Written by Sauce Science Owner Jon
Behind the Sauce
I got started in hot sauce by necessity. I've always loved spicy foods and becoming a homeowner I decided to grow hot peppers since they weren't readily available at the store. After an impulse purchase of some red savina and bhut jolokia seedlings at a nursery, come September I suddenly had several pounds of super hot peppers to work with. A little tinkering here, a little experimenting there and I had a couple of prototype sauces.
Over the years I honed these recipes and ramped up the pepper plant grow operation. Soon I was bottling over 500 bottles come harvest and giving them away by the arm load. People loved the sauce and when I ran out, they wanted more. So this past Thanksgiving I cornered my cousin who is a farmer and convinced him to grow peppers for us come springtime so we could scale up the operation from the hundreds of bottles to the thousands and start a legitimate business.
As a research scientist my recipes and methods may be a little out of place in the kitchen, but the results speak for themselves. We play on the science angle in our company name and sauce line up, and have incorporated sophisticated HPLC (high performance liquid chromotography) capsaicin assays into our process to ensure a consistent and measurable range of heat levels. Not only that but we donate a portion of each sale to fund science education because with young kids we want to be sure the younger generation has the opportunities we did growing up.
Our hot sauce operation is a fledgling operation. The sauces were honed in my kitchen and now we make sauce in a rented commercial kitchen. The hundreds of pounds of peppers from Driftless Organics come in and my partner and I cook them into delectable condiments. Once the peppers are gone, we'll be done until next year. We're shooting for a couple of thousand bottles this first year and are raising funds and taking pre-orders for this year's sauces on Kickstarter.
Our line up of sauces is designed to have a common theme of backing flavors and we make 5 sauces of varying levels of heat by mixing different pepper species. We were inspired by the warnings and signs posted in laboratories we have worked in and designed our sauces and branding to look like a color coded warning scale but for spiciness. Our most popular sauce is the middle of our line-up, the #3 DIRE sauce on the heat scale. It is a bit hotter than original Tabasco but with a lot of flavor. I use it on almost everything. DIRE is made with red savinas and they do shine through the backing spices.
Chili Peppers in Minnesota
We're new to the industry, but I can share with aspiring hot pepper growers out there that you can grow hot peppers anywhere. I got started using pots on a patio and moved up to the "earthtainer" design which really kicked up our yields. I put the pepper plants along the south side of the house along the driveway, garage, alley, anywhere that has room for the containers. The peppers do great, even in Minnesota.