Benito’s Spicy Barbecue Sauce

Naranja based barbecue sauce  

I like to make my own barbecue sauce using the following mixture:

  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 2 tbspn organic paprika
  • 1/3 cup vinegar
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 3 tbspn olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 1 tspn dried crushed habaneros (use cayennes for a tamer sauce)
  • 1 tbspn honey
  • 2 tspn chili powder
  • 1/4 tspn cinnamon
  • 2 tbspn Benito’s Original Naranja

Finely chop, mince, or mash the garlic and saute’ in olive oil in a medium sized pan (on low/medum heat) for about 3 minutes. Add other ingredients. Let the mixture mellow out for about twenty minutes on low/ medium heat. Add the Naranja last and stir repeatedly for a nice blend.  Now you have your sauce, so just use a nice BBQ Brush to apply to meats before, during and after cooking. 

Scott Roberts – Review of Benito’s Original Naranja Habanero Hot Sauce

Review –

Benito’s Naranja Organic Hot


Scott Roberts December 30, 2008 at 7:01 pm food

Benito’s Naranja Organic Hot Sauce
Ladies and gentlemen, I’m a sucker for vegetable and carrot-based hot sauces. You give me a good one and I’ll keep coming back like a sad little puppy dog begging for more. Now up at bat is Benito’s Naranja Organic Hot Sauce, a tasty-looking concoction that uses fresh organic and all-natural ingredients.

Ingredients: Onions, Tomatoes, Carrots, Garlic, Vinegar, Lime Juice, Cayenne, Jalapeno, Habanero, Serrano, and Thai Peppers

Aroma: 4.5 out of 5. Very fresh and light. I sensed hints of vinegar and garlic, blending in with a pleasing vegetable aroma. I’m not joking; after a few sniffs of Naranja, my mouth started to water.

Texture and Appearance: 4 out of 5. Naranja is a bright orange (of course, naranja is Spanish for the color orange), probably due to the presence of carrots. The sauce in my bottle contained very, very few minuscule dark specs amongst the pure orange mix. It’s consistency is a ground-up, mashed fusion of veggies, peppers, and watery liquid. It’s simultaneously runny, clumpy, and pasty. My review bottled came with an optional plastic dropper piece to fit on the top of the bottle. I didn’t use it for my review, as I wanted to get a sizable dose of the sauce on my food; but for proceeding uses, the dropper was fine, for the sauce is thin enough to allow enough to be dispensed with each shake.

Taste Straight Up: 5 out of 5. I poured a small puddle of Naranja on my plate and fingered some into my mouth. Immediately there was a blast of some of the freshest, strongest, tangiest vegetable flavors I’d ever had the pleasure of placing on my tongue. If I hadn’t known any better, I could have sworn someone had just picked some produce straight from the garden and made a nice picante salsa.

I noticed there was a complete lack of a saltiness (I guess some sauce makers rely on the white stuff in their condiments that my mouth was expecting it) and it made Naranja taste relatively bland by comparison. A moment later, though, unexpected high notes slowly materialized: the tartness of the vinegar and lime juice, small peeks of onion and garlic, and the slight searing sting of peppers. It seemed bizarre that these flavors didn’t come out for the first few split-seconds of time. It’s akin to a gorgeous swimsuit model being in a darkened room. First, you would shine a flashlight on her wonderfully tanned and toned stomach. Attractive, but incomplete. Then, someone would turn up a dimmer switch for a ceiling light to full brightness to reveal of of the most beautiful sights your little eyes have ever seen. In Naranja’s case, it’s your taste buds drinking in all that delightfulness.


Taste With Food: I shook generous amounts of Naranja on a flatbread wrap with grilled chicken breast chunks and melted monterey jack cheese. Good God, was it good!


Ever since I acquired my bottle, I’ve been dousing this sauce on just about everything I’ve consumed, save for my morning coffee. I can’t get enough of it!

Serving Suggestions: I could think of a hundred great culinary applications for Benito’s Naranja Organic Hot Sauce, but why don’t you grab a bottle and see for yourself?

Heat: 2 out of 5. It’s got medium-level heat. I was expecting a bit more fire because of the habs and thai peppers, but since the sauce tastes so great it’s certainly not a letdown. The heat hit the front of my tongue and lingered for a while after eating.

Label: 2 out of 5. It shows a peaceful outdoor scene, and on the back a photo of a man (Benito?) lazily sitting by a river. For some reason, it really doesn’t represent contents of the bottle.

Overall: Like the label states, Benito’s Naranja Organic Hot Sauce is “A Delectable Addiction”.Benito has really hit on something special here. Again, I love carrot-based hot sauces – in particular, Tabasco’s Tabanero, but this may be the best of it’s kind I’ve ever eaten.

You can get the goods at

Spanish Harlem Hot Sauce Festival

     Headed uptown yesterday for Benito’s first annual Spanish Harlem hot sauce festival sponsored by Keystone Light. All in all, it was BIG FUN! Pete from Queens made some authentic teriyaki ginger chicken skewers. They were bangin’ , they made the perfect sample food to use when experimenting with Benito’s pallette of flavors. Everyone sampled most of the sauces. We got a lot of positive feedback which is always cool. Dartso himself showed up with some surging Guinness cascading system that he couldn’t get to work. The mechanism works by vibrating a glass of beer to produce the cascade effect that is similar to the consistency of a Guinness draft from your local drinking establishment. Ultimately , the thing turned out to be nothing more than a very cumbersome nightlight. Naturally, the grill was going all day. It was loaded with Pete’s signature chicken skewers, Seth’s famous cheddar bratwurst, and Healy’s sopping bricktucky cinnamon wings (posting recipe soon).

     The festivities eventually had to be moved inside. Late night, someone thought it would be cool to throw some ground organic habanero powder into a pan with some hot olive oil. The fumes became unbearable to the point where there was actually a rush of about twenty five people for the door. Anyway, it was a blast…definitely looking forward to next year! Good food, good friends, and barbed wire around the perimeter, what more can you ask for? Much thanks to Healy and Ryan Murphy for hosting the event!

Enjoy the pics!

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DEFCON SAUCE FREE SAMPLE DAY (and free wings :o) ) April 12th,2008

Yesterday, Del and I swung down to St. James Gate in Maplewood for all you can eat wings provided by the crew at Defcon. We arrived around one in the afternoon. The bar was packed with hot wing conneisseurs. I immediately shouted for a long trail draft and hit the wing stand hard! They had three grades of sauce for the public to sample (Mild, Medium, and Very Hot). Devo and I started with three mediums and one hot each. I found the mediums to be extra tasty, an excellent mix of that tang that I have come to expect in a good wing sauce, accompanied by a slow steady release of sting. Then it came time to try the hot….I didn’t really realize the intense heat of the sauce until I took a swig of beer, and then another and another, then I realized the lingering pain would not subside. Needless to say, we took a subsequent break from the VERY HOT (aptly named) and retreated back to the medium grade. At that point I couldn’t taste any heat in the medium grade wings (taste buds were totally burnt out) so I sucked down another Long Trail (or three???) and went back for some more very hots ( a machismo thing I guess). Anyway, I found them to be more tolerable the second time around, but it still took me almost ten minutes to eat three wings which is definitely a first! Some friends showed up, only one of whom had the guts to try a wing on wing day. She had one very hot and was runnin’ for the hills. The heat was so intense that she got three completely naked wings after that and would not try any more sauce. Apparently they had a little contest in which contestants had to consume ten wings in four minutes without drinking anything before having to sit and flail for another four minutes in order to win a prize (some sauce or a shirt I imagine). Needless to say there were no takers from our group.

Eventually, I introduced myself to the owner and handed him a bottle of Joe’s #1 Jalapa which he very much appreciated. I thanked his wife for warning me about the very hot, before purchasing a 16 ounce bottle of the medium grade sauce. When I asked them if I could get a picture, the owner (whose named I already zoned out on) insisted that he put on the gear which consisted of a full gas mask set up with the “hazardous” effects (see photos below).

I’m looking forward to their next appearance which is in Union, NJ some time next month. Cool people….kick-ass sauce!

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What makes hot sauce hot?

     Capsaicin is the active chemical compound that makes chili peppers “hot”. It is the plants natural adaptation for deterring plant eating animals. Capsaicin will irritate any part of the human body that it comes into contact with. Different chili peppers contain varying amounts of capsaicin (see Scoville heat scale). Capsaicin is mostly found inside the core of the pepper pod as well as on the external skin. It is therefore essential that latex or rubber gloves are worn not only when cooking with very hot peppers but also when harvesting and handling them. The chemical compound can produce a waxy
appearance on the outside of the pepper pod.

     If you find yourself in a situation in which you are experiencing the physiological effects of capsaicin overload, it is best to either consume dairy products such as milk or hard alcohol. The compounds found in milk block capsaicin receptor sites in the mouth while alcohol is effective in dissipating the capsaicin compound so that it can be swallowed. Drinking water will often spread the irritation, so try to avoid it.

     Capsaicin that gets on your skin will not degenerate significantly from washing with soap and water. I often use rubbing alcohol when I find that my hands are burning because of an accidental transfer of capsaicin. I would not recommend this for everyone, since some people with sensitive skin may have a negative reaction to rubbing alcohol.

     If you are one of those people who just can’t handle spicy food but wish you had more of a tolerance, try to slowly build a tolerance by consuming peppers with low grade heat, then gradually move up the scale (see Scoville Heat scale).

     Believe it or not, genetics, ancestry and cultural histories play a large part in determining whether or not someone may or may not have a tolerance to spicy food. Generally, Central and South Americans as well as people from India and North Africa have a higher tolerance for spicy food than Western and Eastern Europeans.

     Lastly, I would like to address the issue of ingesting large quantities of capsaicin. A good rule of thumb is: “Whatever burns on the way in, will burn on the way out”. This is because the mucus membranes and soft tissue that line your mouth are very similar to those found in your rectum. I know it is not the most appetizing thing to think about, but it is worth mentioning. I have personally noticed that consuming a bite of a fresh pepper (even a habanero or dare I say a Naga Jolokia (Indian Ghost Pepper >1,000,000 Scoville Units)) produces less discomfort than some processed artificially flavored hot sauce that contains synthetically altered or concentrated capsaicin. Also, take into account that the Scoville heat scale, as groundbreaking and informative as it is, is not an absolute. I have had roasted jalapeno peppers that were hotter than roasted cayenne peppers. I have also consumed cayenne peppers off the vine that were hotter than fresh habanero peppers.