fiery Chipotle Shrimp good. Lately, I’ve been revisiting one of my old favorites, Sweetwater IPA. Keep in mind though that this brew will heighten the heat on your tongue. If you’re looking to extinguish some of the fiery bite of the shrimp, then you’re better off reaching for a malty beer over a hoppy one because the sweet of the malt calms the heat. Abita Amber, Fat Tire Amber Ale or any German bock or dopplebock will do the trick.
Until next week …
Fiery Chipotle Shrimp Recipe
1 pound large shrimp, peeled
12 slices bacon, cut in half
1 cup honey
1 5-ounce bottle Tabasco Chipotle Pepper Sauce
3 tablespoons chili sauce
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon brown sugar
Pinch of salt
1 tablespoon fresh chopped cilantro, and more for garnish
White corn tortillas, cut in half, for serving
Place bacon in a microwave-safe dish, cover and partially cook on high for 4 minutes. Remove from dish and drain on paper towels. Wrap a half slice of bacon around each shrimp, secure with a toothpick and set aside. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine the honey, Tabasco, chili sauce, lime juice, brown sugar and salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until sugar is dissolved and sauce is hot and bubbly, 5-7 minutes. Stir in cilantro, reduce heat to low and cover to keep warm. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat the oil. When hot, add shrimp and cook until shrimp are pink and bacon is crispy, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate, remove toothpicks and toss in sauce until evenly coated. Serve immediately with warm corn tortillas and extra cilantro for garnish. Makes 6-8 appetizer servings.