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Pepper Corns

Peppermill Of all spices, pepper corns are without a doubt the most well known throughout the Western world, and probably also the oldest in use. Already for centuries the dried black and white peppercorns are brought from the Orient to the Middle East, Europe and other parts of the world.

You will find pepper corns in just about every kitchen worldwide, right next to the salt. In many cultures, salt and pepper are tied close together, unseparable like Laurel and Hardy, fish and chips, pig and pork, barbecue and smoke...

Black Pepper Corns

Without a doubt, the potent mix of salt and pepper is the mother of all dry rubs. The granny of your granny already used it to spice up that good old stew!

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Colours of Pepper Corns

Pepper corns are the berries of a vine (Piper Nigrum, Piperaceae family) from the South of India. Of these little fruits four kinds of pepper corns are produced:

                                Green -

                                Red -

                                Black -

                                White -


Green Pepper Corns Green pepper corns are the unripe, still green berries which after harvesting are freeze-dried or chemically treated so they keep their grey-green colour;


Red peppercorns (also pink) are produced by brining the ripe berries so they keep their red or pink colour;


Black Pepper Corns Black pepper corns are the unripe green berries which are first cooked shortly and then dried. During drying, the unripe skin will shrivel and wrinkle, and develop a dark "black" colour;


White pepper corns are produced bij soaking the ripe pepper berries in water until the skin will loosen and fall off, leaving the white seed which is then dried.

Green Peppercorns

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Taste of Pepper Corns

The seeds of peppercorns are really sharp and tasty, but most of the aroma is in the skin.

The skin of black pepper corns has hints of citrus fruit, fresh wood and blossom. White pepper corns have lost their skin and have a more neutral pepper taste.

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Storage of Pepper Corns

Pepper corns will loose their taste and aroma through evaporation and by exposure to light, so it is recommended to store pepper in the dark, and air tight.

Ground pepper will loose taste and aroma fast, that's why we prefer freshly ground pepper!

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Other Pepper Corn Families

Besides the peppercorns as described on this page, a number of other pepper-like corns exist which look a lot like pepper corns but are not related to this Piper Nigrum.

For example, the Chinese Szechuan peppercorns and the white, pink or red corns of the Peruvian and Brazilian pepper trees (Schinus family).

Photo of Brazilian or Peruvian pepper corns

Brazilian and Peruvian peppercorns do not really taste like pepper, but because of their colour and resemblance they are blended with the "real" black, white and green peppercorns and sold as a so-called "4 seasons mix".

Even if Brazilian and Peruvian peppercorns are used in commercial products, do be careful. They contain a chemical compound which - if you are sensitive for it - can cause irritation of mucous membranes that goes way beyond the sharpest sensation of pepper.

Chile / Chili / Chilie / Chilli

Besides the various forms of pepper corns there is also the large and fantastic family of the "Chiles".

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Use of Pepper Corns

Needless to say, peppercorns can be used in just about every cuisine to spice up all kinds of food.

Pepper is a very important ingredient in many Indian curries and in Chinese Five-Spice Powder.

And of course we also use peppercorns in our Barbecue Dry Rubs:

Amarillo Dry Rub

Amarillo Dry Rub The name of this yellow dry rub recipe refers to Amarillo, the town in the Texas Panhandle, along the famous Route 66. Cowboy country, and a very good place for barbecue beef!

Brazos Beef Rub

Brazos Dry Rub The Brazos Beef Rub recipe is quite easy to make: salt and pepper, and a hint of Tex-Mex: garlic, paprika, rosemary and cummin.
While it was designed for beef, it is also great on lamb or mutton!

Juanita's Dry Rub USA #1

Photo of Juanita's Dry Rub USA #1 Surprise friend and foe with a true American taste. This rub is suitable for all kinds of meat such as pork or lamb, but is especially tasty on chicken and Guinea fowl.

Juancho's Mustard Rub Number 1

Photo of Juancho's Mustard Dry Rub No. 1 for Grilled Chicken, Lamb or Barbecue Pork Spare Ribs by Blue Smoke BBQ. "Juancho's Mustard Rub #1" is one of our favourites for grilled chicken, Guinea fowl, barbecue lamb or hot smoked pork!

And as you might have thought, this mustard rub combines very well with Juancho's Honey Mustard Glazing.

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At Hot Smoke BBQ we love Chile Peppers!

Keep Smokin' !