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Spice Up Your Meals With Chef Aaron McCargo

Since he won season 4 of the Next Food Network Star, Chef Aaron McCargo Jr. has been known for his preference for bold spices and robust flavors. On his cooking show, Big Daddy’s House,  Aaron shares his passion for big, bold flavors and family-style cooking.

Now, he has partnered with the American Spice Company on his first line of spices, McCargo’s, that will add Big Daddy-style flavor to all of your favorite meals without additional calories or fat. I’ve sampled four varieties: Signature Blend, Signature Rub, Smoked Salt and Seasoning Salt and they were just as I expected – fresh, flavorful and potent – a little will go a long way and make these a staple in your kitchen cabinet.

Signature Blend: With an aroma reminiscent of chili powder, this is one of the most versatile varieties. Perfect to add a spicy “pop” to popcorn, a kick to your favorite soup, stew or chili or to add to your favorite marinade by heaping spoonful. You won’t regret it.

Signature Rub: Whether it’s a roast for the crock pot or ribs for the barbecue, Chef McCargo serves up sugar and spice in this zesty blend. I usually opt for marinades over rubs but this one smelled good enough to change my mind.

Smoked Salt: One of the best smells in the world is waking up to the scent of bacon. If you love the smoky flavor that most bacon delivers but want to skip the calories and saturated fat that comes along with it, use the smoked salt flavor to season meat, popcorn – even your scrambled eggs. This would  be a great addition to your favorite homemade dip. Of all four varieties, this seemed like the most unique and was easily my favorite.

Seasoning Salt: My first question when I opened this flavor was “what makes this variety different than the other brands of seasoning salt out there?” I compared it to the other leading brand in my pantry and it definitely has the signature bold flavor that McCargo’s line represents. As much as I want to say it’s vastly different than the brand you’re already using, I could only notice subtle differences, both in taste and aroma. If you’re stuck in a cooking rut, this is a great way to add some simple variety and try something new.

While McCargo’s provided Maris Callahan with sample product, this review is her own opinion and was not influenced or sponsored in any way.

November 4th, 2010

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