spicy food

Spicy Jalapeno Cheddar Burgers and Smoked Goodness!

My girlfriend’s family came in to visit us on Friday night. A weekend of cookin’ was planned for both Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday, we grilled, and Sunday we smoked. Despite the weather calling for thunderstorms (nothing happened), we were all in.

Kurt Halls and Caribeque released the brand new rub, the “AP Rub” (All Purpose) on Father’s Day. I’d been wanting to try it and mentioned to my girlfriend’s dad, Eric, that we need to try it soon. The thing about mentioning something to Eric is, he’s going to want to do it, 100%, all in the very first time. I felt guilty after I mentioned to him, because he said, “Guess I’ll order some”. As you can see in my previous post, I’d ordered three Caribeque Spicy Calypso Kick seasonings from Caribeque. I gave one to him, as well as an extra container of McCormick’s smoked sea salt.

Yep… not only did he hook me and the little lady up with the all-new Caribeque AP Rub, he got us two more bottles of Caribeque Smack Sauce. Listen, if you haven’t tried Smack Sauce on some French fries or other potatoes, you are missing out, folks. That should be on everybody’s bucket list. That stuff is amazing. We only have a little bit left from our first bottle, but that’s only because we were trying to stretch it out and make it last! We almost finished that bottle in the first couple of days of using it. It is that good.

Happy as hell, running on five hours of sleep. Saturday morning (July 1st).

That morning, we went grocery shopping for the weekend feast!

That evening, I busted out my STOK drum grill for burgers and a slew of smoked sausage. We had a pack of Johnsonville jalapeno cheddar and a family pack of Johnsonville “Beddar with Cheddar”. Everybody fell in love with the “Beddar with Cheddar”. I don’t have pictures of either, but they were awesome.

The burgers, though, man oh man were they good! I was eager to try out the Caribeque AP Rub. For three burgers (for me, Eric and family friend/my quasi-brother Robert), we took a big ass amount of 73/27 ground beef and added Kraft jalapeno cheddar cheese, Mrs. Renfros ghost pepper salsa and sprinkled AP Rub inside and on the outside. To say it was incredible would be an understatement.


The burgers were so flavorful and juicy! We grilled more burgers for our crowd, but these were over the top in flavor! I would love to do these again.

On Sunday, our smoke featured a variety of things. I didn’t take pictures of everything, but we smoked: trout, a pork shoulder, bologna, chicken quarter and bacon-wrapped jalapenos.

I can’t rave about the bacon-wrapped jalapenos enough.

We took another package of Kraft jalapeno cheddar cheese and stuffed it in there along with ground pork sausage. We smoked the jalapenos longer than usual to ensure the pork sausage would be done. This was all Eric’s idea, and holy hell it was good. The reason we get along so well is because we are food fiends. We appreciate damn good food, and I appreciate his ideas!

The 11 lb. pork shoulder was smoked for about five hours before we threw it in the crockpot and made a modified Mississippi roast with it, using a little bit of vinegar and pepperoncini peppers. It wasn’t ready until the next morning (for breakfast), but it was just as awesome.

Sauces n Such by Ryan Lindquist Review

Ryan Lindquist has taken over 25 years of experience to develop his own signature products. His mission is to spread his product’s flavors to as many people as possible and to know that his products will put smiles on people’s faces. He believes that good food bring people together. I agree with that. To buy Ryan’s sauces, visit his website: Sauces n Such by Ryan.

Asides from the fact that I’m a.. a.. “foodie”.. (Damn, I hate that made-up word, but I do love food and experimenting with ingredients and trying new things) there’s another reason I wanted to give Ryan Lindquist’s products a chance. Recently I posted three sauces I’d purchased from Buffalo Wild Wings (mango habanero, spicy garlic and hot BBQ) and, although I love their wing sauces, I thought about how I’d rather spend money with small businesses, given that I enjoy the product (of course). I’ve done so in the past with Lucky Dog hot sauce (I still need to review their sauce) and Pex Peppers.

Left to right: Scorpion Juice, Wild West BBQ sauce and Sweet Venom Hot Sauce


Ryan has four sauces available (bolded are the ones I have): Scorpion JuiceSweet Venom Hot SauceWild West BBQ Sauce and 757 steak sauce. I don’t particularly care for sauce with my steak, as I just like the flavor of the meat with a pat of butter, although I’d be open to trying his steak sauce one of these days. My package of sauces also came with a bit of his homemade “12 finger rub” that I ended up trying out on some steak.

I have yet to try the barbecue sauce. I’m waiting until I get a chance to smoke some baby back ribs that I have in my freezer. Those smoked baby backs will be a prime chance to try out that ‘Q sauce!

Upon bringing my package home and alerting Ryan on Facebook that I’d received them in good condition, it was about 2 or so in the afternoon and I hadn’t eaten anything all day. The chicken thighs that I’d grilled a day or two prior were still in the fridge; I had two remaining, along with three pork chops. I immediately throw the meats in the oven on 400 and waited impatiently.

The first sauce I tried is easily my favorite: Scorpion Juice. My mouth is watering just thinking about it right now.

Scorpion Juice


I was afraid that the citrus evident in the sauce would be overwhelming. I was wrong. I dipped a piece of pork chop in the saucy mixture in my paper plate and it was love at first bite. Maybe I was biased, since I was hungry and my tastebuds were pining for stimulation, but I couldn’t believe how full of flavor this sauce, Scorpion Juice, is. The citrus is not overwhelming at all. To my tastebuds, it’s actually in the background of the sauce, and the spice — labelled medium — is evident but it doesn’t overtake the flavor of the sauce itself. There are far too many hot sauces out there with heat that overpowers the flavor of the actual sauce and it becomes too dark. Scorpion Juice does not fall prey to that happening.

Scorpion Juice is a full flavored sauce. When my chicken was sufficiently hot, it was just as good with the Scorpion Juice as the pork chops were. It’s a “full bodied” hot sauce, I’d describe it, because it’s more than just one flavor. It’s an amalgamation of experience in your mouth. I love it. It’s already one of my favorite sauces and I can’t wait to use it on a leftover grilled chicken breast today.

On the other side of the paper plate, I drizzled some of Ryan’s Sweet Venom Hot sauce.

Sweet Venom is damn good, too. Expectedly, it’s hotter than the Scorpion Juice, but it’s not too hot to the point you want to chug ranch dressing. It’s hot to the point of, at least for me (take into consideration that I love spicy food and used to eat habanero peppers like grapes until they began affecting my stomach), where it makes its presence known as your tastebuds as though it’s saying, “Hey, I’m here, but I still pack flavor!”

To my palate, Sweet Venom delivers a mildly dark (I don’t like sauces ‘too dark’), comfortably tangy taste. I need to try it again, but by itself, with my food, because I believe the Scorpion Juice is stronger in flavor than the Sweet Venom, and eating them next to one another may have masked its flavor. Regardless, it is fantastic as well albeit the Scorpion Juice is still my favorite sauce between the two. I can’t wait to smoke some bologna again and make a sandwich featuring the Sweet Venom hot sauce on it. That will be the bomb. And if you’ve never had smoke bologna before, shame on you, because it’s an absolute revelation.

Dinner was a late decision. It was supposed to storm in the evening, but as I checked the weather report, it had changed to the night, so I defrosted the thin ribeyes that my little lady had purchased a month or so ago as well as two chicken breasts and some potatoes, and soon enough the grill was fired up.

After the ribeyes defrosted (since they were thin, they didn’t take long), I applied a good bit of Ryan’s “12 Finger Rub” to them. I didn’t apply the rub to the chicken breasts; I used Weber’s “Kick’N Chicken” seasoning. I simple hit the potatoes with some salt and pepper.

Chicken breasts

Another shot of chicken breasts.

Browning up the ribeyes with Ryan’s 12 Finger Rub.

The ribeyes, looking great with Ryan’s 12 Finger Rub.

I typically use Kingsford blue, but for this cook I used Royal Oak briquettes. They started much faster than Kingsford and burned hot, but it seems that they lost heat a lot faster despite filling my STOK drum grill basket just about to the top. I was hoping to get the temps to about 550-600 degrees to give the steaks a darker crust, but that’s OK. Next time I’m going to use lump when I grill steaks.

The 12 Finger Rub is pretty good. On steaks, it isn’t my favorite. I should have used it on the chicken as well, but I have enough left to use it on chicken, pork chops and other items next time. It had a nice profile to it, and as I chewed my steak it mixed in pretty well with the flavors of the meat. I could taste a variety of the “zings” it presented itself with.

I’ve also tried the Scorpion Juice with grilled burgers and hotdogs. Terrific on both!

I’m not a number rating kind of guy. Sometimes I am, but numbers, even on a 1-10 scale rating system, are completely arbitrary and only the user rating them can truly comprehend the meaning, method and motivation behind why they score something the way they do.

I will just say this: the sauces are damn good. No, they are great. The Scorpion Juice is easily my favorite, but that’s not to say the Sweet Venom isn’t up there as well! It’s just that the Scorpion Juice is out of this world fantastic. I still need to try the barbecue sauce, which I will, and I’ll update this post when I do, and I need to give the 12 Finger Rub another go on different meats. With that said, this has been a fantastic experience and I recommend those of you visiting and reading to check out his sauces and give them a whirl. I can tell his a grinder and stands on the hustle’n’grind daily with his sauces. He’s up late and back up early in the morning doing what he can to spread the word out about his sauces. He is not a charlatan pimping out weak products. These products are damn good, hand crafted and well worth checking out.

Full disclosure: I have no vested monetary interest in these products in regards to financial gain. Ryan contacted me a week or two ago about trying out his sauces and I finally decided to give them a shot. This post was written objectively and within the realm of my own, personal experiences that do not reflect the experiences of anybody else but my own. I’m simply a food, spice and hot sauce connoisseur that doesn’t mind supporting a small business if I believe in its products. I believe in Ryan’s, hence my free endorsement of Sauces n Such.