Saturday, February 02, 2013

In praise of Suckerpunch Spicy Ketchup

I’ve been in mourning for the loss of Blanchard Brothers spicy ketchup for years. Unfortunately specialty ketchups have been eclipsed by salsas the last few years, so the candidates for replacing Blanchard Bros have been few and far between.

Suckerpunch Spicy Gourmet Ketchup isn’t Blanchard and Blanchard’s chunky, but it’s pretty darned good. Thus far it has been a fine ketchup on burgers, black bean patties, fried potatoes and onions, and the ultimate test, tater tots. I’ve had this jar for about 2 weeks, and it’s over half gone. One reason is that it’s good enough I keeping making excuses to cook things which would be good with ketchup on them. Yeah. It’s good.

Suckerpunch is quite spicy without being more than mildly hot. After tomatos and green peppers, the ingredients list includes brown sugar, cider vinegar, onion, garlic, jalapeno, and lime juice, and the ever-informative ‘spices.’ You can directly taste all of them in the mix, but the manufacturer has gotten them to sing together rather than be merely an accumulation.

The ketchup itself is anything but chunky, and in fact is downright thin. That makes putting it on a hamburger an invitation to drip, and dammit, I don’t want to miss eating any of this. That thin-ness also means anything dipped in it doesn’t come back with very much ketchup. We’re talking tater tots here (mmm...tater tots), but the same would apply to french fries, onion rings and so forth. (Onion rings. Man, this would be awesome on onion rings.) I spoon the stuff across what I’m eating, but if you do the entire meal’s worth at once the last few items get a bit soggy. Thickening it up for dipping would be nice.

If the Suckerpunch folks are looking for other products, a more Blanchard-like chunky variant would be nice. Blanchard Brothers got a lot of their tang from the vinegar, and they augmented that with an array of spices that had a lot of punch but weren’t in any way hot. The small chunks of tomato, green pepper and onion made for both a nice texture on the tongue and a variety of tastes as you hit one chunk or another.

But that’s all mild carping, downright bland carping when you compare it to the taste of this stuff. Now I need to go to the grocery store and see if they carry Suckerpunch pickles.

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