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Chile Chief

Co-op's bold new sauce and spice rub
Co-op hot sauce

Co-op Hot Sauce, a mole negro-based tongue-burner made by youth arts organization Co-op Image, has had loyal fans across town for the past five years.

Mike Bancroft, the Co-op's founder and hot-sauce doctor, followed up on the original with an extra-hot, neon-orange carrot-habañero sauce and a lightly spicy jalepeño sauce that's made with chiles grown at Co-op's kid-run Westside gardens.

And this market season, we've got two new sources for spice: Mr. Mike's Random Rub and Co-op White Barbecue. The rub blends dried thyme from Co-op's gardens with dried ancho chiles and a host of bold spices. Try it on grill-bound chicken thighs or eggplant, stirred into sauces and sprinkled on popcorn (Bancroft sings its praises as a rub for whole suckling pig, too).

The mayonnaise-based White Barbecue sauce isn't well known outside of Northern Alabama, but the Co-op's new version of the condiment, made tart and hot with lime juice, vinegar and a dash of the homegrown hot sauce, might make it just as famous here.

Buy the new sauce and rub ($5 each) at the Forest Park farmers' market, the Empty Bottle's monthly market, and the Logan Square market on Sundays.

If you're shopping at Logan Square, here's a tip: A sprinkle of the Co-op spice--in dry or liquid form--helps upgrade nearby vendor Cherubs' new taco offerings from decent to delicious.

Logan Square Farmers market 3147 W. Logan Blvd. Chicago IL 60647 773-489-3222 The Empty Bottle Farmers' Market 1035 N. Western Ave. Chicago IL 60622

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