Beck’s Cajun Cafe Celebrates 10 years!

Beck’s is celebrating its Ten Year Anniversary on October 29th! Chef Beck’s classic, authentic Cajun cooking has earned both praise and a large following at two iconic Philadelphia locations: Reading Terminal Market and 30th Street Station. Both counters are continuously packed with customers chomping down on legendary Trainwreck Po’ boys, savoring Jambalaya or dipping their spoons into his famously narcotic Bread Pudding affectionately known as “better than yo’ Mama’s!” When asked if his pantry of Beck’s brand spices is what creates the mouthwatering appeal of his Cajun dishes, Chef Beck quipped, “Spices enhance flavor, hot sauce gives it a little zing but, the backbone of any dish is that it is prepared well. And, I am not going to tell you all of my cooking secrets!”

But, what is it about Beck’s Three Devils Hot Sauce? Tabasco Sauce is about heat and spice. Three Devil’s Hot Sauce is about flavor first, heat second. Heralding from Louisiana, Tabasco was created from a single pepper plant gifted to Edmund McIlhenny. By 1869, this hot sauce, whose name has Indian/Mexican origins that hint at a place of humid soil and oyster shells, was a Southern favorite. Created right here in Philadelphia, Chef Beck’s fruity, earthy and spicy creation–affectionately named by his lovely wife Rita’s nod to her Three Devils, Chef Beck and sons Connor and Gavin—is a tribute to ‘Nawlins flavors. Since 2010, it has been perfected and become a local favorite.

• What was your first experience with Hot Sauce?
My Mom used to make a Chinese curry dish with chicken, later I had Buffalo Hot Wings — both excellent.

• Beck’s Cajun Cafe is about to turn 10, did you open with Three Devils Hot Sauce, Devil’s Dust, Rub-a-Dub and Angel’s Kiss or did your pantry evolve?

We opened with Devils Dust. That is the seasoning that we use for Jambalaya, Cajun Fries, Red Beans and Gumbo.

• Then we created Rub-a-Dub, the Fiery Rub and Seasoning Mix. There is nothing like a good steak. Rub-a-dub is like a traditional Tuscan dry steak rub.

Angel’s Kiss, a Chicken, Seafood and Vegetable seasoning, took the longest, going through several evolutions. One of the combinations was Tarragon, Cinnamon and Curry. It was very flavor forward and tasted like an Indian Masala.

Three Devils Hot Sauce came last, it also went through a lengthy process. When we first opened I was cooking all day. I would actually make the sauce and sometimes bring it out and have a customer taste it and give me his opinion — so it evolved through tasting and customer feedback. All hot sauces are an accompaniment to enhance a finished product. It adds heat to a dish, it should not alter the flavor of the dish dramatically.

• Is there a rule of thumb to follow when adding spices to a dish?
Seasoning depends on the dish. Cooks season to taste, it is subjective, therapeutic and a creative process. When you are cooking at home you balance those expectations.

• What recipes would you recommend to try with your Pantry Seasonings?
Shrimp Creole! And, Three Devils Hot Sauce is great in a Bloody Mary mix or on Shucked Oysters — it’s fruity, tarty, spicy!

Shrimp Creole Recipe
3 tbsp. olive oil (divided into two equal portions)
16 jumbo shrimp (16-20 size)
1.25 tbsp. Beck’s Angel Dust
1.25 tbsp. Beck’s Devil Dust
1 shrimp bouillon (Swiss Knorr brand is readily available)
¾ cup white wine (Chardonnay or Pinot Grigio)
2 cups diced tomato
4 oz. celery, small dice
4 oz. green bell pepper, small dice
4 oz. onion, small dice
4 ea. garlic cloves, sliced
2 tbsp. butter, unsalted
½ cup water
4 scallions, sliced on a bias (to use as garnish)
4 cups white or brown rice (cooked)

Wash and dry thoroughly peeled and deveined shrimp
Toss with olive oil, Beck’s Angel Dust and Beck’s Devil Dust
Add shrimp to preheated sauté pan and sauté until halfway cooked (shrimp will appear pink-white with plenty of “give” to the flesh)
Remove the shrimp and set aside
Add celery, pepper, and onion to the same pan used to cook shrimp and sauté till lightly caramelized (about 2-3 minutes)
Add the garlic, cook until lightly browned (about 30 seconds.)
Deglaze the pan with the white wine, allow to flame up, add bouillon cube.
Add the diced tomatoes and water, simmer for 2 minutes
Add the shrimp back to the pan cook for I minute
Cut butter into 4 equal pieces and add to the sauté pan, turn off the flame. Stir in the butter until fully incorporated into the dish.
Divide Creole shrimp into 4 equal portions in wide shallow bowls, placing the shrimp at the outer edges to allow room for a nice round hot steaming scoop (ice cream scoop) of rice in the center of the bowl. Garnish with fresh scallion.

Classic Bloody Mary:
Yields: 1 serving
Prep Time: 10 mins

1/4 c. tomato juice
1/4” piece horseradish, chopped
1 tsp. Worcestershire
4 dashes Three Devil’s Hot Sauce
1/2 lime, fresh squeezed
1/2 lemon, fresh squeezed
1 tbsp. vodka
dash of black pepper
dash of sea salt
dash of celery seeds

2 oz. vodka
8 oz. Bloody Mary mix

Blend horseradish, Worcestershire, celery seeds, and tomato juice until smooth.
Add lemon, lime, hot sauce, salt, and pepper.
Adjust the mix to taste depending on how spicy, salty, or citrusy you like it.
Add a tablespoon of vodka to stabilize the mix and keep the juices fresh.
Combine 6-8 ounces of the mix with 2 ounces of vodka into a glass. Pour back and forth into another glass filled with ice (3 or 4 times to mix.)
Garnish with a celery stalk and lime wedge, or whatever else you feel like adding.
Laissez les bon temps rouler!

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