Greetings, spice fans, and welcome back to another month of fiery food reviews. As we enter into july, I’m finally caving to pressure and throwing a spotlight on the ketchup that Daddy Cool has been bugging me about. His Ketch the Reaper:
A chilli ketchup made with the current world record chilli but apparently still suitable for beginners.
After Farraday’s “mild” sauce, I’m a little sceptical of anything that claims to be both reaper and a sensible heat. Yet Encona came pretty close to a satisfying world record chilli sauce for the general public and, in doing so, made for my all time most read review. It would be remiss of me not to try the artisan equivalent and, considering who’s making it, my hopes are high.
I have never had a bad product from Daddy Cool’s before and I have no reason to believe that that will change today.
Before I dive right into it, though, let’s take a moment to assess the packaging.
Today’s sauce comes in a square, two-hundred and twenty mil bottle, rather than the normal one fifty, but its label design is oh so similar to the Jeepers Reapers revenge that I showed you last time.
The logo is identical, the red and black colouring is only marginally darker and the mock torn edges differ only in that they now follow the circular brushstrokes around the peppers up top. It’s the modern Daddy Cool’s template through and through, even holding another great taste award icon, like that previous sauce.
It looks fantastic and it draws a visual connection to the company’s other reaper product, yet it doesn’t actually say “reaper” without words. All its appearance says to me is “red” and “rich”. Which, to be fair, is most of what I want out of a ketchup. I’d just like to see the specifics, too.
The only specifics on the front, though, are written ones. The “Reaper” in the name, the “Hot” rating around its neck and the mention of “killer tomatoes” in a tag-line that references nineteen seventy-eight’s most infamous B-movie.
It doesn’t even say ketchup, though the tomatoes and the “Ketch” in the name heavily imply it.
And what, exactly, does “Hot” mean when we’ve seen it on everything from ghost pepper’s five to a reaper nine point five? All I know for sure is that Daddy Cool is calling this hotter than his Fatalii Attaction.
No matter how much I enjoy looking at it, today’s bottle can only tell me so much. It’s about time that I cracked it open and explored the contents, instead:
It’s thick, red and gloopy – As ketchup should be – with a rich, thoroughly-cooked tomato taste on first impact. Then roasted red peppers sneak in to further enhance its richness with their own, somewhat savoury flavour.
Sweetness and nutmeg are apparent throughout, along with something almost herbal, and there’s just enough acidity to keep the Ketch tasting like ketchup, rather than being merely a rich, roasted tomato sauce like Fat Man Chilli Co’s.
It’s a fine balance of flavour, even without it, that works absolutely wonderfully to craft an extra special, yet still ever so multi-purpose condiment.
It’s going to go on sausages, beans, chips, roasties, burgers and roasts, like any other ketchup but it’s also perfect for mixing into a bolognese, tomato soup, stir fry or pizza sauce. Or for slathering over just about anything on the barbecue, from pork and beef to chicken, veg, halloumi and even pineapple.
There’s not a lot that you can’t fit Daddy Cool’s ketchup on or into and, when Steve says cheese toasties, it really gets my mouth watering. It’s just that versatile and tasty.
But it is worth noting that part of its usability comes from its chilli content. Or rather, its lack thereof.
With only two fifths of a percent of Ketch the Reaper actually being the namesake chilli and no other hot peppers present to support it, I don’t taste the world record pepper or feel a burn remotely close to what it’s capable of. In fact, if we judge it on pure intensity, it’s not even as hot as Encona’s.
Yet, while that sauce crept in slowly, Ketch is a quick to hit a high
with the stinging quality of roasted chillies. And, despite making itself known from the moment it touches your tongue, it’s still distinctively reaper in the way that it hits the sides the most, before warming all the way down. It’s a hearty, satisfying burn but never quite a four point five intensity, like Encona’s more short-lived kick.
At what I’d call an “extra hot” heat, though, you’re definitely going to feel this sauce, even if it won’t make you suffer in the way that full on reaper would. It’s just a good, strong burn for those who enjoy chilli and an every day level for people as used to it as me.
If you can handle ghost pepper sauces, you should be able to put today’s Ketch on anything and everything without worry. And, if you can’t, well, this is a nice stepping stone in between them and a more sensible, habanero-based product. It exceeds your usual supermarket fare but not by a scary amount.
For pure intensity, Encona will give you a bit more bang for your buck but, if you ask me, the quality of flavour and sensation to today’s sauce is far more enjoyable. It’s definitely worth the extra cost to grab the less mass-produced product and give Ketch the Reaper a try.
Daddy Cool’s knocked it out of the park again and I would, as I always seem to end up doing, thoroughly recommend his sauce. Here’s what goes into it:
Passata (25%) (tomatoes (99%), acidity regulator, citric acid), Spirit Vinegar, Roasted Red Peppers (water, sugar, spirit vinegar, salt, acidity regulator, citric acid), Honey, Sugar, Fresh Apple Juice, Fresh Lemon Juice, Tomato Powder (2%), Salt, Cornflour, Carolina Reapers (0.4%), Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, CELERY Salt, Spices, Nutmeg.