Local Boston specialty spices.
- typhoonfish Jun 5, 2012 11:54 AM
I just picked up the book Wicked Good BBQ and it's a great read.
Is there anyplace in Boston to get hard to find spices like Szechuan peppercorns and Gebhardts chili powder?
Just bought a smoker. Here we go.
Szechuan peppercorns @ Polcari's Coffee Shop on Salem & Parmenter in the North End. Don't know about the Gebhardts.
I do not do not do not like the customer service/reception to customers at Christina's, but since I live nearby and penzey's in arlington is too far away, I go there frequently. They have almost everything though check the stuff in cans and containers on the shelves as opposed to the spices on the big long table carefully...some are outdated (I bought an outdated container of shrimp paste) whereas I've never been disappointed with the spices. And if you decide to make your own chile powder blend (which I'd recommend, check out the threads on the homecooking board) you'll find all kinds of chiles there both whole and ground, far more than I can find in my East Somerville neighborhood hispanic food stores. Or google Gerhards and find out what's in it and make your own blend like theirs.
by the way, i read the book as well and they are certainly "damn yankee" recipes that didn't work for this formerly north carolina girl though I can see why they appeal to others!
Turbinado sugar- trader joe's
spanish paprika- la Vera brand is the best. Formaggio in Camb or So End; Capone's
Chili powder- whole foods;gebhart's - penzey's?
Cumin seeds- whole foods,but indian stores cheaper- centr sq, No. mass ave.
chipotle powder- whole foods? penzey's
szech peppercorns- can be confusing w/ no-english labels on some look-alike Chinese store products (she speaks from experience), so Sun Sun in Ctown (Wilson/owner will help you)
lump charcoal and smoking chips- Brookline Ice and Coal
I LOVE polcari's but their spices are not always the freshest.
Penzey's is excellent, but pricey and out of the way.
Harvest food coop Central Sq. bulk spices. Great stuff great prices very fresh. Buy only what you need.
Chinese supermarkets particularly the two on Washington Street in the South End. Insanely good prices, very fresh stuff, very good prices.
Not sure exactly why, but Christina's never wows me.
You don't need Spanish paprika per se. Particularly if you are smoking anyhoo. Hickory powder I've never even heard of and may be tough to find. Also not required for good cue.
There is not a single damn place anywhere where you can get Gebhardt's in Boston. Believe me, I know.
But everything else you want you can get at Penzey's for short money and not much trouble.
The Szechuan peppercorns I bought from Penzey's had a lot more flavor than the ones from Suuper 88/Hong Kong Market. Penzey's chipotle powder is good, too, and pretty convenient.
Be aware that the Frontier Chili Powder (also available in bulk at Whole Foods and Debra's Natural Gourmet in West Concord) has a pronounced cinnamon and sweet spice flavor that I find overwhelming.