Good Stuff from Bourbon Barrel Foods


I grew up in Louisville, Kentucky. In the 1970s. Not gonna lie to you. At that time it was pretty much a gastronomic wasteland, except for the not inconsiderable charms of Waffle House. Scattered, smothered and covered.. but I digress.

Bourbon has always been one of Kentucky’s greatest exports. Even in the dark days, there was Maker’s Mark and a handful of others making quality whiskey. Now the big houses like Jim Beam have many single-barrel upmarket products, and smaller producers such as Bulleit are making superb bourbons.

So it is only fitting that Bourbon Barrel Foods is using … wait for it … bourbon barrels … to age some absolutely beautiful, artisanal foods. They graciously sent me three samples recently, and I’ve enjoyed them all.

Fine soy sauce is a non-trivial undertaking, and frankly I was a little skeptical. I needn’t have been. This one has a rich, complex flavor without any chemical or caramel-flavor notes.

The bourbon-smoked paprika tastes as good to me as any from Spain. It isn’t too spicy, and the smokiness level is just right to enhance an adult mac & cheese or this panko-crusted egg.

And possibly my favorite, if forced to choose: the bourbon-vanilla sorghum. Sorghum is a grass that is used mainly as animal fodder in America, though in other parts of the world it is an important cereal for people. When processed into a syrup, it has an intense flavor somewhat comparable to molasses. It might be an acquired taste for some, but I served it with pancakes for a group of 4 adults and 3 kids, and everyone enjoyed it. I think it would also be amazing with cornbread.

So there you have it. Some great products from my homeboys… makes me proud!

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Posted by Michael Natkin on Thursday, September 24th, 2009 in My Kitchen, Sauces and Condiments.

One Response to “Good Stuff from Bourbon Barrel Foods”

  1. Reply
    September 26, 2009 at 7:24 pm #

    Try the smoked pepper. It’s awesome on goat cheese with some of the sorghum on a cracker. Plus they sell bags of the char from inside the barrels in case you want to do some grilling. I used it when i grilled some portebella mushrooms. yum.

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