Chili Beak is a tiny company with big, spicy dreams.
In their small North Salt Lake commercial kitchen, owners Jason and Giselle McClure roast, mix and bottle chili oil daily, but at press time they were working toward a bigger operation, with employees, a distributor and a warehouse.
“We’re going to be hiring people, hopefully soon,” Jason says. Luckily, the product’s not too complicated, and the couple can turn out about 500 bottles per week. “It’s chile de árbol (a pepper resembling a bird’s beak, hence the name), sunflower oil, toasted sesame seed oil, and we put in Redmond Real Salt and garlic powder,” Giselle says. “And two other chilies we keep secret,” Jason adds.
The hard part for the couple, who discovered chili oil in Mexico and noticed a dearth of the Mexican-style oil in the states, was perfecting the recipe—a seven-month quest. “There was a lot of crying, coughing and sneezing along the way,” Jason says.
They must have got it right. The recipe was finalized last January and sales only started in September, but already over a dozen local stores have Chili Beak on their shelves including Liberty Heights Fresh, Caputo’s and Pirate O’s.
Like hot sauce, the chili oil is used to give food a kick, particularly Mexican food, and the McClures have been surprised by ways Utahns have used it: mixing with Bloody Mary’s, clam chowder and even vanilla ice cream. “My favorite is with popcorn,” Giselle says. To find more ways it’s being used, the McClures hold Facebook contests, where chili eaters submit recipes and photos of themselves enjoying their creations with friends for a chance to win gift baskets of local foods. Available at Liberty Heights Fresh and chilibeak.com.
In our Jan/Feb 2015, we promised a Chili Beak recipe.
Pick up the product at Liberty Heights Fresh, and get cooking.
Chili Beak Ceviche
1 lb. cooked chopped shrimp (use cauliflower for vegetarian)
5 juiced limes
1 diced tomato
1/4 cup diced onions
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 peel cucumber diced
1/4 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. Chili Beak (or more to suite on your taste)
Combine everything in a bowl. Can be dated immediately or served chilled. Enjoy with corn chips or crackers.