Volcanic Peppers LLC – Omaha, NE
Volcano Dust Spicy Chili Powder is a four-chile chili powder blend, and is one of many chile-based powders manufactured by Volcanic Peppers LLC. The chiles comprise the largest portion of the blend (as is typical for chili powders); the label does not say what varietals are used, but the Volcanic Peppers website identifies them as Ancho, Jalapeno, Cayenne and Smoked Habanero. Garlic and onion are next in terms of weight in the recipe, followed by paprika, then the ubiquitous catch-all “spices.”
This Volcano Dust product is supplied in a 3-ounce flip-top plastic bottle; the flip top has a smaller shaker port and a larger bulk port. The Dust itself is a well-blended, variegated powder composed of various reddish medium powders, green flakes and tan flakes. The fact that it is not uniform in color shows that it does not contain any dyes or artificial colors, which are always applied during or after blending (so all the components get dyed the same color). It is, on average, a medium-grained powder, and the shaker dispenses it at a reasonable rate for how hot it is (which is “very”).
I have no idea what this stuff smells like, and I recommend that you don’t try to find out either, for what are (I hope) obvious reasons. It tastes like a high-quality chili powder of reasonable complexity, with little-to-no salt (none, per the label). The focus is on the chiles, with the garlic and onions playing a solid backing role. There are some fairly prominent herbals— oregano and thyme, I suspect— and a bit of smoke. If there’s any cumin in there, it’s very restrained, because I honestly don’t pick up on any.
This “Spicy Chili Powder” is quite spicy indeed; it easily rates an 8 out of 10, if not a half a point higher. The burn has just the slightest amount of creep before it sets in, and it is intense when it does. It is a good whole-mouth burn, as you’d expect from a four-chile blend, but the front of the mouth is most particularly impacted. The burn is long-lived, most particularly the mid-mouth component, which fades to a nice tenacious glow. Repeated ingestion during development of tasting notes produced significant gustatory sweating, not just on my forehead but on my cheeks as well.
This stuff has honestly become a staple in my cupboard. It is as easy to apply to a finished meal as salt, and you honestly need so little of it that the chili flavor doesn’t throw anything off if you use it as an easy source of heat. The deli in the grocery store I frequent makes really good restaurant-style tortilla chips (much better than anything on the chip aisle), and Volcano Dust is an easy way to make them a lot more “interesting”— just sprinkle some in the bag, close it and shake it up. Then there’s the obvious: use it in your chili.
If you’re only going to have one spicy powder in your kitchen, this is the one!
Ingredients: chiles, garlic, onion, paprika, spices.
Per the manufacturer’s website, the chiles are Ancho, Jalapeno, Cayenne and Smoked Habanero.
In constant use. Highly recommended.