1/19/2011: Experimenting with chile-infused honey
by Adam Kuban
I’m trying to perfect my recipe for chile-infused honey before posting it on Slice. Credit where due: It is 100% inspired by Mike’s Hot Honey, which is available online or from the bar at Paulie Gee’s.
I’m playing with the spice levels. The honey on its own is pretty damn hot. But on a recent pizza I drizzled it on, it wasn’t overpowering. The wife, though, said that the honey (again, on its own) was all heat — that it lost any other flavor components. On the pizza, though, I was able to discern the sweetness it added, and the spiciness was a slow burn. So I might be at the right power level. Still, I want to tweak before posting the definitive recipe.
I’m also a bit concerned about food safety issues. My original source for the technique was actually Serious Eats (imagine that!). But the commenters there brought up the possibility of botulism spores growing in the anaerobic environment of the honey.
Mike’s Hot Honey, I suspect, gets around this by using vinegar (you’ll see it listed on the label). From what I’ve read, heating the honey to 185°F for five minutes should be enough to kill any botulism microbes that could later produce botulism spores. To play it safe, I’d say that you should probably consume this honey within a few days of making it and trash any remaining at the end of a week.