Does hot sauce make you sleep?

Sleep is an essential part of our lives and plays a crucial role in maintaining good physical and mental health. Unfortunately, many people struggle to get a good night's rest, which can lead to a variety of health problems such as weight gain, poor immune function, and even an increased risk of chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease.

One unexpected solution to improving sleep quality may be incorporating hot sauce into your diet. That's right, hot sauce can actually help you sleep better!

Does hot sauce make you sleepy
How Hot Sauce Can Help You Sleep
  1. Hot sauce can help reduce inflammation. Inflammation is a natural response by the body to protect against harmful stimuli, such as injury or infection. However, chronic inflammation has been linked to a range of health problems, including sleep disturbances.Hot sauce, specifically hot peppers, contains a compound called capsaicin, which has anti-inflammatory properties. By incorporating hot sauce into your diet, you may be able to reduce inflammation and improve sleep quality.
  2. Hot sauce may help improve digestion. Digestive issues can cause discomfort and disrupt sleep. Hot sauce has been shown to improve digestion by increasing the production of digestive juices and enzymes, which can help break down food more efficiently. This can lead to fewer digestive issues and a better night's sleep.
  3. Hot sauce may help reduce stress and anxiety. Stress and anxiety are common causes of sleep disturbances. Hot sauce has been shown to have a positive effect on mood, potentially reducing stress and anxiety levels. Capsaicin, the compound found in hot peppers, has been shown to have an antidepressant effect, which may help improve sleep quality.
Other Tips to Help You Sleep

In addition to incorporating hot sauce into your diet, here are some other tips for improving sleep quality:

  1. Practice good sleep hygiene. Good sleep hygiene involves establishing healthy habits that promote sleep. Some tips for practicing good sleep hygiene include setting a consistent bedtime and wake-up time, creating a sleep-friendly environment (dark, cool, and quiet), avoiding screens for at least an hour before bedtime, avoiding caffeine, alcohol, and heavy meals close to bedtime, and exercising regularly.
  2. Consider using relaxation techniques. Relaxation techniques, such as meditation, deep breathing, or progressive muscle relaxation, can help calm the mind and body, making it easier to fall asleep.
  3. Try natural remedies. There are several natural remedies that are believed to help improve sleep quality, including melatonin, a hormone naturally produced by the body that helps regulate sleep-wake cycles; valerian root, a herb that may help reduce anxiety and improve sleep; and chamomile tea, a natural sedative that may help promote relaxation and improve sleep.
  4. Evaluate your sleep environment. The environment in which you sleep can have a big impact on your sleep quality. Make sure your bedroom is conducive to sleep by keeping it dark, cool, and quiet. Invest in a comfortable mattress and pillows, and consider using earplugs or a white noise machine if outside noise is a problem.
  5. Consider your sleep position. The way you sleep can also affect your sleep quality. Some people find that sleeping on their back or side is more comfortable, while others prefer sleeping on their stomach. Experiment with different positions to see what works best for you.
  6. Make sure you're getting enough sleep. It may seem obvious, but getting enough sleep is crucial for good sleep quality. Adults generally need 7-9 hours of sleep per night, while children and teenagers may need more. If you're not getting enough sleep, it's worth trying to adjust your sleep habits to get more rest.
  7. Manage stress. Stress can be a major cause of sleep disturbances, so it's important to find ways to manage stress in your life. Exercise, meditation, and other relaxation techniques can all help reduce stress. You might also try setting aside time each day to relax and unwind, or finding ways to better manage your time and prioritize your tasks.

It's worth noting that hot sauce may not be suitable for everyone, as some people may be sensitive to spicy foods or have conditions that contraindicate their consumption. If you're interested in incorporating hot sauce into your diet to improve sleep quality, be sure to choose a high-quality hot sauce with minimal additives. Hot peppers, the main ingredient in hot sauce, are a natural source of capsaicin, so look for a hot sauce made with real peppers rather than artificial capsaicin. And as with any dietary change, it's a good idea to speak with a healthcare professional before making any significant changes to your diet.

A study has found that spicy food can provide you with a better night's sleep while also making you feel more sleepy the next day. Food high in chilies can help you fall asleep faster, according to Australian researchers.

It's all about a chemical compound in peppers called capsaicin. Capsaicin binds to pain receptors on our nerves. So, why do so many people enjoy spicy food? In response to the pain, your brain releases endorphins and dopamine which makes you feel euphoria similar to a runners high.

Here are some other foods that can help you sleep:

  • Almonds
  • Turkey
  • Chamomile tea
  • Kiwi
  • Fatty fish
  • Walnuts
Final Thoughts

In conclusion, hot sauce may help improve sleep quality by reducing inflammation, improving digestion, and reducing stress and anxiety. In addition to hot sauce, practicing good sleep hygiene, using relaxation techniques, and trying natural remedies can all help improve sleep quality. Evaluating your sleep environment and sleep position, getting enough sleep, and managing stress are also important factors in improving sleep quality. A good night's sleep is essential for overall health and well-being, so it's worth trying these tips to see if they work for you.

What is “Umami” and Why It’s a Thing

In the late 20th century, a Japanese scientist coined the term "umami" to denote a particular food flavor. But what is umami? Where the other four basic tastes are straightforward, umami is difficult to define. However, we're up to the challenge, so let us tell you about the umami taste, meaning, history, and more.
What Is Umami?

The Japanese word "umami," meaning "pleasant savory taste," is also called monosodium glutamate. It has been identified as the fifth basic taste, the other basic tastes being sweet, sour, salty, and bitter. To elaborate, Japanese scientists discovered umami taste receptors on the human tongue along with the other basic tastes.

These five basic tastes are crucial to food safety and quality. For instance, sweet foods alert you to the consumption of carbohydrates, which should energize you. Bitter foods make you consider if something is toxic. But what concerns us is umami, which signals to your brain that you've consumed protein and amino acids.

What Is the Flavor of Umami?

After all, you're here to understand the umami flavor. What is it if it isn't exactly sweet, sour, salty, and bitter? Umami is meaty and savory, with a very elemental yet complex taste. Additionally, it has a mild but lasting aftertaste.

To illustrate, it lasts longer than other basic tastes, spreads all over the tongue, and has this mouthwatering sensation. Not to mention, it stimulates the throat, roof, and back of the tongue.

What Does Umami Do to the Body?

Let's go into the science behind the umami taste. Simply put, the meaty and savory flavor comes from glutamate, guanylate, and inosinate. Glutamate is either unbound or bound to other amino acids in proteins; the unbound ones are the route of this umami taste.

To illustrate, they bind to your taste receptors. This explains the savory taste, which stimulates your body to secrete more saliva and digestive liquids. Accordingly, it's ready to digest the proteins you've consumed.

Why Is Umami a Thing?

Let's look at the history of umami to understand how it came to be. In 1908, as the Japanese scientist Dr. Kikunae Ikeda was having Kombu dashi, a Kelp broth, he noticed its savory taste wasn't sweet, sour, salty, or bitter. So, he coined the term "umami" to describe this fifth basic taste.

In 1985, the Umami International Symposium assessed umami according to a set criteria. Its research confirmed that umami has its distinct receptors on the taste buds and that it's an independent flavor rather than the result of combining other tastes.

Accordingly, the Society declared "umami" the scientific term for this distinct taste category, the fifth flavor. And with the rise in research about it, the popularity of umami increased.

What Food Has the Most Umami?

This is a good question because the umami taste may or may not be subtle. So, we'll pinpoint the best examples of umami foods.
Firstly, aged cheeses have high levels of glutamate because they have more broken-down proteins than regular ones, which inherently means more free glutamate and umami. In other words, they're fermented foods that naturally have the taste of umami.

Although you can eat cheese on its own, you can also find such umami-rich foods in other dishes. For example, you can enjoy pasta with parmesan cheese on top or a charcuterie board with various cheeses.

Secondly, tomatoes are some of the main umami foods, thanks to their high glutamic acid ratio. Like cheese, they're naturally umami rich. This also applies to fire-roasted tomatoes. Either type of tomato enhances the original flavors of many foods, such as pasta and pizza.

Thirdly, meats, including steak and beef, are a source of IMP. When you combine them with amino acids, this creates a synergistic effect, which enhances the umami taste. Additionally, when you cure meat, it breaks down its proteins and creates free glutamate compounds. Cooked meats are also umami-rich foods. We can't say the same for fresh meat, though.

Fourthly, believe it or not, breast milk has high levels of amino acids, which gives it the taste of umami. Just think about how breast milk is the first form of nutrition a baby may receive and their first taste memory, which explains why they might subconsciously look for it throughout their adult life.

What Are Examples of Umami Foods?

Now that we've covered the main foods where you can taste umami, we'll mention some other foods with the fifth taste.

  • Seafood, including seaweeds, kombu seaweed, salmon, anchovies, and shellfish
  • Dried mushrooms
  • Shiitake mushrooms
  • Sautéed onions
  • Darkened bread crust
  • Miso soup (soybeans and barley or rice)
  • Soy sauce (soybeans and wheat)
  • Sake (rice)
  • Ketchup
  • Truffle oil
  • Milk
  • Ranch dressing
  • Green tea
  • Gravies
  • Broths
  • Fish sauce
  • Yeast extract (vegemite or marmite)
  • Ramen
  • Kimchi
  • Cabbage
  • Asparagus
Umami Recipes

Do you want to taste umami but need some recipe inspiration? Here are some recommendations involving the fifth taste.

  • Butter Poaches Abalone: Nick Lee developed this umami dish, which earned him the World Umami Cooking Competition. This dish reflects his Eastern and Western influences and features many umami ingredients, including soy sauce, shiitake mushrooms, kombu, Reggiano, Parmigiano, and tomatoes.
  • Black Garlic Risotto: You'll love the impeccable taste of this dish, featuring fermented black garlic, aged parmesan cheese, and dried porcini.
  • Mushroom Stuffed Cheeseburgers: The flavorful recipe requires mushrooms, which you can sauté and broil or grill to get the perfect golden color!
  • Slow-Cooker Asian Short Ribs: Indulge in a juicy meat dish with these slowly cooked short ribs. The recipe features green cabbage, beef, and low-sodium soy sauce.
  • Soufflé Pancakes With Miso Mushrooms: Delve into the Japanese cuisine with these Japanese-inspired pancakes. The fifth taste comes into play when you add the miso mushrooms.
  • Crab Curry With Fish Sauce: This Thai recipe is rich in umami, thanks to its fish sauce and crab meat.
  • Truffle French Fries With Parmesan Cheese: The grated cheese gives these delicious crispy fries the right salty taste!
  • Homemade Tomato Sauce: This is an umami dish where three umami ingredients magnify the savory flavor of umami, and they are anchovy paste, tomato paste, and Worcestershire sauce.
  • Miso Chicken Noodle Soup: The quick chicken soup will spoil your taste buds, thanks to its umami ingredients. We're talking chicken broth, miso paste, soy sauce, cooked chicken, and kimchi.
  • Gravy: Here's a gravy recipe that employs the synergistic effect. In other words, you get to fortify the stock and even add MSG and umami powder to the gravy!
How Do You Make Umami in Food?



We've talked about some fermented foods, particularly aged cheeses. But what is fermentation? As we've said, fermentation involves the breaking down of proteins that contain glutamic acid into amino acids to produce free glutamate.
This process gives fermented foods that umami flavor. Understandably, it's the least accessible, but it's highly effective, letting enzymes and microbes do the heavy lifting. Also, if you want to make the taste of umami stronger, try pairing such fermented foods with other non-fermented ones.
Examples of fermentation include turning soybeans into soy sauce, rice into sake, and milk into cheese and even peppers into a fermented hot sauce. Also, if we go back to ancient Europe, Greeks, Romans, and Phoenicians used garum, a fermented fish sauce.
As for Chinese people, they used soy sauce and fermented fish sauces in the third century. Finally, medieval Arab and Byzantine cuisines used Glutamate-rich fermented barley sauces.
Finally, we can't discuss fermentation without discussing MSG as an additive or flavor enhancer. Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is the sodium salt of the amino acid, particularly glutamic acid. As the purest form of the taste, it has a more intense umami flavor than umami-rich ingredients like soy sauce.
Still, what does MSG have to do with fermentation? Well, where food manufacturers used to get the additive from seaweed broths, now they ferment sugarcane and starch to produce it. A similar process produces vinegar, yogurt, and wine.


Yes, heating up food breaks down protein into amino acids and transforms glutamic acid into free glutamates, highlighting the umami taste. Additionally, you can let it get hot enough to get a non-enzymatic browning (known as the Maillard reaction). This is the chemical reaction between reducing sugars and amino acids, which leaves the taste of umami and other flavors behind.
To exemplify, you might cook meat, get the bread's crust brown, or sauté onions. Also, let's not forget all the baked goodies and cookies, which get the milliard browning reaction because of the sugar and flour.

Using Umami-Rich Ingredients

The easiest way to taste umami is by eating umami foods or using umami ingredients in your cooking. In fact, the right combination of umami-rich ingredients will give you the perfect pleasant savory taste. Of course, we're talking foods with glutamic acid, Alanine, Aspartic acid, and proline, which your taste buds associate with the fifth taste.
Umami flavor is essentially the dish's original flavor intensified. So, using such ingredients can increase your dishes' sweetness, bitterness, or other tastes.
For instance, you can combine equal parts glutamate (vegetables) and inosinate (meat) to get a more intense umami taste by 7 to 8 times! How cool is that?
According to Akira Kuninaka, glutamate and ribonucleotides have a synergistic effect together. He says, "The synergy between the two comes from an effect where the intensity of the umami flavor in a dish is greater than expected from the individual ingredients alone."
As for the Nucleotides that have a synergistic effect, you can find IMP in seafood and meat and GMP in dried mushrooms.
Umami ingredients include tomatoes, parmesan cheese, seaweed, meats, mushrooms, some hot sauce, ketchup, and more. And if that isn't enough, you can get yourself MSG and add it to your dishes for some umami bombs!

Tip: Although these three methods are the main ones, there are others, such as curing and aging, which are similar to fermenting in that they involve the breakdown of proteins.

Is the Umami Basic Taste Safe?

It's only fair to consider the potential health risks of the fifth taste. However, let's remember that it's, in fact, a taste rather than an ingredient. So, its safety depends entirely on its foods and condiments. Unfortunately, many are high in sodium, which renders them unhealthy. Think pork, beef, soy sauce, ketchup, and cured meats.
Nonetheless, other umami foods have a high nutritional value, such as cabbage, ripe tomatoes, asparagus, mushrooms, kimchi, and shellfish.
So, what's our verdict on this basic taste? The golden rule is to eat everything in moderation, so there's no need to cut out umami foods. Also, check the food labels to monitor sodium levels.

Is Monosodium Glutamate Safe?

There's a long-standing myth that MSG is unsafe, and we can trace it back to a letter by the New England Journal of Medicine. The food enhancer was typically associated with nausea, headaches, migraines, sweating, high heartbeat rates, and other health issues. However, there's no clear evidence to support this claim.

To set the record straight, the Food and Drug Administration notes that foods with MSG are "generally recognized as safe." Additionally, an Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics report called "Umami: The Science and Lore of Healthy Eating" mirrors the same idea.

To elaborate, it says, "Along with recent intensive studies, the FDA has repeatedly confirmed the safety of MSG at levels normally consumed by the general population. Consistent with the FDA's report, our evidence-based analysis from 1995 onwards also showed no clear evidence linking MSG consumption to any serious, potential adverse reactions."

With that said, the concerns about Monosodium Glutamate aren't entirely baseless. The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) examined MSG in the 1990s. As a result, it concluded that sensitive individuals might experience mild, short-term, and transient symptoms if they consume three or more grams of MSG with no food.

In other words, they might get flushing, numbness, tingling, drowsiness, headaches, and palpitations. However, the chances of that happening are very minimal. After all, a regular food serving with MSG has about 0.5 grams of the food enhancer, which is safe.

Not only is the additive safe, but it can be beneficial! For example, an excellent health benefit of monosodium glutamate is that it can help you cut down your salt intake.

Table salt (Sodium Chloride) is one of the main reasons of cardiovascular disease. In 2013, the WHO's World Health Assembly approved nine international voluntary targets to control and avoid chronic illnesses. One of these goals was to reduce the salt intake by 30% by 2025 to help with blood pressure and decrease the risk of strokes and coronary heart diseases.

In line with that, the WHO recommends consuming under 5 grams of salt a day (sodium two g/day). This is where Monosodium Glutamate comes in, as it can give you that salty or meaty flavor without adding salt. After all, MSG has 2/3 less sodium, giving you various low sodium offerings. This way, you get the deliciousness of your salty foods without the risks.

No, umami is a naturally existing taste in some foods, and its taste receptors were identified by the Japanese scientist Kikunae Ikeda. Afterward, he created MSG, an additive and seasoning, to add the umami taste to any dish or make it stronger.

Mouth Feel is the feeling you get after consuming certain foods where the taste envelops the inside of your mouth and spreads everywhere. It's also associated with a lasting aftertaste.

Luckily, the FDA demands clear labeling on products with Monosodium Glutamate from food manufacturers. So, check food labels for the additive and other ingredients that naturally contain Monosodium Glutamate, such as:

  • Spices and flavoring
  • Yeast extract
  • Autolyzed yeast
  • Hydrolyzed protein
  • Protein isolate
  • Sodium caseinate
  • Calcium caseinate
  • Soy extract
  • Glutamate
Final Thoughts

Ultimately, we hope you've found our answer to the question "what is umami?" satisfactory, the most complex of the five basic tastes. The savory and separate taste deepens the original taste of a dish and has a lingering aftertaste. Additionally, the fifth taste stimulates your body to create saliva and digestive juices, thus preparing to digest proteins.
As for MSG, it's the additive you can use to season any dishes, which delivers on the salty umami taste. With umami enriching the flavor of so many recipes, can you see its role in many of your favorite foods?

Exploring African Sauces and Spices

African cuisine is rich and versatile, giving us a plethora of unique culinary experiences. We have flavors from North Africa, Southern Africa, Central Africa, Eastern Africa, and Western Africa. Still, some spices and sauces are common in many of them, and they surely create the most mind-blowing blends.
Making homemade hot sauce

Let's take a journey through the different African sauce options and must-have condiments that'll surely blow you away!

West African Pepper Sauce
West African Sauce Ingredients- African Sauces

Common in West Africa, African pepper sauce acts as a dipping sauce, condiment, or appetizer component, making it super versatile. The desired consistency is typically not too smooth and somewhat coarse.
The West African pepper sauce is almost a base for numerous Nigerian spicy dishes. You'll usually find it alongside fish, boiled eggs, rice, noodles, pasta, yams, puff-puff (fried dough), and grilled meat.
The main ingredient in this hot and spicy sauce is, naturally, hot peppers, which could be scotch bonnet peppers, habanero peppers, Bird’s Eye chilies, and other hot peppers.
Other common West African pepper sauce ingredients are salt, ginger, vegetable oil, onions, garlic notes, red bell peppers, basil, Maggi, stock cubes, and a little vinegar. Also, you can add tomatoes to accommodate your spice tolerance and taste buds.
Last but not least, you can make the African pepper sauce in batches and store it in the fridge for about a week. A good tip is to add a thin layer of oil on top of the pepper mixture in an airtight container or a mason jar, sealing it off from the surrounding air. This way, it'll remain good for 2 to 3 weeks.


Harissa is another spicy and sour condiment from Tunisia, and it's becoming more popular in North America. You can serve it in sandwiches or alongside couscous, sardine mzeouej, eggs, beans, lamb, beef, goat, and poultry. Additionally, you can use it to marinate chicken, fish, and lamb. Not to mention, you can add it to a soup or stew to give it extra flavor.

The Tunisian blended mixture requires roasted red peppers (or dried hot chilies) as their main ingredient. It's also made with salt, mint, olive oil, cumin, garlic, coriander seeds, and caraway seeds.

Piri Piri

Piri Piri is a spicy sauce created by Portuguese settlers from Mozambique or Angola, the history is a bit murky. It's popular in South Africa, Australia, and Canada. The unique name comes from the Swahili word Pili Pili, meaning pepper. The pepper used is also called bird's eye chiles, birds eye chili, dried bird eye chili, and bird’s eye chilli.

This is the condiment to try if you want to test your spice tolerance! With only a hint of the pepper mixture, you can give your meal the needed heat and a savory taste. You can also rub it on chicken and meat. Another option is to season trinchado with it, a spicy beef dish.
To make this dish, you can combine peri-peri peppers, lemon peel, onions, black pepper, paprika, red wine vinegar, garlic, lemon, chili pepper, vinegar, oil, tarragon, oregano, citrus peel, and more. Or simply buy a bottle of Peri-Peri sauce and slather it on everything – make sure you grab an authentic South African one!


Shitto means "pepper" in the Ga language. So, it's a Ghanaian hot chili condiment served as a hot and spicy sauce with many traditional dishes, including fish and meat dishes, steamed white rice, green vegetables, fried plantains, and eba and waakye (which is a dish containing rice and beans).
Its main ingredient is hot chile peppers. The African sauce may contain vegetable oil, ginger, garlic, prawns, spices, crustaceans, and more. And you can either make it with tomatoes, onions, fresh peppers or oil, dried shrimp, and dried peppers.

Piments Ecrasés

Piments Ecrasés, which refers to crushed chili in Mauritian Creole, is a smooth paste found in Mauritius.
To make this hot sauce, mix the onions, chilies, and crushed ginger to create the spice paste. Then, add white vinegar to a small saucepan, then add some oil. Let it come to a simmer and then add in the paste.

You can stir-fry it in oil to suck the moisture out of it and elongate its shelf life. Afterward, you can serve it with a Mauritian dish! As for its ingredients, the African sauce has green or red chili peppers, crushed ginger, onions, vegetable oil or olive oil, and white vinegar.


Another North African sauce we have for you today is Chermoula, found in Morocco. It's a rough paste that people typically serve on top of fish or seafood to give them more flavor. Another way of cooking with Chermoula is to use it as dressing for salads or seasoning for meat and vegetables.
As a sauce, it's made of garlic, onions, cilantro, chilies, parsley, paprika, salt, saffron, pepper, lemon juice, olive oil, coriander, cumin, and chili peppers.

Filfel Chuma

If you're looking for a Libyan hot sauce, Filfel Chuma might be it. It's overpowering and fiery. But the best part of Filfel Chuma is its malleability, as you can control the heat level by adjusting the spice amount to accommodate your spice tolerance.
The sauce goes perfectly well with rice, eggs, beans, fish, and over-grilled meats. You might want to add it to hummus and yogurt or use it for salad dressing. Not to mention, Fiflel Chuma is excellent for seasoning vegetables, such as brussels sprouts, broccoli, asparagus, and cauliflower.
As for its ingredients, they include garlic, cumin, salt, oil, caraway, bell peppers, sweet paprika, cayenne pepper, and lemon juice.


Gabon brings us Dongo-Dongo, a sauce, soup, and distant relative of the famous Cajun-Creole gumbo. After all, gombo is the most used Central African word for Okra, and this is almost an okra soup.
Dongo-Dongo is the constant companion of Okra and may or may not be served with fish or meat. You might also find it served with starchy foods, including fufu, rice, Baton de Manioc, and chikwangue.
Now, how do you prepare the African sauce? As you'd expect, Okra is the main ingredient. Other ingredients are hot peppers, onions, garlic, Maggi, and bouillon cubes. You sautée these and add water. Then, mix the smoked fish, dried fish, or salted fish with the tomato paste.


If you visit Guinea, you might come across footi sauce. It's also popular in Senegal. This sauce is essentially a stew that's rich in tomatoes and Aubergine. Footi is traditionally served with rice, meat, or fufu, a traditional Guinean staple.
At its core, footi is an African sauce consisting of water, onions, eggplants, kidney beans, tomato sauce, and a bouillon cube. Let them slowly simmer for around three hours to get the desired consistency.


Each African spice brings something unique to the table (literally), so let's look at some of the main ones.

Grain of Paradise

Grain of Paradise goes by many other names, such as the alligator pepper and Aframomum melegueta. This aromatic spice is the seed of the Melegueta pepper plant and is native to West Africa. Also, its spice has a percentage of about 0.5 to 1% essential oil. Not to mention, it has a mix of peppery, pungent, and fruity flavors.
Grain of Paradise is used to season myriad dishes. It can also replace black pepper and give your dishes a more complex flavor. For instance, you can add it to spice cakes, spice rubs, gingerbread, braises, stews, curries, chilis, pulses, tomato paste, and more. Other uses include cultural ceremonies, so you'll find it used in baby naming ceremonies.


We bring you this traditional spice blend from Ethiopia and Eritrean that gives traditional dishes their kick. Berbere is a mix of dried spices. It isn't the hottest of spices but has a sweet, citrusy flavor and a bright red color.
You'll find it in Ethiopia's national dish, chicken stew, and stews made with vegetables or legumes. Not to mention, you can use Berbere to rub meat before you fry or grill it. And you can season cauliflower, kale, or vegetable-based dishes with it.
As for Bebere's key ingredients, it contains ground ginger, fenugreek, and red chili peppers. The African spice might contain cinnamon, peppercorns, cumin, allspice, cloves, cardamom, coriander, long pepper, koramima, ajwain seeds, and nigella seeds.

Ras El Hanout

Fresh from the African cuisine, we have Ras el Hanout. The Arabic word means 'head of the shop,' but it's understood as the top of the shelf. After all, you can't have a Morrocan grocery shop without Ras el Hanout!
The African spice complements rice, couscous, pasta, and slowly cooked stew. And we can't forget the mouthwatering flavor of lamb burgers and roasted chicken when you season them with this spice.
Ras el Hanout is a blended mixture of salt, coriander, cumin, cinnamon, cardamom, clove, ginger, black pepper, chili peppers, allspice, fenugreek, and more. This blend can be the product of combining over 50 distinct African spices!

African sauces and spices - Ras Al Hanout
Duqqa (Dukkah)

Duqqa is an authentic Egyptian coarse blend containing herbs, spices, and toasted nuts. Egyptians use it to season vegetables and meats. Otherwise, they mix it with olive oil to create a dip for bread and other foods. They may also add it to cheese.
Originally, Duqqa was viewed as peasant food, sustaining people throughout the day with its high fat and protein content.
But what is Duqqa made of exactly? It contains cumin, nuts, sesame seeds, hazelnuts, coriander seeds, almonds, pine nuts, salt, pepper, and pistachios. The use of these crushed nuts is what gives Quqqa its rough texture. In fact, the Egyptian Arabic word "Duqqa" comes from the verb "to crush" or "to pound."


Cloves are some of the most commonly used African spices. They're made from the dried buds of the clove tree, no surprise there.
Organic cloves come with a particular taste and incense, which is why they're used in the perfume industry. They have a tinge of sweetness mixed with bitterness, astringency, and heat.
When you cook meats, prepare sauces, or make stews, cloves can make them flavorful, and we can say the same for veggies, rice dishes, and soups. Last but not least, you might want to experiment with cloves in desserts, such as eggnog and pumpkin pie spice!


Cumin is another spice that grows in Africa and is frequently used in its cuisines. Ground cumin goes by many names, including cumin seasoning, spice, and powder.
Interestingly enough, cumin has its cultural significance. After all, legend says that if the bride and groom carry cumin seeds during their wedding ceremony, they'll be blessed with a life of joy and luck.
People use it to prepare soups, cook couscous and tajine, and season vegetables and meats. It also has some medical uses, such as treating coughs and colds.
Now, let's talk about a particular type of cumin. Alnif Cumin is named after a village called Alnif, where cumin grows extensively. However, the plant is originally from Asia. What you get to work with is the dried leaf and powder created by crushing the grains.


Chiles is a trademark of African cuisines. So, if you're delving into African cuisine, you might want to make friends with the spice. Dried chili peppers are used as is or made into a powder. Additionally, you can rehydrate them with hot water.
There are various types of dried peppers, including aji Amarillo chiles, aji paprika chiles, aji Panca chile, Byadgi chile, Calabrian chiles, and organic New Mexico chiles.

Garlic Variations

Garlic is used a lot in African cuisines. It may have a smooth sandy texture or a more granulated one. You can also roast granulated garlic to get a sweet and mild flavor instead of the usual savory garlic. But if you want the most texture, you've got to go with minced garlic. All of these variations are typically added to the meat.

Organic Ajwain

Ajwain is found in African, Middle Eastern, and Indian cooking. The spice is a mix of earthy, minty, and bitter tones. Its dominant taste means that it's only used in small quantities.
You can add it to meat, soups, rice, sauces, chicken, fish, beans, and bread. Additionally, Ajwain is used for medicinal purposes. You can boil it in water to help digestion and weight loss, reduce bloating and gas, and treat peptic ulcers and some sores.


Za'atar is a popular Middle Eastern spice, especially prevalent in Egypt. Its unique and versatile flavor is one you'll want to savor, boasting a mixture of citrus, bitterness, and sweetness. After all, it isn't every day that you come across a spice that you can rub on meat and sprinkle on popcorn!
Not to mention, za'atar is great for seasoning chicken, yogurt, eggs, cheese, and more. You'll want to try za'atar in flatbread, tahini, salads, and hummus.
When it comes to the spices in the ingredients, you make it by combining various dried herbs and spices. We're talking thyme, salt, sumac, marjoram, dried oregano, sesame seeds, dried dill, caraway seeds, and dried orange zest.

There are multiple functions of sauces. Firstly, they can be used as a garnish, to brighten up a dish.
Secondly, you can add a sauce to contrast the flavor of your recipe, so it might give a bland meal a hint of sharpness or tanginess.
Thirdly, you can make a dish more flavorful by highlighting its flavor by adding more depth.
Fourthly, sauces can make your food look good, giving it a coat or gloss.

Yes, the African hot sauce is a very hot sauce due to its main ingredient, hot peppers. Sometimes, people use scotch bonnet or habanero peppers. However, you can tone it down by using one pepper or take out the spiciness altogether by using red bell peppers instead.

You can use them in their dried state, crush them into a powder, or rehydrate them with hot water. Then, you can add the rehydrated peppers to a food processor to make a peppers puree. This is a tasty condiment to serve with tacos, sandwiches, and hamburgers.
But if you want to use whole dried peppers, you can add them to soups or stews and simply fish them out before serving

Final Words

Overall, each African sauce has its distinct texture, ingredients, taste, and spice level, but they make an excellent addition to numerous recipes. Sometimes, they may add flavor to soups and stews, be used to marinate chicken wings or meat, or be served as must-have condiments.
Many of them have some spiciness, which means that chili peppers tend to be their main ingredient. Regardless, the world of African sauces is flavorful, and you certainly don't want to miss out on them!

Which Hot Ones Celebrities Didn’t Shed a Tear

First We Feast's "Hot Ones" has been a smash hit since its creation. On this popular show, people can see their favorite celebrities talking about themselves and promoting their latest works while also being put through the wringer as they ingest the hottest sauces in the world.
Of course, some celebrities were champs and handled the heat without batting an eyelash, while others, well, let's just say they didn't come out looking very graceful. However, whether a win or fail, Hot One celebrities sure make the episode pretty entertaining.
So, if you're interested in knowing which celebrity guests were spice masters and which celebs cried like a baby, then keep on reading.
Paul Rudd - Hot Ones
Hot Ones Celebrities Who Breezed Through the Show

It's not easy to eat some of the spiciest hot sauces in the world without it affecting you in some way or another. You'll either start to cough and splutter, or you'll start sweating and tearing up.
However, the following Hot Ones celebrities barely reacted to the mind-numbingly spicy wings, which is honestly quite a feat in and of itself. So, let's take a look at some of the amazing guests who managed to complete the challenge without shedding a single tear.


Eating spicy wings posed no challenge to singer-songwriter Lorde. In fact, she sailed through the hot wings challenge with so much ease that she felt as if she was "being boring."

While most guests on Hot Ones are put through the wringer as they taste every sauce, Lorde had such a good poker face that host Sean Evans kept looking for any sign that she may be struggling.

But alas, Lorde was completely at ease, going as far as laughing at some of the sauces and picking out specific flavors in them.

Honestly, the experience was like watching a true spice master in action. Yes, others may have completed the Hot Ones challenge before her, but in my eyes, Lorde was the first to complete it with such finesse.

Paul Rudd

Paul Rudd's Hot Ones episode was absolutely legendary. Not only did he have great chemistry with host Sean Evans, but his comments were so hilarious that one actually became a viral meme all over the internet.
Still, as popular as the episode was, Hot Ones fans seem to forget how well Paul handled the heat. He went through all the ten hot wings like a pro, only pausing now and then to acknowledge the spiciness.
And as if that wasn't enough, he even took it a step further by creating a dip made of every single hot sauce he could get his hands on for the final wing. I mean, how badass is that? Oh, and did I mention that he usually popped the whole wing into his mouth?
Overall, it's safe to say that Paul Rudd no doubt earned his place in the Hot Ones hall of fame.

Neil deGrasse Tyson

Famous astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson sure made a bang when he appeared on Hot Ones. The combination of hot questions and even hotter wings didn't make him falter in the least, which isn't something you can say for a lot of people.
Honestly, he was able to answer numerous questions about the universe without missing a beat, all while eating hot wings doused in the spiciest hot sauces in the world.
In fact, rather than tearing up and sputtering while eating the Mad Dog 357 hot sauce with a Scoville rate of about 350,000, he said that he quite liked this sauce as the heat uniformly spread and fingered all his mouth. I mean, talk about composure.
Even after taking the last dab, he was able to share his vast scientific knowledge about the universe with grace and eloquence.
Still, as impressive as all these instances are, it doesn't compare to when he had not one but TWO bites of the infamous Da bomb sauce, sparking his iconic line of, "I took two bites, b****."

Rachael Ray

Chef, TV host and author Rachael Ray really knocked it out of the park when it came to her spice tolerance.
Since she's very particular when it comes to wings, she preferred not to have any and instead consumed the hot sauce straight from a spoon. I mean, I would've preferred to have the chicken wings to lessen the heat a bit, but well, I guess I'm not as tough as Rachael Ray.
As crazy as eating pure hot sauce is to me, Rachael was able to push through each sauce like it was nothing, all the way to the last dab. And she didn't forget to tease host Sean Evans while she was doing it.
Now that's what I call a true spice champion.

Charlize Theron

Charlize Theron's high spice resistance was a totally unexpected surprise. While the academy award winner is known for having cool and ferocious movie roles, I never would've guessed that she was as badass in real life.
Yes, she struggled a bit with the extremely spicy wings, but she barely showed it. She didn't run around the set or cry. She just took it like a champ, and she made us all laugh along the way. I mean, would you be able to make jokes when your tongue feels as if it's on fire? I think not.
Even when on her final wing, she was absolutely hilarious - and maybe slightly delirious from the pain- and that earned her a place on this list.

Guy Fieri

Another guest who was surprisingly as strong as steel in the face of hot food is none other than Guy Fieri. The host of Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives breezed through the spicy wings challenge and barely showed any reaction to the crazy spicy wings. That's despite claiming in the beginning that he wasn't an "extreme hot guy."
Now, he may have mentioned some "eyeball sweat" forming when he popped the Mad Dog 357 wing into his mouth, but I saw no tears rolling down his cheeks, even on the last dab. This is one of the Hot Ones celebrities who can handle the heat!
And if his spicy stamina wasn't enough to keep you interested in the episode, his lively Hollywood stories about cooking with Drake and having fun with Snoop Dogg will do the trick.

Padma Lakshmi

Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi proved to be a true champ when it comes to spicy food. I mean, the lady makes her own hot sauce, so can you really be surprised?
She was so good at handling the heat that her episode was titled "Padma Lakshmi Gracefully Destroys Spicy Wings." So, what more proof do you need?
She kept smiling through the interview like the spice was nothing, and even when she took a sip of milk, she was totally laid-back, wildly contrasting to the other guests who gulped their milk out of sheer desperation.
Not only that, but she also took a shot of official Hot Ones sauce without showing any reaction. Sure, she admitted that the last few wings were pretty hot, but she finished them all without breaking a sweat.
Sean was so impressed by her performance that he applauded her and told her that she was much tougher than a lot of the rappers and football players who came on the show.

Daniel Radcliffe

Turns out, our favorite boy wizard has a pretty magical spice tolerance, which doesn't really surprise me, to tell the truth. I mean, if you can win against Voldemort, some spicy chicken wings would be nothing in comparison.
Truly, Daniel aced the Hot Ones challenge to the point that it seemed Sean was the one who was having trouble with the heat.
As he was talking, he mentioned that he's generally a fan of spicy food, but he doesn't really know how much he can take as he never really applied the Scoville scale to what he ate before.
However, he turned out to be quite good at handling his spice, going as far as double dipping and adding Da Bomb hot sauce to the last dab on his last wing. This is one of the Hot Ones celebrities who can handle the heat!

Dave Grohl

You won't find a Hot Ones episode as wholesome as Dave Grohl's. The Foo Fighters singer came into the show wanting to perform as well as Lorde, and man, did he nail it.
He went through the hot wings like a hot knife through butter, even when he started to get to the spiciest wings the show has to offer.
And even more impressively, he made and drank his own cocktails between the wings, which in my opinion, doesn't seem to be that smart of a combination, but he seemed to enjoy it well enough.
Finally, after he dominated the last dab, he revealed that he's a Hot Ones superfan and that coming on this show was one of his bucket list items.

Jeremy Renner

Jeremy Renner was as strong as the hero he plays during his Hot Ones interview. The American actor admitted in the beginning that he loves spicy foods and he proved his love by passing the challenge with flying colors.
While he may have needed to gulp some water to try to soothe the fires going on in his mouth, he didn't show any other signs of weakness.
As a matter of fact, even though he accidently put a little too much hot sauce on the wing, he still took a double bite, cementing his place as one of the Hot Ones celebrities in the Hot Ones hall of fame.


Koreans are known for their love of spicy food and overall amazing spice tolerance, and man, did CL live up to that reputation.
While the last couple of wings almost got her, she still kept her tears in and handled the heat with grace and dignity. She answered all the questions without missing a beat, though she hilariously blamed her staff near the end for signing her up on this show.
Sure, she drank a considerable amount of milk throughout the interview, and her face got a little red, but other than that, she was as cool as a cucumber, and she completed the last dab beautifully.

Celebs Who Couldn't Keep Their Tears in Check
Elijah Wood

Unfortunately, Elijah Wood didn't make the cut as one of our Hot Ones celebrities who could handle the spice, though it was a close thing. Though the Lord of the Rings actor handled the spicy wings fairly well in the beginning, at one point during the Da Bomb sauce, a few tears started to roll down his face.
I can't really determine if that was because of the fire going on his mouth or because he rubbed his face with a napkin that probably had some hot sauce remnants on it, but either way, the tears came down. However, he did finish the challenge, and that's why he's in our honorable mentions.
Still, all in all, he took the spiciness surprisingly well, and I cracked up when he said that the wings tasted like the lava of Mount Doom.

Kevin Hart

Stand-up comedian and actor Kevin Hart is another guest that just barely missed the cut.
Again, he may have had his eyes well up, but he was still able to go all the way to the last dab. To be honest, there was nothing calm or graceful about how he did it, though it was absolutely hilarious.
After his last wing, he said he felt as if he was drunk and that something was just not right with him. Still, he was able to plug his gigs at the end of the show, and he praised the idea of the show and the person who came up with it.

Gordon Ramsay

Chef and television host Gordon Ramsay was another celeb who hilariously completed the Hot Ones challenge.
He came to the show prepared, bringing in things that he thought would soothe the heat like Petp Bismol and lemon juice, lime juice, and even donuts. Watching him as he tried all of these things to get through each round was hysterically funny, and you know he Gordon gets when he starts being bothered. Still, he ultimately shed a few tears, but I won't let it taint the chef-from-hell image he worked so hard to build.

Shaquille O'Neal

For someone who literally played on a team with the word "heat' in it, Shaq should've handled the heat much better than what he showed on the Hot Ones interview series.
Despite constantly drinking from a gallon of milk, the legendary basketball player started coughing and tearing up as he experienced the full glory of the liquid rage. But hey, I get it. It can happen to the best of us.
However, Shaq took it a step further and made a bet with Sean to avoid eating that round's wing. Unfortunately, Sean lost, and Shaq won, but ultimately, he still lost by joining the Hot Ones wall of shame.

Here Are a Few Other Celebrities on the Hot Ones wall of Shame
  1. Taraji P. Henson
  2. Tyra Banks
  3. Ricky Gervais
  4. Lil Yachty
  5. Jim Gaffigan
  6. Bobby Lee
  7. DJ Khaled

For me, it's a toss-up between Paul Rudd, Tom Holland, and Gordon Ramsay. They were all funny in their own way, and I loved each of their episodes.

Hot Ones was created by Christopher Schonberger and Sean Evans. Together with Sean's younger brother, they come up with the best possible questions for their guests by researching their previous interviews and social media accounts.

Yes. Sean Evans eats every single wing his guest eats, which is probably how he's now become so good at handling even the spiciest of sauces.

In a Nutshell

Whether it's a professional wrestler, actor, rapper, podcast host, or film producer, all usually eventually succumb to the heat. However, there are a few that are barely affected by the spice and rise above the others.
Paul Rudd, Rachel Ray, Charlize Theron, Neil deGrasse Tyson, and Lorde are just some of those few Hot One's celebrities who proved to have an awe-inspiring resistance to spice.
So, make sure to watch their episodes on YouTube to see their awesomeness. And check out some of the failures as well, as they're equally, if not more, entertaining.

South African Braai: How to Barbecue Like a South African

South Africans share a love of braaing that is prevalent across all cultures. It has even spread to other parts of the globe, causing an international buzz surrounding this South African way of cooking. It even has its own show! In fact, if you ever step foot in Cape town or any other South African city, you'll be hard-pressed to find South Africans not braaing.
So, as incredible as braaing sounds, what actually does it mean? Moreover, what do you need to braai like South Africans? Keep on reading, and you'll discover all you need to know about the art of the South African braai.
What Is a South African Barbecue Called?

South African barbecue, also known as Braai, has no equivalent in the world. The word ‘braai’ originated from the Dutch word ‘braden’ which means to roast or bbq. This happened when South Africa was an old dutch colony, and over the years, ‘braden’ transformed into the Afrikaans ‘braai’.
Still, don't go thinking that braai is only found in South Africa. This mouth-watering barbequing technique is also found in other African countries like Botswana, Namibia, Malawi, Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Zambia, and Lesotho.

What Is a Braai in South Africa?

So, now that you know that South African barbeque is called braai. Still, what exactly is braai?
Well, quite simply, braai is a way to cook and roast meat using aromatic wood. Braai can also be used to refer to a long social gathering with a braai taking place in the background. Just think of your traditional American barbeque, and replace the gas/electrical grill with a wood fire pit.
The beauty of braai comes from making a wood fire and then tending that fire meticulously to produce the most succulent and aromatic dishes. Add to that a few funny stories and a glass of white wine, beer, or the classic South African drink - brandy and coke, and you've got yourself the perfect summer day.

Do You Have to Use Wood in South African Braai?

Nothing brings out the best flavors of meat than the right type of wood. That's exactly why using wood is considered the traditional and most authentic way of braaing. Yes, sometimes South Africans braai using charcoal instead of wood, but that's only for convenience, and some see this as cheating.

Still, beware that braai can go on for a long time. It's not a simple affair that takes a couple of hours. There's even a designated braai master whose job is tending the fire and watching the meat.

However, if you think of braai as more of a social gathering and less of a place to eat, you'll end up having the best time of your life. That's certainly why the locals throw a braai every chance they get.

Time and Place for South African Braai

Birthdays, graduations, engagements, and national holidays serve as perfect occasions to host a braai with your family and friends. There's even a specific day of the year in South Africa that's designated for braaing. It's officially called Heritage Day, but everyone refers to it as Braai Day.
Oh, and by the way, even if you don't have any occasions lined up, you can still braai on a lazy Sunday afternoon or any other day you want. Honestly, braaing can be done any place, any time, provided you have the right tools, and you know what you're doing.

Types of South African Braai

Generally, there are two types of South African Braai, and the host will always let his guests know beforehand which type it is.

The first is the "Chop 'n Drop". This is a casual braai in which the guests need to bring their own meat and drinks. However, the host will provide everything else, from salads and snacks to grills and fuel.

On the other hand, in a "Bring 'n Braai," the host will only provide you with a fire and gathering place. All the other things have to be brought by the guests.

So, in a "Bring 'n Braai," you won't be getting things for yourself. Rather, you'll be contributing with various items that all guests will enjoy. Accordingly, in a "Bring' n braai," you should provide a type of meat, one side dish or salad, and any kind of beverage. You can go the extra mile and get dessert as well, but make sure to get enough for all the other guests.

What Do You Need for a South African Braai?

If you're going to be hosting your own South African braai, you need to have a couple of things on hand. The trick to braai lies in possessing the right equipment. So, let's take a look at the essentials of traditional braai and take your first step at becoming a braai master.

South African Braai Show

Grill/Fire Pit

You guessed it. Having a good wood-fire grill is critical for South African braai. It fits perfectly in designated indoor braai areas, and usually, braai masters have more than one grill going to cook various dishes. However, if you're going to be braaing outside under the blue sky, then an open pit-fire will be just as great.


As you know by now, wood is indispensable for South African braai. Without it, you can't achieve that wonderful smoky taste that'll leave you licking your fingers.
Nevertheless, you can't go using any type of wood you find lying about. Certain types of wood will make or break your braai, so you have to make sure you choose the right one.
Some of the approved wood varieties for braai include:

  • Rooikrans, aka Red Garland: This wood burns quite fast and leaves you with excellent, lasting coals.
  • Kameeldoring, aka camel thorn: Kameeldorning burns slowly, but it burns hot.
  • Wingerd, aka vine wood: This wood is great for starting fires and adding aromas and flavors to the dishes. However, since it burns very fast, it won't leave you with lasting coals.
  • Applewood: Applewood is perfect for giving your meat a sweet, aromatic flavor. However, it can be hard to come by, so look for another wood if that's the case for you.
  • Mopani: If you want to get scorching hot coals that'll last for a long time, then Mopani should be your go-to. While this wood can be hard to get burning, once it gets going, it'll produce intensely-hot coals in no time at all.
  • Sekelbos: Similar to Mopani, Sekelbos is dry and hardy wood. Accordingly, it'll burn for a long time with intense heat. And since it has natural oils within it, it'll give you braai meat an amazing smoking flavor and aroma that's to die for.
  • Black Wattle: This wood is considered an invasive species, so using it for braai is greatly encouraged. It can produce hit, long-lasting fires, which makes them perfect for braaing.
  • Pinewood: If pinewood is easily available where you're from, then you can use it for starting your braai fire. However, pinewood can't be the main firewood of your braai, so look for another wood to go with it.
TIP: You can use charcoal if you're pressed for time. Although, your braai meat won't turn out as good as it could be. However, charcoal beats gas any day, which is a BIG no-no in South African braai.
Cooking Utensils and Other Equipment

It goes without saying that you'll need some long grill tongs since fire will be involved. A sharp and sturdy cleaver is also a must to cut up and divide your meat. Additionally, buy yourself some long skewers, a spray bottle, as well as a large grill basket. You'll also need a cured or well-greased grill to prevent your food from sticking to your grill grates like a piece of gum.
And of course, to get the fire started in the first place, you'll need some matches and firelighters. You can also make do with a gas torch but use it carefully.
Most importantly, whether you're cooking indoors or outdoors, make sure you have a fire extinguisher at hand. If left unmonitored, braai fires, especially in open pits, can accidentally get out of control. So it's best you know how to use a fire extinguisher before attempting your first braai.

TIP: You can prevent your meat from sticking to the grill by rubbing half an onion all over the grill.
Braai Customs and Etiquette

Most South Africans know the customs and etiquette of a braai. However, for others who weren't raised in South African households, getting things right in a braai can be kind of challenging. Accordingly, you'll find below the do's and don't of a South African braai. So, make sure to memorize them before your next braai.


Things to Do

As the Host

As a host, you don't have to do much but set up and make sure your guests are enjoying themselves.
However, as a pitmaster, you need to make sure you get the best quality meat and ingredients. You also have to marinate the meat beforehand. A typical marinade often includes olive oil, lemon juice, coriander seeds, curry powder, as well as salt and black pepper. Or, to make life a lot easier, just grab some Southern Braai Sauce and you are good to go!
Finally, you should prepare your grill and firewood. Make sure you have tinder, kindling, and large logs to last you through the whole event. And needless to say, you have the essential role of starting and maintaining the fire.

TIP: Try to build a fire on one side of the grill, and once the hot coals form, move them to where you'll be cooking.

As a Guest

When going to a braai, it's a good idea to bring flowers or a small gift to thank your host. You should also ask the host what you need to bring and actually bring it when you come. And, of course, bringing extras will never hurt.
Keeping the pitmaster company is good manners, and so is complimenting them for their marinade and grilling technique. You should also top up their drink and help them set and clear the table.

Things to Avoid

As the Host

If you want to do justice to the South African tradition, then you should never use a gas grill. Moreover, you shouldn't use paraffin or lighter fluids to start the fire. Matches or lighters will be more than enough.

As a Guest

There’s an Afrikaans saying that goes: “Jy krap nie aan ‘n ander man se vuur nie”. This translates into "Don't mess around with another man's fire."

Accordingly, if you're ever invited to a braai, you should never do a thing as rude as giving advice to the pitmaster or trying to take over his place. Remember this and remember it well: backseat braaing is never welcomed or allowed, so don't get your own tongs and start meddling.
Obviously, you should never complain about the music or bring extra people without informing your host first.

And as a final piece of advice, don't arrive hungry if you can. Waiting for the fire to generate the required heat takes time, and so does waiting for the meat to cook. So, don't just stand in a corner waiting for the food like a loner. Spread out and socialize with the other guests, and swap stories and enjoy yourself until the food is ready.

Snacks and Grilling Options in a Braai

Boerewors, Afrikaans for farmer's sausage, is a traditional sausage typically served in braais. It's made out of pork and beef mixture or just beef that is coarsely ground for a chunky texture.

"Farmer's sausage" is seasoned with vinegar, salt, coriander, cloves, nutmeg, black pepper, and other wonderful spices. Then, they're rolled into a coil, grilled as is, and served with bread and caramelized onions.

Biltong and Droewors are other trademarks of South African cuisine that are commonly seen at a braai. Biltong and Droewors are types of dried, cured meat that is specially seasoned and served as snacks in a braai. They're typically made out of beef, but occasionally they can be made of ostrich, impala, or game meat.

Lamb chops from the Karoo region are another favorite in braais. The lamb is marinated with garlic, thyme, and rosemary and then tossed on the grill until the meat gets an appetizing herb-like aroma.

Similarly, ostrich steaks are another local favorite, though some foreigners may be surprised at the dish's origin. Thankfully, traditional steaks, chicken kebabs, and grilled seafood are available for the less adventurous individuals, though chicken is usually considered a salad in the eyes of braai purists.


Finally, you can find the popular Roosterkoek in any braai. This "grill cake" is simply the traditional bread served at braais alongside the various meat dishes. It consists of bread dough cooked over the grill until they turn golden.
You can also find other side dishes in braais like mashed potatoes, crayfish tails, pap (maize porridge), chips' n dips, and good ol' Braaibroodjie, which is basically a grilled sandwich with tomatoes and cheddar cheese.


South Africa is known for a variety of food, including dishes like sosatie, vetkoek, mealie pap, biltong, droëwors, and more. However, dishes served in braais are probably the most famous (and most delicious).

Braai is pronounced like bye, but add an "r" after the "b."

Absolutely. Braaiing isn't just for the warm weather. In fact, many South Africans will braai rain or shine, unlike American BBQs. As long as you've got a covered patio, this important cultural event can occur in any weather.

Heritage day is a national holiday in South Africa that falls on September 24th. It's meant to celebrate the cultural diversity of South Africa, and many South Africans take to braaing this day.

Final Words

Good food is easy to come by nowadays, but there's nothing quite like meat cooked over a wood fire pit. Honestly, South African braai isn't just a meal; it's a whole experience.
Though a braai can have some strict rules, the event itself is quite lax and enjoyable, and you're bound to taste the best barbeque you've ever had in your life there.

A New Hot Collab with Banded Future!

African Dream Foods is so excited to announce that we are collaborating with Banded Future and are featured in their new summer hit “Sauce”!
Who is Banded Future?

Banded Future is an American hip-hop duo formed in 2021 in Los Angeles, California, consisting of rappers/singers Zap Rath and Jericho Law. In addition to their intricate lyrics, catchy melodies, and positive messages, the duo is best known for their musical abilities as both members play over a dozen musical instruments. The name Banded Future has several meanings. It projects the ideal of a more unified world. The name also refers to the duo earning their "bands" or stripes as successful veterans in the entertainment industry.

Why should you keep an eye on them?

In less than 18 months, singer Jericho Law and rapper Zap Rath have won 3 international awards for their music.

Zap Rath also had a surprise cameo appearance in Doja Cat’s “Vegas” music video. “It was a chaotic experience,” says Zap. “I knew how to play so many instruments that they didn’t know which one to give me. Then, they handed me a guitar, and it was just me and her!”

Zap has also been spotted in the music videos of several other well-known performers, including Camila Cabello and Action Bronson.

The duo has parlayed their success into their current California Dreamin’ Tour, and they have been traveling since May 2022, performing in front of audiences from San Francisco to San Diego.

How is African Dream Foods involved in “Sauce”?

Banded Future’s new single “Sauce” is a high-energy groove that blurs the lines between the Latin, hip hop, and EDM genres. It also crosses geographic borders with collaborators from two different continents joining in to push the song to more audiences.

The “Sauce” single and music video feature Shelly, an incredible singer from Colombia whose vocals are reminiscent of popular Colombian artist and music industry veteran Shakira. “We were immediately amazed not only by her voice but also by her professionalism as an independent artist,” says Jericho. And, with nearly 32,000 Instagram followers, Shelly’s audience has been a significant boost for the song.

African Dream Food’s founder David Schmunk met Banded Future at the First Annual West Coast Hot Sauce Experience in San Diego. After Banded Future explained the concept of “Sauce,” David was immediately intrigued.

African Dream Foods has since signed on to be the official sponsor of the "Sauce" music video, and this has only added more fuel to the fire of this release. “We think ‘Sauce’ will be a summer hit,” says David, “and through this, we are looking forward to gaining more awareness not just about our amazing African flavors but about our animal conservation mission.”

With collaborators from three countries, this is undoubtedly a powerful and innovative joint venture for the entertainment industry to watch. And if Banded Future continues to produce this unique flavor of music, pretty soon we’ll all be saying, “Gimme dat Sauce!”

Listeners can hear "Sauce" on all major music streaming platforms and watch the music video on the Banded Future YouTube Channel.

How to Grill Like a Pro

Whether you've grilled steak or meat a few times or you're a first-timer, we'll teach you how to grill like a pro! We'll run you through the basics in this ultimate guide to grilling. Also, we sure have a few tricks up our sleeves (we were going to pull them up for the job anyway). So, tag along if you want to have the best grilling experience.
How to Grill Like a Pro: The 6 Steps to Grilling

Let's get right into business with these 6 steps for grilling.

1. Understand Your Grill Type


We'll help you identify how your grill functions. Is it an electric, liquid propane, gas, or charcoal grill?

Needless to say, if it has cords and needs plugging, it's an electric grill. If not, check beneath the grilling unit for a tank; that'd make it a propane grill, extracted from natural gas.

TIP: Keep an extra propane tank in case you run out of cooking gas.

Is your grill neither electric nor propane? It might be a gas grill. The face's buttons and knobs should tip you off. Both propane and gas grills are very convenient.

Finally, a basic grill with none of these is probably a charcoal grill, which is fun and versatile when it comes to coal arrangements. Charcoal grills give you that authentic taste you associate with BBQing and yield high temperatures!

TIP: Be sure to keep extra charcoal in a dry place.

2. Prep Your Grill

If your grill is dirty, you have to clean it. Cooking on an unclean charcoal grill will be difficult because debris and ashes block its vents. Accordingly, you'll struggle a lot with controlling the hot fire.

You should season your grill grates if you want a non-stick cooking surface. But if you're lucky and have porcelain/coated or pre-seasoned grates, skip right to the next step!

For the rest of us, we may apply a thin canola or grapeseed oil layer to the grates. You can trim excess fat with a paper towel so that it doesn't cause buildup. Try folding a paper towel to make it the size of a grill brush, soaking it with oil, and brushing it over the grates evenly.

TIP: Another way to clean your grid is to rub it with half an onion, this should get rid of any remnants of the last BBQ without having to rinse the grid of any soapy residue!

3. Preheat Your Grill

Preheating your grill lets the flames die down before the BBQing starts. So, turn up the heat source, but don't make it so hot that you can't stand by the grill. Here's how to work each grill type:

Electric Grill

Electric grills are super easy to turn on. You plug the cords and turn its knob to high, and you're good to go! Now, close the lid, and give the grill some time to get to the needed temperature.

Propane or Gas Grill

With propane and gas grills, a valve permits the fuel source into them, which you'll find at the tank's top.

  • Turn the valve counterclockwise to open it.
  • Press the ignitor button, and hold it until you hear a clicking and whoosh sound.
  • Release the ignitor button.
  • Leave the gas grill for 10 to 15 minutes (with the lid closed).

When you think of gas BBQ vs. charcoal BBQ, you shouldn't expect gas grills to yield a temperature as high as charcoal ones. Still, what we like about gas grilling is that you can easily monitor and control the heat via the temperature dials.

Charcoal Grill

If you have a charcoal BBQ, you can use a chimney starter to light charcoal with fewer chemicals and a better taste. However, if you don't have one, a lighter fluid works as well.

  • Make a charcoal pile at the center of the grill's bottom grate.
  • Add the lighter fluid to the coals (not too much, though), and light them instantly.
  • Wait for them to develop a light gray ash layer (5 to 10 minutes).
  • Spread the burning coals around for a medium fire, or add a second charcoal layer for a hot one. Now, they're ready!

Since most or all the charcoal grills lack temperature control, you change their heat by tampering with the charcoal fire, vents, and cover. On the plus side, the rotisserie option some of them have is pretty cool!

TIP: Grilling accidents may make for fun stories to tell at family gatherings, but you should still read the safety instructions on charcoal and lighter fluid.

4. Prep the Meat

Get the meat out of the fridge, and store it at room temperature, which is known as tempering. This means that it will cook evenly once it hits the heat. Then, dry it with a kitchen towel to give it a decent crust.

Now, you can use large amounts of Maldon sea salt (which isn't too salty), pepper, herbs, spices, or any seasonings to taste. We aren't trying to tell you what to do! But if you're unsure about seasoning, you might want to check out this Grilling Master box with spicy salt and sauces.

Of course, the amount of seasoning varies according to the meat type you're grilling. For instance, steak requires little seasoning.

Note that much of it will fall between the grill grates, so sprinkling spices generously is a good idea. It is also advised to season the meat about half an hour or more before it hits the grill, to give the seasonings a chance to sink in.

TIP: If you are planning a cookout and are wondering what meat is the king of BBQ, well brisket is your answer! But keep in mind that it takes much longer to cook than most meats so make sure to plan ahead!

5. Cook the Food

Now, it's time to put that meat on the heat. Spread the pieces out so that oxygen can reach the charcoal if you're using it.

Unfortunately, there's no cheat sheet to BBQing (but we did try!); every meat type and thickness requires a different treatment. But don't abandon your honorable quest of becoming a master griller just yet! We'll give you tips about how to grill each meat type. So, skip to the one you want to learn how to grill like a pro.


SEE ALSO: Types of BBQ Sauce



The beauty of grilling is that you can cook a whole chicken in under an hour! Are you wondering how to BBQ chicken? Let's start with low heat and oiling the chicken.

As for coal arrangements, you can have a two-zone direct fire. Although that sounds like something a gamer would shout into their headset, it's actually when you keep your hot coals over one side of the grill and only leave a few coal pieces on the other half. This way, the hot side will give the chicken a good sear, whereas the cooler side will cook it with its indirect heat.

You've got to try this two-zone direct fire arrangement with boneless chicken breasts. Cook them for six minutes on each side for an Instagram-worthy sear. But watch the boneless meat; the last thing you want is to dry out the chicken.

Another arrangement for chicken, especially whole chickens, is the two-zone indirect fire. For this, you push coals to one side of the grill and leave the other one empty.

However, indirect heat means the chicken will take longer to cook. For instance, if you're grilling the chicken breasts with their bones, give them 40 to 50 minutes of indirect heat and periodic flips. Also, cover the chicken to avoid drying it out.

Thighs, Wings, and Drumsticks
Keep the indirect heat arrangement because you'll need it to BBQ the chicken thighs, wings, and drumsticks. Wings might take 20 to 30 minutes, but thighs and drumsticks might be 40 to 50 minutes with regular flipping. And that's how you cook meat without making it dry!

TIP: Add marinade to the thighs and drumsticks before grilling or sauce throughout if you want people to swear by your grilled chicken.


Do you feel like your summer barbeque party won't be complete without grilled vegetables? No worries, we'll teach you how to BBQ corn and other veggies. You want to coat them in oil and turn them frequently. The goal is to get that perfect lightly charred look, so you should go for medium heat.

For one, you can grill unshucked corn for 30 minutes. You'll know the corn is ready when the husk gets blackened.

Also, if you haven't tried roasted peppers, you're in for a treat. Grill them whole, and continue cooking until they have that blackened skin and delicious crust. When it cools down, peel the pepper. You can also store it in the freezer and pull it out when you want a grilled snack.
Another way to BBQ a pepper is chopping these sweet veggies up. You want them in 1/2-inch slices, which you can grill for 3 to 5 minutes per side. The same goes for other tender vegetables, such as zucchini, eggplant, and mushrooms. As for onions and carrots, grill them for 5 to 6 minutes on each side.

Do you love a good Caesar salad? Wait till you add grilled lettuce to the mix! Yes, you can grill lettuce; 5 minutes on the heat should be enough.

You know what? No one has time to grill their vegetables separately. Instead, chop up your mixed veggies, add oil and spices, and put them in a grill basket to prevent them from slipping through the grill grate gaps. Then, grill the vegetables for 8 to 12 minutes, and move them around.



The secrets to a steak that's caramelized on the outside and juicy on the inside are a hot grill and fast cooking. Direct heat is excellent for steak, which is a fancy way of saying you should spread coal evenly at the bottom of the grill. You also want to expose the steaks to high heat and close the lid as much as possible.

When you BBQ steak, leave the heat as high as possible for a medium-well or well-done steak. Then, slightly decrease the heat so as not to burn its surface. Also, you can BBQ the steaks in four positions to get the perfect grill marks. What's a steak without the mouth-watering grill marks, right?

how to grill steak like a pro


As a type of small meat cut, beef burgers warrant direct heat. If you have a medium heat and a medium burger, it'll take you 8 to 10 minutes. Watch carefully to avoid burning it, and don't forget to flip it midway.

Don't know if you're using the right amount of heat? We've got you. Just place your hand over the grill by four inches. If you pull away less than four or five seconds in, you need less heat.
Additionally, if you're craving a good old grilled cheeseburger, add some cheese on top in the last minute of cooking. We can already smell it from over here!



Grilled fish recipes can save your day if you want to cook something up for some last-minute guests, as the high and direct heat for seafood means shorter cooking times. For example, you can BBQ fish fillets and steaks for 3 to 5 minutes per side. Also, you might want to wrap the fish in foil if you don't want it flaking apart. When it turns opaque, you'll know it's done cooking.

As for how to grill salmon, use a cedar plank for an explosion of flavors, and you don't even need to add much seasoning! Even better, the cedar plank will keep it from falling apart. In 10 to 15 minutes, the salmon will be opaque and ready.

What about shrimp and scallops? You can grill these tiny beauties for 1 to 2 minutes per side. You want shrimp to turn opaque and firm. Also, as long as the shrimp's flesh is pink, it's safe to eat.



Here's how to cook BBQ ribs. We recommend indirect heat because they take quite some time. And this coal arrangement cooks the rib's inside without burning the exterior.

You want to cover the ribs on an oiled rack for at least an hour, an hour and a half, or 2 hours. Be sure to turn it every 30 minutes. And here's a little hint; you'll know the meat is done when you twist a ribbon slightly. Is it giving away easily without falling apart? Then, it's practically begging to be taken off the grill!



Do you want to know how to BBQ lamb chops? You can BBQ 1/2-inch to 1-inch thick chops for 3 to 4 minutes per side and 1-inch to 1 1/2-inch thick chops for 4 to 6 minutes per side if you like them medium-rare.


Hot Dogs

As a small cut of meat, hot dogs are grilled over high heat for a relatively short time. Still, you might use indirect heat for 25 minutes to get them fully cooked without charring, which is a concern due to the hot dog's high-fat content.


6. Let It Rest

Do you want to learn how to be a pro griller? Learn when to take the meat off the BBQ and let it rest for 5 to 20 minutes. We may have given you instructions and time ranges, but it's up to you to decide when it's ready.

The most critical of our barbecue tips is to remove the meat from the grill before it is overcooked. Place it on a plate that's warm or at room temperature. This way, its residual heat will cook it even past that point, getting the tissues to relax and the juices to redistribute. Now, you can enjoy juicy and tender BBQed meat! Not to mention, it won't be too hot to eat.

Remember that you can always put the food back on the heat if it needs more time, but you can't do anything about an overcooked chicken.

When you're done cooking, turn off the grill, and give it a clean. Gas grills have control valves and fuel supplies, so you can turn them off. But unlike a gas grill, you'll have to close the lid and vents of a charcoal grill since there's no off-switch.

What Is the Proper Way to Grill?
Lump Charcoal vs. Briquettes

Lump charcoal generates higher heat than charcoal briquettes, but it might be a pain in your neck if you want to keep the heat consistent and handle flare-ups. Still, using it is a major charcoal grilling flex! Just stay away from petrol-smelling charcoal. That's usually a sign the charcoal was made out of accelerator fluid, which will taint the grilling taste, yuck!

Charcoal briquettes are the more beginner-friendly option for charcoal grilling. They're wood by-products with glue, chemicals, and additives that help them light quickly and burn steadily. So, you can light them with a match. Are you wondering what the catch is? They often burn too hot so even distribution is key.

Other than these two methods, some take their BBQing to the next level by building an open fire and embracing the wilderness!

Final Words

Overall, we hope you've found this ultimate guide on how to BBQ like a pro informative. Although this may seem like a lot of information, all you need to do is focus on what concerns you.

Are you gas grilling, charcoal grilling, or so? What type of food do you want to BBQ? Do you like your meat medium-rare, medium, well, or else? This is the first step in how to BBQ, and the second is practice, practice, and more practice!

What Does BBQ Stand For?

If you're a meat lover, you've likely chowed down on some BBQ cooking before. However, have you ever stopped to think about the origins of this mouth-watering cooking method? Also, what's the meaning of BBQ? How did this slang term come to be? And why are there two ways to spell the word in its full form?

In this article, we'll take a deep dive into the sizzling history of barbecue. Along the way, we'll try to answer many of your burning (pun intended) questions, including "What does BBQ stand for?" Let's dig in!

What Does BBQ Stand For?

BBQ is an abbreviation of the word "barbecue." Depending on what part of the world you're in, you might also see that BBQ stands for "barbeque," "barb-cue," or "bar-b-que."

Interestingly, tech-savvy folk may understand it to mean "Better Be Quick." However, they'll know what you mean if they're partial to meat and there's a slab of the stuff sizzling over hot coals nearby.

How Was the BBQ Abbreviation Coined?

There are multiple theories about the origins of the abbreviation.

In a 1982 issue of Tarheel magazine, it's speculated that the BBQ abbreviation traces its origins to a 19th-century bar. The bar owner coined the term "Bar Beer Cue Pig" to concisely tell prospective customers what to expect. Other bars soon copied this window advertising, and the word morphed into the abbreviation we know and love. So goes this theory.
Another theory speculates that a rancher used a brand with the initials "BQ" while roasting whole sides of beef. As the story goes, a connection between the brand and the cooking method was established, giving rise to "BBQ."

What's generally understood is you can trace the earliest use of the abbreviation to the 1930s. However, if you want an in-depth exploration of the abbreviation's origins, check out this article by Texas Monthly.

Why Are There Two Ways to Spell Barbecue?

You can blame that on the "Q" in the abbreviation. Here's the thing: "barbeque" and "BBQ" appear to be closer in spelling than "barbecue" and "BBQ."

Also, it hasn't helped that food businesses worldwide embraced the former spelling in their BBQ-product-related marketing and branding campaigns. As such, "barbeque" is the more popular spelling.

Which Is Correct: Barbecue or Barbeque?
"Barbecue" is the word's correct spelling. In fact, the English language describes a barbecue as the indirect cooking of food over an open fire. However, because "barbeque" is so widely used by businesses, people think that's the correct spelling of the word in its complete form. It isn't.

Let's use both spellings interchangeably when referring to this glorious cooking method for brevity.

What Is Barbeque in Cooking?

So, we know what BBQ stands for, but what does it entail exactly? A barbecue involves cooking food over an open fire at low temperatures for extended periods. When we say "food," meat, fish, and poultry usually come to mind, though it isn't uncommon to barbecue veggies too.

Occasionally, people also use the term to refer to the apparatus used to cook the food. In this case, barbecuing may refer to using gas, hot coals, charcoal, smoking wood, or other forms of heat.

Commonly, barbecue is used interchangeably with other outdoor cooking methods like grilling. However, it's a different culinary craft that relies heavily on wood and smoke. We'll examine each type of outdoor cooking in another section of the article to see how they differ.

Why Is It Called Barbeque?

There are as many theories about the origins of the word "barbecue" as there are foods you can barbecue.

One theory states it originates from the Spanish word "barbacoa." In that respect, the Spanish explorer Gonzalo Fernández De Oviedo y Valdés gets first-use credit for the word. It first appeared in his journal, which was published in the Diccionario de la Lengua Española (2nd Edition) of the Real Academia Española back in 1526.

Yet another theory suggests the word has French origins. Given how close in spelling "barbecue" is to the French word "Barbe a Queue," this theory seems plausible. Incidentally, "Barbe a Queue" means "Beard to Tail." Take that as you will.

However, the most widely accepted theory is the "barbacoa" theory. "Barbacoa" is a word used by a tribe of Caribbean Indians known as the Taino to describe their cooking apparatus. When the Spanish explorers found the Taino cooking meat over a fire, they referred to the cooked meat as "barbacoa."

Catálogo de Pinturas Academia Colombiana de Historia
Did Slaves Start BBQ?

Kind of. But let's consider why this is a legitimate question in the first place.

It's generally agreed that the word "barbecue" traces its sizzling history to the Caribbean. However, today, the practice of barbecuing food is ingrained in American culture. In fact, the southern states of North Carolina, South Carolina, Memphis, and Kansas are credited with evolving the cooking method in that country. Why is that?

In American history, barbecuing can be traced back to colonial times. When migrating European slavers brought Africans to the States, pork and cattle were the primary meat source at the time. However, the poorest cuts of meat had to be cooked slowly and so were reserved for enslaved and low-income people.

As such, in the country's early days, barbecue was an inexpensive source of food with links to the slave trade. Also, when slavers brought African peoples to the New World, these enslaved people imported their food seasoning practices. (We'll talk about this more in the section about the history of barbecue sauce below).

So, while enslaved people didn't invent the American barbecue, you can’t deny their influence on the practice.

Who Invented BBQ?

No one knows. The humble barbecue is a cooking method so ancient that it's probably been around since early humans discovered cooking with fire. So, if there's one thing we should be grateful to our ancestors for, it's their not heeding sound advice about playing with flames.

However, what's clear is this cooking method arose out of necessity. These days, we take refrigeration for granted. In the past, there weren't a lot of ways to preserve meat besides drying it, fermenting it, or cooking it quickly.

What Is the Difference Between a Cookout and a Barbecue?

The main difference is how you cook the food and at what temperature. Let's look at different outdoor cooking activities to get a better understanding.


This outdoor cooking method involves cooking the food for long periods at low temperatures. Standard cooking times range between an hour and two weeks, while temperatures range between 68-176 degrees Fahrenheit.

Smoking can be further broken down into cold smoking (68-86 degrees Fahrenheit) and hot smoking (126-176 degrees Fahrenheit). Cold smoking gives the food a smoky flavor without cooking it, and so it isn't safe to eat until adequately cooked. Meanwhile, foods that undergo hot smoking are safe to eat due to pasteurizing.

What does BBQ stand for 4


Barbecuing is often confused with grilling. However, the two cooking methods can't be more different. The latter cooking method involves applying high heat over burning coals or gas burners to cook meats like steaks, hot dogs, hamburgers, etc. The former uses indirect heat or hot smoke to simmer the meat.

It's anyone's guess why this misconception is so pervasive. However, you can see why when you consider how different cultures refer to cooking utensils and food. For example, in Australia grills are called "Barbies". Also, when people slather BBQ sauce on chicken before grilling it, they tend to call it BBQ chicken.

While there are many outdoor cooking methods that people call barbecuing, barbecue is different.

Types of BBQ Sauce - What makes it so magical
Is Barbecued Food Healthy?

Anything consumed without moderation can be potentially unhealthy, and barbecued foods aren't different. However, science points to barbecued meats posing a severe health risk due to a natural chemical found in meat.

You see, meat contains the organic acid creatine. On its own, creatine helps the muscle cells. The problem arises when you cook meat as it causes a chemical reaction that transforms creatine into Heterocyclic Amines (HCAs). High concentrations of HCAs are a massive no-no because scientific studies have shown that they cause cancer.

So while frying and grilling, meat produces HCAs, and the levels found in barbecues tend to be higher. This is because the heat from barbecues tends to be hotter than that from frying and grilling.

Moreover, fat from barbecued meat tends to drip onto the coals, causing smoke to rise and coat the meat. The smoke contains Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs), which again are known to cause cancer.

However, since most people don't eat barbecues regularly, the risk posed by cooking meat in this way isn't very high.
And all of this being said, in terms of weight and calories, BBQ’ing is actually a low-calorie cooking option. Grilling over high heat helps release fat from meat, making it significantly lower in calories compared to frying. When you grill your food, the fat melts and drips off helping reduce your fat intake. Making it great for weight loss.

What Foods Can You Barbecue?

The most common meats you'll find roasting over a barbecue grill are ribs, beef brisket, pork shoulder, chicken, salmon (or other fish), and turkey. In the American state of Kansas, you'll find even more meats barbecued, including smoked sausage and pulled pork. Meanwhile, it isn't uncommon in South African braais to have ostrich on the menu.

So, you can barbecue just about anything, including beef, poultry, pork, vegetables, fish, and wild game.

how to grill steak like a pro
Four Types of American BBQ

Earlier, we mentioned that four American states could be credited with providing the "secret sauce" (if you will) key to evolving the modern-era barbecue. Let's take a look at the four main styles of American BBQ.

Types of American BBQ

The Carolinas

Barbecue originating from the Carolinas (North and South) are renowned for its slow-roasting pork. Carolina barbecues can be categorized into Eastern-style and Lexington-style. The difference between the two styles is the ingredient list for the sauces used on the pork.

Eastern-style barbecue throws the whole hog over a fire after slathering the pork parts in a mayonnaise-based sauce. Meanwhile, Lexington-style barbecues feature a ketchup and vinegar-based sauce to give a roasted pork shoulder some kick.


You'll be topping your meat with a sauce based on tomatoes and molasses at a Kansas-style barbecue. Speaking of meats, you'll find a broader range at these barbecues compared to what's available at Carolina-style ones. Dry-rubbed lamb, pork, and beef find their way onto the plates of attendees after being smoked in a BBQ pit.


You'll find wet and dry-rubbed ribs at a barbecue in Memphis. Usually, hosts slather a sauce on wet-rubbed meat while dry-rubbed meat gets a spice and seasoning rubdown. Then, the cooks barbecue it low and slow to get meat that practically melts off the bone.

Texas (Honorable Mention)

You can't talk about American-style barbecue without mentioning Texas. In particular, South Texan barbecues feature a cow head cooking on a BBQ pit trailer. Sauces used at such barbecues have a tangy flavor to them.

A Brief History of Barbecue Sauce

Barbecues and barbecue sauce are peas in a pod, so we couldn't write about BBQ without mentioning the popular condiment.

Like barbecues, the history of the sauces drizzled over the meat goes back to the American colonial era. In 1698, the Dominican missionary Pere Labat observed cooks using lime juice and peppers for seasoning barbecued meat while visiting the French West Indies. The rest, as they say, was history.

If you're wondering, you can trace the roots of seasoning meat with lime and hot peppers to the African continent. Check out this guide for hot sauce recipes.

Here are some fun facts about barbecues as they relate to American culture and history:

  • In the colony of Virginia, one of the first laws enacted forbade discharging a firearm at a barbecue.
  • Olden-day Americans commemorated the winning of the Revolutionary War with a barbecue.
  • Thomas Edison designed the first charcoal briquet factory, which Henry Ford built, in 1921.
  • American president George Washington enjoyed barbecues.
What Is a Braai?

Braais are a national barbecue past-time in South Africa that involve large get-togethers. These barbecues are a strictly local wood and charcoal affair, so a braai that uses gas isn't considered an authentic braai.

The fire is the centerpiece of the braai, and guests gather around it to socialize. The braai's host picks the wood that stokes the fire, with camel thorn (Kameeldoring) and vinewood (Wingerd) being two of the most commonly used braai wood.
Braais are woven into the DNA of South African culture. They're used to celebrate events like birthdays, engagements, graduations, and public holidays. If it brings friends and family together, it's reason enough to get a braai going and have fun.

"Braai" is an Afrikaans word with Dutch origins. It means "to roast," which is fitting because almost any meat you can think of ends up at a braai. Some of the more exotic meats include ostrich, warthog, and eland!

Braais are usually held on weekends and start around 3 in the afternoon. Please don't go on an empty stomach, though, as they take a while to get going. So, if you've got plans to visit South Africa, add a braai to your food bucket list.

BBQ Styles From Around the World

We've established the origins of the word "barbecue" and know that they're a massive part of American culture. But how do barbecues fare in other parts of the world? Let's find out!

bbq from around the world

South Korean Barbecue

Second only to Kimchi, South Korean barbecues are the most famous delicacy in the country. These aren't the traditional outdoor barbecues; the vast majority happen indoors. Guests get to barbecue their meat and are seated around a grill purpose-built for the occasion.

Chilean Asado

Southern Chile houses 64 percent of the country's sheep population. So, as you can imagine, that part of the country hosts the most whole-lamb asados. These events feature a parrilero or grill master, and beer and wine flow as freely as meat does.

South African Braai

Braais in South Africa are a national pastime and an excellent way for friends and family to get together. These barbecues feature exotic meats you won't find anywhere else, making them a genuinely once-in-a-lifetime event if you're holidaying in the country.

Japanese Yakitori

You could consider Japanese Yakitori a form of urban barbecue as this street food is available widely in major cities. Yakitori is essentially chicken skewered on bamboo and grilled over charcoal.

Filipino Lechon

Filipino-style barbecue features a slow-roasting (sometimes 5 hours). Cooks cram the pig with garlic, lemongrass, fruit, and leeks to season it from the inside. Also, the skin gets rubbed down with coconut water or soy sauce.

To Wrap Up

So, what are the main takeaways from this article? First, the history of barbecues is as fascinating as it is long. Second, "barbecue" - and not "barbeque" - is the correct spelling of the word, and barbecues aren't the same as grills or other outdoor activities.

The next time you find yourself at a barbecue party, enjoy your meal with a wry smile.

Types of BBQ Sauce: How to Choose the One for You

Among the various styles of bbq out there, we can all agree on one thing; barbecue sauce is the most important part of the process. Whether it's a South African braai or American barbeque, the type of BBQ sauce used plays an integral part in the completion of the dishes.

That's why we'll be discussing in this article everything you need to know about the types of BBQ sauces. That way, you can know which sauce to choose next time you're throwing a barbeque.

The Story of Barbecue Sauces

Barbecue sauce, commonly abbreviated as BBQ sauce, is well known as a sauce that's typically used when barbecuing. Shocker, I know.
However, this special little sauce is what imparts that irresistibly delicious flavor to the cooked meat, making you come back for seconds or even thirds.
Now, barbecue sauce can be used to marinate or baste the meat. It can be used as a simple topping or a condiment. Whichever way it's used, though, the results are sure to blow your mind and have your taste buds dancing for joy.


So, how did this wonderful sauce come about?
Well, the story goes that the practice of barbecuing was inspired by the tribe of the Taino. These were an indigenous group residing in the Caribbean who slow-cooked their meats over a wood grill and they called it barbacoa.
Eventually, the American settlers began calling it barbecue, and the slaves were tasked with cooking the meat and dressing them with sauces made of lemon juice and hot peppers, and that, ladies and gentlemen, was the birth of barbecue sauce.
Accordingly, barbeque sauce appeared sometime in the 17th century, when the first American colonies were being formed. As time went on, Americans continued to make homemade barbecue sauces for their meat until the first commercially-produced BBQ sauce was sold in the 1900s.

What Makes Barbecue Sauce So Magical?

Contrary to what you may think, barbecue sauce doesn't actually moisten the meat or make it juicier. In fact, all the water in the meat and the barbecue sauce evaporate as it's being cooked.
So, why is barbequed meat so succulent and feels as if it melts in the mouth? Well, this wonderful mouthfeel is all due to the barbecue cooking style itself, not the sauce. Cooking meat over low temperatures for a long period will eventually cause the fat and gelatin resent in the meat to break down and liquefy. This results in a sensation of moisture, even if there's no actual water in the meat.
So, what in the world do barbeque sauces do?
Quite simply, add the flavor. That's right. Barbecue sauce is added to the meat to bring out the best taste of the meat. It does so by depositing the seasonings mixed into it once the water in it evaporates.
Still, note that barbecue sauces are only meant for barbecuing. If you try to use BBQ sauces when grilling, the sauce will start smoking and burning, ruining your precious cutlet in the process.

Types of BBQ Sauce - What makes it so magical
What Ingredients Are Used in BBQ Sauce?

Early homemade barbecue sauce simply consisted of salt, pepper, and vinegar. Then, in the 1920s, barbeque sauce started having ingredients like sugar, Worcestershire sauce, and ketchup.
Nowadays, though, BBQ sauce has so many other ingredients in addition to the original ones. Some commonly used ingredients include liquid smoke, onion powder, garlic powder, mustard, black pepper, molasses, and even mayonnaise.

What are the 4 Main Types of BBQ Sauce?

Generally, barbecue sauces is categorized into four varieties: tomato-based sauces, vinegar-based sauces, mustard-based sauces, and mayonnaise-based sauces. Each category can have a range of BBQ sauce styles, ranging from sweet and tangy to hot and spicy. So, let's take a look at each category and see some of the types of BBQ sauces that fall under them.


1. Tomato-Based Sauces

The tomato-based sauce is the most common type of BBQ sauce used nowadays.
Typically, the tomato part comes from ketchup, though some sauces use other tomatoey condiments like tomato paste, salsa, etc.
Anyhow, once the tomato/ketchup base is added, different ingredients and seasonings are added in different ratios, giving each sauce a characteristic flavor and consistency.
Kansas City barbeque sauce is the best-known example of a tomato-based sauce. This is a thick, almost syrup-like sauce that has a distinctive sweet and tangy flavor. Compare this sauce to the St. Louis barbeque sauce, which is much less sweet and syrupy. Nevertheless, both these sauces are tomato-based, and they are both delicious in their own right.

2. Vinegar-Based Sauces

Vinegar-based sauces are less about being sweet and more about being spicy and tangy. This type of barbecue sauce is all the rage in North Carolina, as it goes perfectly with the local meat selection, aka pork. This is due to its watery consistency and astringent-like effect, which makes it perfect for a whole hog barbecue.
Still, you should note that just because a BBQ sauce is vinegar-based, it doesn't mean that there can't be a lick of ketchup or tomato in it. Quite the opposite, really. The famous Western North Carolina BBQ sauce contains some ketchup, but the predominant ingredient is vinegar. So, despite the presence of tomato, this sauce is classified as a vinegar-based sauce.
Our Southern Braai - Fermented BBQ Sauce, for example, contains tomato but also apple cider vinegar that gives the sauce meat tenderizing qualities (vinegar is great for this!) as well as gut-health benefits!

3. Mustard-Based Sauces

Mustard-based BBQ sauces aren't really that common. In fact, there are only two, which are the South Carolina BBQ sauce and the Georgia BBQ sauce. These are thin, spicy sauces that may be mixed with Tabasco sauce. That being so, these sauces are regularly paired with pork as the astringent flavor helps balance the heavy fat.
Still, even though there are only one or two sauces in this category, that doesn't make mustard sauce any less delicious than tomato and vinegar-based sauces. Honestly, mustard-based barbecue sauce is truly exceptional, so don't shy away from trying them.

4. Mayonnaise-Based Sauces

Yes, I know. The words mayonnaise and BBQ sauce don't really seem to go together. However, this type of barbecue sauce is truly a work of wonder. I mean, hey, isn't mayonnaise just some oil, eggs, and vinegar? Then, why can't it work with BBQ?
Now, there's not exactly a plethora of mayonnaise-based sauce sauces out there. The Alabama white sauce is perhaps the only mayonnaise-based sauce that we know of. And this creamy sauce is typically paired with chicken rather than beef or pork. However, if you like it enough, you can slather it on any BBQ you want.

Types of American BBQ Sauces

American barbecue sauces are the pinnacle when it comes to the barbecuing culture, even outside of the United States. Whether you're looking for something sweet, salty, tangy, or spicy, you're bound to find something you like. So, let's take a dive into the world of American barbecue sauces now, shall we?



Big Bob Gibson is credited for the invention of Alabama white sauce in 1925 when he used it for his hickory-smoked chicken.
Since then, this sauce has become a must for barbecued chicken (and sometimes pork), and now it's extremely popular in the areas around Decatur. The creamy/milky mixture of vinegar, mayonnaise, and pepper really enhances the flavor of whatever you're eating, and you can use it as a dipping sauce, marinade, or dressing for your meals.

North Carolina

Eastern North Carolina
The eastern North Carolina BBQ sauce is the epitome of back to the basics, and it's totally tomato-free. This sauce is typically made of apple cider vinegar, cayenne pepper, red pepper flakes, hot sauce, salt, black pepper, and water. This is very similar to our Southern Braai - Fermented Vintage BBQ Sauce. The spicy and acidic African cuisine from the 1800s is a source of inspiration for eastern North Carolina's BBQ sauce, so this makes perfect sense. Typically, when it comes to soaking and marinating pork, this sauce is used, as it can cut through the greasiness like a knife through butter.
Western North Carolina
West North Carolina BBQ sauce is also called Piedmont or Lexington-style dip, after the city where it was prevalent.
It's similar to its eastern brethren, just with a hint of ketchup and brown sugar thrown in to tame the vinegar tang. Accordingly, it's also excellent for cooked pork shoulder or pulled pork sandwiches. However, this vinegar sauce has more of a reddish tint, with a sweeter taste and slightly thicker consistency.

South Carolina

This barbecue sauce is known as Carolina gold, and it can be used as a condiment or a mop sauce. It's thought to have originated when Germans came to settle in the state, bringing mustard with them.
This Carolina-style sauce is typically made with plain yellow mustard. However, some varieties add vinegar and extra spices for more of a zing. So, if you're looking for something sweet, it's best to look for another sauce altogether cause you won't be getting it with this South Carolina sauce.


While it's not as well known as some of the most ubiquitous BBQ sauces, Florida BBQ sauce is truly unique and flavorsome. It's inspired by the vinegar-based Carolina-style BBQ sauces, but it contains unique Cuban and Caribbean ingredients, bringing a tropical flavor to the sauce. Normally, you'd baste your meat or fish with this sauce and then wait for it to cook.


The Baltimore-style sauce is a twist on the typical BBQ sauces. There's no brown sugar, ketchup, or vinegar in this sauce. It's simply made with a mixture of mayonnaise and horseradish, resulting in a creamy Tiger Sauce.
Now, the horseradish makes the sauce quite spicy. However, you know what they say; the spicier, the more addictive. Normally, this sauce is served with pit beef sandwiches, which are the perfect embodiment of crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside.

Kansas City

Kansas-City-style sauce is what you want when you want a touch of sweetness on your slow-smoked meats.
It's made of ketchup and sweetened with brown sugar or molasses. Then, to give the sauce a richer and deeper flavor, other spices and ingredients are added, like soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, liquid smoke, and vinegar.
As such, Kansas City barbecue sauce is absolutely heavenly on pork ribs. Just make sure to put on this sauce after you've slow-smoked your meat to prevent the sugar from burning.

St. Louis

St. Louis BBQ sauce is one of the tomato and sugar sauces. It's basically the thinner and tangier version of Kansas-City barbecue sauce as it contains more vinegar, less sugar, and a hint of spice. It goes perfectly on the mouth-watering St. Louis ribs, which are famous for their rectangular and flat appearance.


Memphis-style barbecue sauce is a bit obscure, though Memphis-style BBQ itself is well-known.
That's because Memphis is known for its dry ribs that don't require any sauces. However, Memphis also offers wet ribs, which are marinated and covered in a sauce before, during, and after the cooking process. Memphis-style BBQ sauce generally has the thinner consistency of St. Louis and the sweetness of Kansas City Barbecue sauce.


It makes perfect sense that the state of the cowboys would come up with a totally bold sauce, which is the Texas-style BBQ sauce. This sauce is made using meat drippings, cumin, Worcestershire sauce hot sauce, garlic, and red chili powder. However, despite the multiple ingredients, this sauce is pretty thin.
That's exactly why it's used as a glaze for the meat. However, Texas-style BBQ sauces that act as mop sauces will have slightly more ingredients like beef stock, vinegar, salt, and pepper.

Types of BBQ Sauces From Around the World

So, for the previous heading, you'd think that Americans were the only ones serious about barbecue sauce. However, I'm happy to announce that BBQ sauce is a staple in a lot of different cultures, even if they're less popular than the American one. So, where else can you find BBQ sauces in the world?

Central America

In Central America, most steaks come with a spicy tomato sauce on the side called chirmol. Think of it as Mexican salsa, but it's totally different at the same time due to the addition of oil, lime juice, and vinegar. It can come in a cooked or uncooked version depending on the restaurant you're eating in, so make sure you know which one you want before ordering.

South America

Many different sauces go with grilled and barbecued meats in South America. There's Pebre, the herby and spicy salsa from Chile. Chimichurri is also found in Argentina. These sauces are similar, but they still have some significant differences that make each one a separate entity.

South Africa

South African barbecue, also known as a braai, is also famous for having its special barbecue sauce. This sauce is made using fermented chili, white vinegar, cane sugar, molasses, pimento, bay leaves, cloves, and other special ingredients that make it taste out of this world. You can use this sauce as a marinade, basting sauce, and dipping sauce.
The South African Braai sauce is usually served with ribs, lamb chops, steak, and even hot dogs, but it can also be put on poultry, fish, or vegetables.
Braais are more than a simple BBQ, it's a whole day experience and an integral part of South African culture. There is even a national holiday for it!


In Guam, chicken and pork are eaten with a barbecue sauce named Finadene. This is a tangy sauce based on vinegar, onion, and soy sauce with a few chilis thrown in. When adding the sauce to grilled seafood, it amplifies the umami flavor tenfold, making your tongue dance for joy.

Vegetarian Uses for BBQ Sauce

Now, just because you're vegetarian doesn't mean that barbecue sauce is out the window. You can still add barbecue sauce to plenty of plant-based foods to transform them for the better.
Some options you have for BBQ sauce include fried and baked tofu, baked beans as well as roasted squash, and pumpkin. You can also go with pulled jackfruit sandwiches, cauliflower, chickpeas, coleslaw, veggie burgers, and really any veggie dish.


This is a mayonnaise-based BBQ sauce originating in Alabama and regularly served with grilled chicken.

It depends. If it's from the tomato and sugar varieties, then absolutely not. However, if it's more vinegary, then it can be okay for dieting, provided it's not rich in oils. Just be sure to check the labels when picking a diet-friendly BBQ sauce, for example, our Southern Braai sauce is tomato-based with some sugar but is very low in calories.

Any Carolina-style BBQ will go great with pulled pork, be it eastern northern, wester northern, or southern.

The best sauce for chicken is one that can be used as a marinade as well as a basting sauce, so look for something with some vinegar (to tenderize) but also enough flavor to infuse into the meat.

In Conclusion, What type of BBQ Sauce Should You Choose?

Well, the answer here totally depends on your preference.
If you want something sweet, then go with a tomato-based BBQ Sauce like Kansas city or St. Louis. For a deep, flavorful BBQ sauce, go with South African Braai sauce or the Baltimore sauce. If you want some more spice, consider even using a peri-peri hot sauce. There are no strict rules when it comes to grilling! Finally, if you're more into a tangy sauce, then the Carolina-style BBQ sauces will do the trick. Just figure out what you want, and you'll be all good.

Can Ghost Pepper Sauce Hurt You?

Ghost pepper, also known as bhut jolokia, is a red-orange, naturally growing pepper in Northeastern India and the neighboring country of Bangladesh. Interestingly, though it's definitely spicy enough to warrant its name, "ghost" is actually a mistranslation. The original Assamese word should have been translated into “Bhutan”, so the name should have literally been “Bhutan pepper”. However, it was mistaken for another word meaning “ghost”, and the name stuck. Can this spooky-sounding ghost pepper sauce hurt you?

Impressively, bhut jolokia once held the Guinness world records for the world's hottest pepper, though other peppers have dethroned it. Nevertheless, the ghost pepper is still so plenty spicy that many people fear eating it, and for good reason. So, should you eat ghost peppers or condiments made with them? And if you do, will you get hurt? Keep on reading to find out all this and more.

What Happens When You Eat Spicy Food?

Whether you throw on some hot sauce or full-on eat a ghost pepper, this is what happens to your body.


1. Intraoral Phase

Basically, chili peppers contain a chemical called capsaicin. This is the component that makes chili peppers hot and spicy. It can irritate the living heck out of the mouth and skin of any mammal.

How it works:

  • Capsaicin binds to the TRPV1 pain receptors on the tongue in addition to free nerve endings responsible for detecting heat.
  • Then, these receptors start sending signals to the brain, telling it that something majorly wrong is happening. Something that's hot and painful.
  • Your tongue is tricked by your brain into thinking that it is on fire, so it tries to put out that fire. That's exactly why you start to feel hot when you eat super hot peppers. It's also why you start to sweat and pant as if you've been through a race.
  • Your blood vessels dilate, and you turn red, then your eyes water, you start drooling, and get a runny nose.
  • Essentially, you turn into a flushed, sweating, slobbering, crying mess. Simply because your body is trying its best to flush out the irritant while also trying to cool itself down.

So, what do you do when this happens?

You look for the nearest glass of water and try to drown out the spicy heat. Now, while you may think that water can help, it actually can't. It can only bring about momentary relief, but once it's gone, the fiery sensation will resume.

But for how long?

Thankfully, the heat won't last for all that long. For about 20 to 30 minutes, though it may feel like an eternity when you're in the throes of spiciness. In this period of time, the receptors will dislodge and neutralize the capsaicin chemical. Leaving your mouth completely unscathed.


Try using ice cream to cool down your mouth!


2. Chest Phase

So, is the discomfort over now? Not really.

After you swallow spicy food and it keeps moving through your digestive tract, your body will continue feeling the effects. The capsaicin may start to bind to more pain receptors in the throat and esophagus. Leading to chest pain similar to that of heartburn, aka acid reflux.

Still, it's important to know that though ghost peppers can feel like they're burning a hole through your tongue and digestive tract, they're not actually causing any damage. They're simply mimicking the effect of an injury. Again, this effect is temporary and will pass, so don't worry too much.

It's worth mentioning that spicy foods can cause hiccups on their journey through your alimentary canal. This occurs if capsaicin finds its way to the phrenic nerve and irritates it. Essentially, this nerve feeds the diaphragm, a muscle that separates the chest and abdominal cavities and plays a major role in breathing.

So, when the phrenic nerve is irritated, the diaphragm starts spasming, and the hiccups make their appearance. Still, this doesn't happen in all people who eat spicy food, though it tends to occur more frequently when ingesting ghost peppers and other very hot peppers.

3. Stomach Phase

Now, when the capsaicin reaches the stomach, the membrane lining it will start producing gastric mucus and other chemicals in order to begin the digestion process. Since the stomach starts putting in some effort, you may occasionally experience cramps or feel some stomach pain. You may even feel nauseous and start vomiting if the food is extremely spicy. However, unless you've been eating Carolina Reapers for breakfast, you'll probably be just fine.

4. Intestine Stage

Once the food passes to your intestines, the capsaicin starts to increase the rate of digestion. A little too fast, some may say. In a nutshell, it makes your intestine draw in lots of water, leading to its forceful distention and contraction. This ultimately may result in abdominal pain and, possibly, an uncomfortable bathroom experience.

Is Ghost Pepper Hot Sauce Good for You?

Since most hot sauces typically contain some measure of capsaicin, then yes, ghost pepper hot sauce can be good for you.

Believe it or not, capsaicin has cancer-fighting properties. It can bind and lead to the death of prostate cancer cells. Moreover, it can decrease the chance of breast cancer metastasis. Now, you'll only have these great health benefits with high amounts of capsaicin, and what better way to get that than from a daily dose of delicious hot sauce?

Surprisingly, capsaicin has also been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties, which is why it's sometimes used as an ingredient in topical analgesic creams.
Moreover, it also has the ability to lower blood glucose and cholesterol levels with the added bonus of boosting your mood and metabolism. That's why many people on their weight loss journey are encouraged to eat spicy food.

All in all, hot sauce can be great for your health, that is, if you can withstand the heat. So, next time you're cooking your dinner, take the plunge and throw some ghost pepper hot sauce in the mix.

Why Do People Like Ghost Pepper Hot Sauce?

Even though capsaicin brings about a spell of pain, it also brings about many benefits and here are some reasons why people love this sauce:

  • Endorphins! That's right. When you eat spicy food, your pituitary gland, and hypothalamus release endorphins, which are your body's pain relievers and feel-good chemicals. Typically, the release of this same chemical happens after pleasurable activities like eating chocolate or having sex. It also leads to the much sought-after "runner's high."Now, who wouldn't want a hit of endorphins by simply dabbing some hot sauce on their food? Sure, any spice newbie will be too overwhelmed by the pain at first. However, as you start building up your resistance to the spiciness, you'll start feeling the effect of the endorphins, and you'll learn to associate that nice feeling with the hotness. That's mostly why tons of people crave spicy food and look forward to eating it when they're stressed or tired.


  • Thrill Seekers. The reason why people participate in hot pepper eating contests? They simply love the thrill of testing and pushing their body's limit to the max.


  • Bragging Rights. Also, for many people, it's a pride thing. Like, they love the fact that they can bear the pain when others can't, or they simply don't like the idea of feeling or looking weak in front of their friends when they fail to withstand the spice level. This explains why so many spicy food dares and challenges flooded the internet in recent years.


  • The Taste. One more explanation for why some people like hot sauce is its appetizing flavor. As simple as that. Others like a good hedonic reversal, which is when you finally accept and actually enjoy the fact that spicy food won't hurt you, even though your mouth feels like molten lava.

So, as you can see, there are various reasons why people can fall in love with hot sauce. So, whatever your reason is for loving the spiciness, make sure to nurture this love and enjoy it to the fullest.

What Does Ghost Pepper Sauce Taste Like?

Ghost pepper in itself is kind of fruity and sweet. This sweetness carries on to the sauce, and we have complemented this with some vinegar for tanginess and the garlic for savoriness.

You'll be able to taste these undertones initially, but after about 30 seconds or so, the heat will kick in. In the first 10 to 15 minutes, the heat will gradually increase until it hits the peak. Then, you'll notice a decrease in the intensity over the next half hour, and your mouth will return to normal and leave you wanting more.

Why Do Some People Handle Spicy Food Better?

Quite simply, spice tolerance is a nurtured ability. Your body gets used to eating spicy food, over time, meaning, with repeated exposure, the capsaicin has a lesser effect on you.

Some believe this happens because capsaicin ultimately kills tongue pain receptors with repetition. That's why an untrained tongue feels much more pain than one raised eating spicy food. That's also why a spice-enthusiast would need more spice to evoke an effect similar to that produced in a hot-pepper-eating beginner.

As such, spice lovers tend to increase their spice levels as time goes by. They simply can't have the full experience with small amounts, so they crank up the heat to get that spice-induced thrill.

How to Stay Safe While Eating Ghost Pepper Hot Sauce?

There really isn't all that much you have to do. But here are some top tips that will help you stay safe:

  • Just put on as much as you can handle and preferably wear gloves if you'll be eating with your hands.
  • If you're tearing up, make sure to avoid touching your eyes, or you'll deeply regret this action. Your eyes can feel pain just as much as your tongue, so be careful. Then take off your gloves and wash your hands thoroughly.
  • If you feel that the spice level is too much for you take a swig of milk or open up that tub of vanilla ice cream. The fats in many milk-based products, as well as a protein called casein, will break down the capsaicin. This leads to an ease in the pain sensation.
  • Some people claim that alcohol is also a good spice diffuser, though this isn't 100% true. It's better to chew some carbs or stick with dairy products. Weirdly enough, acidic ingredients like tomatoes or lime juice are great at dulling the pain. So, remember to pick one of the previous suggestions if you ever feel overwhelmed, then continue on with your meal.
Are there Dangers to Ghost Pepper Sauce?
African Ghost Peppers

So, can ghost pepper sauce hurt you?  Normally, eating a ghost pepper or ghost pepper sauce can't really hurt you. As we said, it only causes a painful burning sensation, but it isn't actually doing any damage.

Nevertheless, it can hurt if you've got an underlying condition or if you eat an insane amount in one sitting.
Candidly, ghost peppers can cause seizures, heart attacks, and even death. However, that's only if you eat more than 1/50th of your body weight, which equates to 3 pounds for the average person, and who in their right mind would eat that amount willingly?

Sure, you may have heard of a couple of people going to the hospital after having eaten pureed ghost pepper or Carolina Reaper. However, these cases are extremely rare and usually happen at ghost pepper eating contests that require participants to eat enormous amounts at insanely high rates.

That means the average joe who likes ghost pepper sauce will be fine as long as he's healthy and sensible. The maximum risk that comes with eating a ghost pepper product is a stinging sensation all over your mouth.

Nonetheless, some people are better off forgoing chili pepper altogether. For example, if you've got acid reflux and heartburn, any and all liquid or powdered capsaicin-rich peppers will only worsen your symptoms. The same goes if you suffer from stomach ulcers, gallbladder diseases, Crohn's disease, Celiac disease, or ulcerative colitis.

When you eat a ghost pepper, you won't end up with a stomach ulcer. However, the past world's spiciest pepper will definitely make it feel a whole lot worse. Likewise, if you have IBS, the spiciness won't result in more inflammation, but your bowels won't like it, and it'll let you know.

To sum it up, ghost peppers are absolutely safe for you to eat as long as you're not allergic or suffering from a gastrointestinal problem.


Ghost peppers, aka bhut jolokia, have a Scoville rating of 1.35 million Scoville units.  A jalapeño pepper is rated 2,500 to 8,000 Scoville units which gives you an idea about how hot that is,. Meanwhile, tabasco sauce has 30,000 to 80,000 Scoville heat units, and a habanero has 100,000 to 350,000 Scoville units.

This is no longer the case, although ghost peppers were hailed in 2007 as the world's hottest chili pepper. Several new variates of hot peppers have exceeded it on the Scoville scale, including the Trinidad Scorpion Butch T, Trinidad Moruga Scorpion, Carolina Reaper, and Dragon's Breath Chile.

The question isn't a matter of can but rather a matter of should. Honestly, you should avoid feeding any child something extremely hot, such as bhut jolokia pepper. Though they'll probably be fine, the experience will be very painful and frightening for them, and they'll be severely traumatized.

Some scientists, in around 2009,  suggested using ghost peppers to make non-lethal, military-grade pepper spray to stop riots. Some also suggested their use in civilian variants for self-defense. Interestingly enough, in India, pepper grenades made from ghost peppers were used to force out a cave-dwelling terrorist!

Final Thoughts

Bhut jolokia, known as ghost pepper in the western world, is a painfully delicious chili pepper that's used in various sauces and dishes all over the world, including our African Ghost Pepper Sauce.

While it's no longer the world's hottest pepper, it's still spicy enough to knock your socks off but not to warrant a hospital visit. At the absolute worst, you may experience a case of the runs, but other than that, you'll be just a-okay.

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