I gotta tell you….There are a LOT of hotsauce companies out there these days! With the spicy food industry being the 8th fastest growing industry in the country, it seems like every time you turn around someone is throwing their hat into the saucemaker ring. And that’s not a bad thing, at all. The more the merrier. However, in a recent discussion with a saucemaker who’s been around a while, they commented that lots of budding hot sauce companies don’t survive their first year. Well, ladies and gentlemen, I’m here to tell you that the company I’m profiling here won’t be in that category. Rarely have I seen a more creative, well designed, well executed line of sauces than Jeremy Walsh’s Big Fat’s! His line of sauces, with simple, easy to remember names (108, 208…ending with 808) definitely have what it takes to establish themselves as a trusted, steady name in the whole big fat hot sauce industry!!
Instead of a traditional sauce review, I thought I’d do something a little different and just profile six of Big Fat’s sauces as a group. One reason is to show how Big Fat’s packages their product line and the other is because I learned that the flavor profiles of one sauce often compliment another in the lineup, which lends to mixing them together to achieve new flavors and unique uses.
As you’ll see in the pictures, Big Fat’s markets their sauces mostly by number, with the unique product name directly underneath, accompanied by a numeric marker, which serves to identify the number and the heat level. Very, very clever! You all know I’m big on labels, and lots of small batch sauce makers could learn from Big Fat’s labels. Catchy font styles, uniform look, company name very prominent, great shelf appeal, and clever product descriptions and catch phrases all set this sauce line up for success. Every label sports the catch phrases “Big Fat’s Got Your Number!” and usage instructions, “1.Shake it 2.Use it 3.Love it 4.Repeat”! The “got your number” is a very clever word play on a popular phrase but alluding to the fact that they have a number sauce to meet any tastes. I was impressed before I opened the first bottle.
But I know it’s about the sauce, so what about them? The 108, which has been frequently reviewed on various sites, is the entry level, habanero sauce. It has more flavor than most hab sauces and with more complexity. I instantly pick up the onion and garlic, and a slight, slight hint of sweetness from the tomato and the basil. But I didn’t lose the flavor of the habaneros, which I enjoy. Also, as with all their sauces, the 108 has only 20mg of sodium (salt). When I asked Jeremy about this, he said it was purposeful, allowing the user to determine how much salt they wanted on their food. Very smart! And the 108 doesn’t list vinegar as an ingredient! it has lime juice to provide the necessary acidity to pull out the various flavors. Very nice hab sauce that goes with almost anything, from eggs, to pork, beef, mexican, veggies, etc etc etc!!!! The only constructive comment I could give about this sauce, and a couple others, is that they are very thick and takes a couple thumps on the bottom of the bottle to get the pour started! But that’s a minor, minor element in the big fat picture we’re painting here!!!
The 208 is a bajan sauce, with an obvious inspiration from Barbados, in the West Indies. A not so typical caribbean style, mustard based sauce, it picks up the habanero based heat another notch (remember…108, 208, etc etc!?) and uses yellow mustard with just the right blend of onions, carrots, garlic, and vinegar (way down on the ingredient list) to round out this bright, island inspired sauce that pairs extremely well with pork, veggies, black beans, and also in combo with the 308 garlic ginger sauce for a nice salad dressing. Speaking of the 308, this sauce didn’t last long in my supply,and I desparately need a refill!! I reviewed this sauce for ILoveitSpicy, so catch that review for more info on the 308. As a brief refresher, it is Thai influenced and uses an ingenious mix of habaneros combined with the ginger and garlic, carrots, apple cider vinegar, sea salt and lemongrass. This sauce makes a mean pork marinade, salad dressing (by itself and with the 208). It is an excellent sauce with again, increased heat.
The 408, or jerk style sauce, was the surprise for me. I’m picky about my jerk sauces, so I was a little skeptical, but became a believer. the use of green onion, habaneros, and brown sugar combined with pomegranate molasses make this sauce an outstanding compliment for chicken, pork, and shrimp (that’s what I used it on). The pomegranate molasses is a very clever flavor move, since you get the slight bittersweet of a molasses combined with a slight tangy zing from the pomegranate. And here’s a surprise – On their website, Big Fat’s says that this sauce makes a great iced coffee. I almost laughed out loud at the thought and as I was prepping the review I did on this sauce for ILoveitSpicy , I tried the iced coffee trick! And can I tell you it was outstanding!!! It was that moment that really caused me to appreciate Jeremy Walsh’s creative genius behind his sauces.
The 508 is a habanero based chipotle sauce and sets itself apart from the plethora of chipotle hab sauces with a clever spice blend and use of tomatoes, cilantro, and enough habanero peppers to make you wake up and say, “WHOA”!!! It pairs with everything from eggs to fajitas, to steak (add it to some steak sauce!! Just sayin…..), chicken, shrimp, cheese, cardboard, asphalt, etc etc etc. It’s that good!
I haven’t had the 608 Pineapple Habanero Hawaiian inspired sauce yet, but the reviews I’ve read have been excellent. I’m not surprised. I need to try some soon. The chile garlic 708 sauce is due out in the fall, and I can’t wait to try both of these sauces.
Last but not least, we have the 808 naga jolokia sauce. Not just a straight heat, vinegar, yada yada..blah hot blah…ghost pepper…yawn sauce, Big Fat’s honored the naga jolokia pepper’s origins, and used Indian inspired flavor profiles. Very, very nice and very, very hot, this sauce packs a mean heat punch but not a knockout punch, making it suitable for folks not in the “I want to kill myself with the hottest thing I can find” category! This sauce also has a little ancho chile in the mix for a flavor twist, allowing for a nice layering effect with the heat profile. I would use this sauce to compliment an Indian dish, or to jazz up a pot of something on the stove, but do be careful just pouring it on a steak or….(oops! Indian flavor profile! Scratch the beef reference!!) chicken, pork, shrimp, etc etc etc. Not surprisingly, this is the only one of the six sauces I have that still has a lot left in the bottle!
So there you have it! I have to apologize to Jeremy for taking so so long to profile his outstanding lineup of sauces, but it has allowed me to experience them in my daily journey of flavor and heat, so I feel pretty well equipped to comment….and to brag on him! So like I said, folks…. Jeremy Walsh’s Big Fat’s Hot Sauce gives you Big Fat Flavor, Big Fat Heat, Big Fat Creativity, and makes for a Big Fat success in the hotsauce world!!! Thanks for reading and remember, It’s a Fiery World!
As I sit on my flight to Baltimore, I just deleted an hour’s worth of blogging! Don’t you hate when that happens? I wrote a nice preview of my weekend journey to Peppers on the Beach (POTB) and POOF, it just disappeared!! Arrrrrgh!!!! So let’s try this again.
I was talking about how POTB is a hot sauce and spicy food show sponsored by Peppers, one of the largest East Coast spicy food stores, and located in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. In it’s third year, the show is the brainchild of John and Maggie Dilley of Defcon Sauces. Now boasting a major co-sponsor, Mountainaire Chicken, the weekend long event will boast a virtual mountain of chicken wings being cooked, judged for competition, and served up in a variety of styles. Judges will be chosen from the audience, which gives a nice “people’s choice” bent to the competition. Over 33 spicy food companies will be in attendance, serving up cooking demos and samples of their best products, and over a dozen restaurants from around the region showing off their specialties and pleasing the crowd with culinary delights.
Chip Hearn, Pepper’s owner and host for the weekend, opens his store for the throngs of spicy food lovers, and some of the industry’s premier bloggers. Brian and Marilyn Meagher, known for their well respected blogs, Hot Sauce Daily and Weekly, will be hosting bloggers roundtable and podcast from the show. Other big name bloggers are Scott Roberts of ScottRobertsWeb fame, home of the most frequently referenced Scoville sauce and pepper scale on the Internet, and Al “Buddah” Goldenberg, editor in chief of I Love It Spicy and undeniably one of the biggest ambassadors for the spicy food industry. Other bloggers will be there, including video review blogger Firehead Tom Gatley and yours truly. And last but not least, the crew from the Internet’s most raucous spicy food channel, Eat More Heat, will be broadcasting live all weekend. James Wreck and John Scrovak are sure to entertain and inform all those who want to live vicariously at POTB for the weekend!!
The weekend will include Johnny McLaughlin’s famous Chilehead Rockaria Karaoke contest and an attempt to beat three (count em- Three!!!) Guiness World Records in pepper eating as Steve “The Machine” Smallwood brings his iron clad stomach to POTB for the occasion! I swear the man has no pain receptors in his mouth, throat, or anywhere else!
And as I mentioned in the title, the weekend includes a prayer. Maggie Dilley had emergency surgery the day before the show (Thursday, the 17th), and will be recovering in the hospital for the weekend! That means the folks whose inspiration started the whole thing won’t be there. So I lift Maggie up with prayers for a speedy recovery! You guys will be missed.
Well, the captain has issued the “fasten your seat belts, it’s time to land” warning, so I’ll sign off. Stay tuned for more this weekend as I experience a weekend of spicy food, hot sauce, good friends, fun times, and wings wings wings!! And always remember, ladies and gentlemen, It’s a Fiery World!!!!