Enjoy With Eyes Wide Open
ove over Cholula and Tapatio. It’s time to make some room on the spice rack (or wherever you keep your hot sauce) for other heavy-hitting brands that bridge the gap between heat and flavor. Allow me to introduce you to Ghost Scream, owned and operated by Chef Matthew Sisson and his wife Deandra, the power-house couple that fuzed their culinary passion and design skills to bring these sauces to life. With a passion for life fueled by wanderlust, Chef Matt was able to take one of the hottest peppers available (ghost pepper) and create sauces that everyone can enjoy. Whether it’s National Hot Sauce Day or Taco Tuesday, we think you should give this product a go — your tacos will be very happy you did. To learn more about the secrets that make Ghost Scream a success, as well as what to do when things get too hot, we sat down with Chef Matt Sisson and grilled him about all things peppers.
Q&A With Chef Matthew Sisson
Q: Hot or not: A girl who carries hot sauce in her purse.
Matthew Sisson: Way Hot, anyone who is that passionate about spice is WINNING in my book!
Q: Can you tell us about the process of creating your unique recipe?
MS: Well, as I have always said, “We start by adding our secret ingredient… L.O.V.E. I believe that there must be a balance between heat and flavor. All of our products use fresh produce which allows us to create depth and layers of flavors.
Q: According to Quartz, “The hot sauce industry in America alone has grown by 150 percent since 2000, which is more than BBQ sauce, ketchup, mustard, and mayonnaise combined.” What is Ghost Scream doing to stay ahead of the pack?
MS: The craft hot sauce movement is real and is happening at this moment. I grew up learning to cook from my mother, grandmother and close family friends. I took that passion to culinary school and then went on to work in some of the finest food establishments in the world. Those skills have allowed me to take an idea and transform them into true flavor. People are looking for flavors that remind them of a time, a place or a moment in their lives. Ghost Scream is that portal.
Q: Dave DeWitt drinks a Virgin Mary every morning, allowing him to sample as many of the hundreds of hot sauces he has on hand as possible. What perplexing food rituals do you participate in to peak your pepper knowledge?
MS: I am that guy who eats a fresh hot pepper with most meals. I really enjoy tasting the different flavors that each pepper contains and pairing it with what I’m eating.
Q: Have you ever participated in extreme chili breeding? Can you tell us about that process, or is it too hot to talk about? (Pun intended)
MS: Honestly, I have not. But I support the cause!
Q: According to a Forbes article, there has been an increasing number of roles that hot sauce is adopting in the kitchen recently. They go on to say how some are promoting its presence in fondue and smoothies. What’s the most interesting thing you’ve put Ghost Scream on/in?
MS: Food is very Yen-Yang, and the tongue is a very complex muscle. Using hot sauce in recipes can bring brightness into a rich or fatty dish that most ingredients cannot achieve. I love using Ghost Scream in vinaigrettes and dressing recipes.
Q: What’s a weird pairing you would suggest for your hot sauce?
MS: We absolutely love Ghost Scream Chili Garlic Jam on top of salted caramel ice cream. Sounds cray-cray but it’s delish!
Q: What’s your go-to cure when your heat tolerance has tapped out. Are you a milk chugger or looking for the closest baguette to chew on?
MS: I am a milk man.
Q: How many different flavors of Ghost Scream are available? Can you talk us through the different flavor profiles? If I’m the kind of person who puts hot sauce on everything, what hot sauce would you recommend? And I’d be looking for something to complement the food, rather than mask it with a crazy heat factor.
MS: We currently make four products. Our hot sauce is the OG, it has more of the typical taco sauce flavor but richness and depth with subtle notes of sweetness and citrus. The Chili Garlic Paste is our hottest product. Robust with heavy garlic and a roasted, smokey flavor. I think of it as primal, the flavors of our beginnings. The Chili Garlic Jam is “da jam”….sticky, sweet and smoky goodness. It has a cult following that is almost scary! Our newest product is The Curse of Capt. Vindaloo. It is a curry hot sauce which maybe my greatest! A southern India style curry with brightness and creamy flavor with notes of coconut and tropical citrus. If you love complex flavor, this is the one! But I would always hand you the OG as my recommendation. There is a reason why it won the title “Grand World Champion” at the New York City Hot Sauce Expo. Ghost Scream Hot Sauce is going to be your everyday “go-to”! We have and always will be about bridging the gap between heat and flavor! Welcome to Flavor Country!
GHOST SCREAM SPICY GUACAMOLE
Serves 6 – 8 people
- 3-4 Avocados (diced)
- 2 Limes
- ½ cup Red Onion (minced)
- 2 tsp Fresh Garlic (minced)
- 3 tbsp Fresh Cilantro (minced)
- 1 tbsp Kosher Salt
- 1 tsp Fresh Cracked Coriander Seed
- Ghost Scream Hot Sauce or Ghost Scream Chili Garlic Paste
- Squeeze Lime Juice into a bowl.
- Add the Kosher Salt, Red Onions, Garlic, Coriander and Cilantro to marinate.
- Add diced Avocados.
- Combine all the ingredients in serving bowl and form into a mound.
- Using a spoon, make a small impression on top the guacamole mound.
- Fill with Ghost Scream Hot Sauce or Ghost Scream Chili Garlic Paste for a Spicy Kick!
- Enjoy with Eyes Wide Open!