Monday, 7 July 2008

PC Memories of Portugal: Sauce Review

This summer, Presidents Choice has gone Piri Piri crazy. Never heard of Piri Piri? Well, I could explain it, but wikipedia can much better:

"African birdseye (or African devil or African red devil) is a cultivar of the chili pepper that grows both wild and domesticated. It is a small and extremely spicy member of the capsicum plant genus."

" Some varieties of birdseye measure up to 175,000
Scoville Heat Units."
"Piri-piri, peri-peri or peli-peli is the name used in the ex-Portuguese colonies of Mozambique and Angola to describe the African bird's-eye chili. The variations in spelling derive from the various pronunciations of the word in parts of Africa, although "piri-piri" is the correct spelling in Portuguese"

The Key points are 'extremely spicy', 'up to 175 000 Scoville units' and, well, the history. I was first introduced to the concept of African Birdseye chili by Ricky, who saw it used in Zambia for medical purposes. We discussed the possibility of making a hot sauce from it, but I was unable to acquire it for us to make. Flash forward more than a year later, and PC seems to have found their own version for us to try.

Earlier this summer I sampled PC's Piri-Piri deli chicken and it had a lot of flavour and a bit of bite for a sandwich meat. So, after seeing ads and displays, finally broke down and bought their Memories of Portugal Piri Piri Barbecue sauce and try it out.

The ingredients didn't suggest much heat - the first item was water, followed by olive oil, then vinegars! And there are a LOT of ingredients in it; why is there garlic, dehydrated garlic, and garlic extract? And is 'Natural Colour' and ingredient???

You can kind of get an idea of the texture, colour and appearance of the sauce in the picture above. Its more of a marinade than a regular sauce, so I marinated chicken breast strips for about 24 hours to get the full flavour into the poultry. I did want to try this on wings, but breasts is what I had.

2008 SAUCE SCORE v1.0: PC Memories of Portugal ~ Piri Piri BBQ



‘grilling sauce’, bbq sauce


350ml, approx $3 (give or take)


PC has hundreds of memories


Water, olive oil, vinegars (aged red peppers, white vinegar, salt, xanthan gum), garlic, canola oil, salt, lemons, concentrated lemon juice, spices (contain piri piri peppers), modified corn starch, corn syrup, xanthan gum, dehydrated garlic, spice extracts, tomato paste, brown sugar, soy lecithin, potassium sorbate, lemon oil, garlic extract, onion powder, natural colour, calcium disodium edta.


“Made with Imported Piri Piri peppers and a blend of herbs and spices, this flavourful grilling sauce will deliver a hot and spicy kick to chicken and shrimp”



-Runny but opaque

-almost creamy
-tan/orange colour with flecks of spices


-from the bottle, it almost smells like Kraft

Caesar salad dressing

-is creamy a smell?



-a slightly spicy Caesar dressing


-marinated chicken has almost no flavour,

But a small kick



  • Tingle=1



Beginning Burn

Middle Burn

After Burn



Not that flavourful – wouldn’t use it as a dip, and doesn’t do anything as a marinade






I baked the chicken for about 30-40 mins, on a grilling rack. The chicken breast meat was super tender and turned out well. The sauce gave a slight orange/sand colour to the chicken. Biting into it, I couldn't really taste anything but the chicken. There was a faint, kick, no more of a tingle from the chili, but mostly I just tasted chicken. The sauce was really disappointing.

This review is a few weeks old, but I tried to make it again. This time, I cut the chicken into much smaller strips, marinated for much longer, and grilled them on a George Foreman Grill. Same result - no strong flavour at all. I still have about 1/3 of the bottle left and I really want to use it to BBQ, because I think the smokey flavour might help . . . but really probably not.

On a side note, I made some Kerala-style wedges, similar to the ones HERE, only with less chili powder, thinking that the chicken would have been spicy enough. It wasn't, and these ended up being the winners of the night.

FINAL SCORE: I guess PC didn't enjoy their trip to Portugal, because the memory of it wasn't very good. It didn't work well as a marinade, you can't really use it for a dipping sauce, so I'm not sure what good this sauce would be. It's not something I really recommend at all, but maybe someone out there has a better idea about how to use it. Piri-Piri may be a very hot chili, but PC wasn't able to translate that to us here in Canada. 2/6
President's Choice Memories of Portugal Piri Piri Barbecue Sauce

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The sauce is actually quite good but you need to cook things a bit differently. It is NOT meant to be a marinade. And it really works best on bbq chicken pieces skin on and bone in, but the trick is that you first slow bbq the chicken over medium or medium low heat. You can baste it a few times while cooking but the KEY here is that you must brush it on once with about 5 minutes left in the cooking, and no more turning, and then just as you take it off the bbq (or out of the oven) you brush on a last coat and serve. If you ever go to a churrasqua chicken takeout joint and watch them prepare it, you will see that they put the sauce on right at the end. Generally speaking any of these type of sauces or bbq sauces, you must always apply it just before the cooking is done and sometimes just as you take it off the heat. Then you will taste all kinds of the flavour.