Pepper jelly is the perfect mixture of sweet and spicy that can make anyone want to come back for a second dip. If you love the flavor but aren’t sure what to do with it, you’re not alone! This is a highly flexible food; you can make almost anything with it.
Here are the top ways to put pepper jelly to use.
Whether you’re baking chicken or grilling pork chops, a layer of pepper jelly is quick to brighten the flavors and inspire more depth from your dishes. Spread an even thin layer of pepper jelly over chicken breasts, then bake them at 425 for forty minutes, and your chicken can come out with a crispy caramelized coating with sweet and spicy flavor.
Bread and Crackers
This combo is so classic that it’s almost a no-brainer. Bread and crackers of any sort are the perfect vehicles for pepper jelly. If you want more of a rich flavor, many people butter their bread before spreading the jelly down on top of it.
For crackers, any essential kind of cracker is good, but these are also good on cracker-like cookies like shortbread. Don’t be shy about adding too much; this jelly is tasty enough that you won’t see ‘too much as a possibility!
Burgers and Jerky
There’s nothing as satisfying as a good burger or a giant jerky stick. The best are the ones that mix sweet, savory, and some heat into a perfect blend of deliciousness. When you finish cooking your burgers, smear pepper jelly directly onto it so that the flavors meld together, then top with all of your favorite toppings.
For jerky, add a rub of pepper jelly and black pepper to the surface of the meat before you dehydrate it. This will form a caramelized surface over the heart.
Sauces and Gravy
The problem many people have with their sauces and gravy is that they lack a kind of depth. Instead of reaching for the Worcestershire sauce and hoping it does the trick: let pepper jelly help! A couple of tablespoons of a good jelly will add some heat and sweetness while also lending a slight shine or reflectiveness to the surface of the sauce or gravy. Although it does add a little heat, it doesn’t scream ‘jelly’ at first when you taste it.
Pepper jelly is almost made just to be spread onto crispy wings. The heat makes you salivate, while the sweetness balances it out into an almost barbecue flavor on chicken. You can, of course, doctor it to the right thickness and heat that you want: but wings and pepper jelly are a match made in heaven.
The best way to prep this is to bake or fry your wings with a very thin layer of flour or cornstarch on them. Once they’re crispy and baked through, you can either dip the wing directly into the jelly or mix the jelly with a bit of water or hot sauce to thin it out so that you can toss your wings in it.