In September of last year I was shooting some Pieman's Craft videos at Paulie Gee's (The Egyptian Technique and Making the Rooftop Red). On one of the "outtake" pizzas, a Delboy (normally topped with mozzarella, Parmesan, and hot soppressata) owner-pizzaiolo Paul Giannone drizzled a little bit of what looked like honey on the pizza. "That's now a 'Hell Boy,'" he said.
Turns out the honey was Mike's Hot Honey, a chile-infused honey that Paulie Gee's bartender Mike Kurtz has been making here in Brooklyn for about seven years.
I've been obsessed with the stuff ever since and for the past several weeks now I've been trying to make my own chile-infused honey at home. But nothing beats the real deal. Fortunately, Mike's Hot Honey is available for sale online ($6 for 12 ounces) or from the bar at Paulie Gee's in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, if you're in the neighborhood (60 Greenpoint Avenue, near the waterfront).
Eaten straight, even a dab of it is damn hot, but it settles down pretty quickly into a lingering burn. It's hot, yes, but you can still taste the sweetness of the honey along with a little prickle of vinegar.
Drizzled on a pizza (it's especially good with salty meats like soppressata or pepperoni), the heat isn't as pronounced and the sweetness of the honey shines through even more.
Kurtz says he discovered the spicy honey while on a hike in Brazil. In a small mountain town there, he found a pizzeria that had the concoction on every table. When he got home to Brooklyn, he set about duplicating it. Years down the road, he gets a job at Paulie Gee's and is like, "Hey, I've got something you should try on your pizza."
If you like a little bit of spicy-sweetness on your own pizza, you should try it, too.