When first we embarked on the Miners Mix adventure, we had a stable of rubs and spice blends of which we were very proud. We set about the genial task of marketing them to a hungry public, and we enjoyed a measure of steady success. However, everywhere we went, we met with that curious brand of person, the pepperhead, and each time, these unusual folks would pose the same query: “Don’t you have any hot rubs?”. Now, at the time, we were sanguine in our offerings, since we offered even then our Wholly Chipotle. Wholly Chipotle is a spicy rub made from actual smoked jalapeno, imparting the relatively “hot”, fruity taste and smokiness of true chipotle. For most “mainstream” palates this rub is plenty hot, and delivers a satisfying spice.
For the pepperhead, however, this rub apparently did not qualify as hot. We were puzzled, and so we turned inward to a couple of true pepperheads in our own Miners Mix family. Why, we asked, do some people taste Wholly Chipotle and with their eyes and nose running, cry for water, and some simply smile and say “Yes, that’s nice. Do you have a hot rub?”?
That is when we were introduced to the world of the pepperhead. These folks, we learned have, um, unique palates. “Hot”, it seems, is a highly individual experience. Faced with this new insight, we did what we always do to solve a Miners Mix conundrum: we called a Miners Mix family meeting and we developed a “simple” strategy. The Ole Miner developed a “base” rub – flavorful, and multi faceted. Delicious all by itself. Then he opened a case of wine, and gave the pepperheads (and the rest of the family) a simple challenge: drink lots of wine, and using this base rub, develop a rub that YOU folks would consider reasonably “hot”. That is, something you (the pepperheads) would consider very hot, but would still use on food. AND, don’t use any artificial ingredients, no enhancers, no capsaicin oil or powder. Real peppers and spices ONLY. And don’t lose the flavor of that delicious base rub. You may, he said, ADD flavor, but you may not detract flavor. It is way too easy to make something just hot. Witness the glut of stupidly “hot” products on the market. None of them have any flavor – they’re just designed to be hot. This hot rub had to adhere to the Miners Mix standard of real, eye rolling, OMG, that’s fantastic, way above expectation flavor.
Huh. Um, any other simple chores you’d like us to knock out for you?
And so, we began. After much experimentation, several failures and a lot of wine, Miners Mix Hotbanero rub was born. It is a fruity, flavorful, full bodied Southwestern hot flavor, that is sure to make a true pepperhead smile with pleasure. It DEFINITELY is not for everyone. This rub is truly hot, and it is exquisite. It’s heat is fairly intense, and is right up front and in your face, but the true flavor of the base rub and the fruit of the various peppers is prominent on the tongue. And it contains nothing artificial, and no “heat boosters” save the peppers themselves!
The Miners Mix family was busily shaking hands all around, and toasting success (maybe a bit sloppily at this point) with good wine. Everyone was smiling – especially the Ole Miner. He said, “Good job, gang. Now – do it again, only this time take it to the limit of what is still Miners Mix good, but as hot as you can go and stay on this planet. And make it different, materially different, from Hotbanero.”
One more round for the crew, and in we jumped. We pushed the envelope. Once or twice a bit too far (thanks to the wine!). In the end, we created an even hotter rub with a distinct Asian surround, and just a hint of sweetness on the fire. Once again the base rub is discernable with the fruit flavors of host of peppers, including some of the hottest peppers on the planet. This delicious rub is designed to be used in small quantities, perhaps in concert with other Miners Mix rubs. It’s fiery flavor is absent at first taste, but then you will feel it creeping across your tongue from the back of your mouth, and an intense heat will cover your palate, always remaining true to the flavors of the base rub and the pepper fruit tastes. As always for Miners Mix, it is all natural, with no “enhancers” or additives. Once again, celebration ensued. This rub was HOT, but man, it was GOOD. The Ole Miner called this one Fire in the Hole (with good reason).
Most of the rest of the evening is foggy for most of us, but we rose the next morning (er, afternoon), with a horrible question! Sure it was great last night (what wasn’t great last night!), but was it all a wine soaked illusion, or had we actually succeeded. Once again we tasted. Once again we celebrated (quietly and with coffee). We had indeed done it.
We’re pretty proud of the whole Miners Mix line, but nowadays, when someone says “But don’t you have a hot rub?”, we smile and break out Hotbanero and Fire in the Hole. We’ve yet to meet someone who asks for something hotter.