Events — 28 April 2015
Hot Sauce Expo Breathes Fire Into Brooklyn

Blog: The 2015 Brooklyn Hot Sauce Expo

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Whether you like them scorching or mild, a good hot sauce always manages to make its impact on its target: your mouth. To showcase how far hot sauce has come over the years, the 3rd Annual Brooklyn Hot Sauce Expo brought thousands of guests to Franklin Street’s Brooklyn Expo this weekend for sessions on Saturday and Sunday. The indoor-outdoor space proved pivotal in allowing attendees to revel in the sunshine or to wet their whistles on some of the most fiery concoctions ever bottled and served. With craft beers and cocktails to cool off some of the spice and festivities to keep eventgoers entertained all weekend long, there was no shortage of activity during either session- even for the tamest of food tasters.

Priced at just $15, the Hot Sauce Expo was a come-as-you-are affair with eating contests being hosted on both days around the likes of Grimaldi’s Pizza, spicy tacos, Buffalo Wild Wings and full-sized burritos. But for the rest of us that don’t share the same skill set as Joey Chestnut, walking around and tasting the variety of different offerings from table to table would prove more than sufficient. Inventively branded and creatively bottled, hot sauce makers tend to have fun with their niche products often using scary imagery to build their respective reputations and to make their artistry even more appealing. Gemini Crow Sauce Company‘s pineapple mango infused “Jack the Reaper” is one such example. Don’t let the sweet fruit ingredients fool you, it’s loaded with Carolina Reaper peppers which are officially, the hottest peppers in the entire world.  As the rest of our party wimpered away from the table, we found a more palatable alternative to try.

Local favorites like A&B American Style’s “NY Rooftop Pepper Sauce” were among our earliest preferred tastes, utilizing chilies grown nearby at the Brooklyn Grange Farm. Naturally made, the sauce is nicely spicy without overwhelming us to tears, which would be a fantastic addition to a finely made Bloody Mary or to give that little extra kick to a white meat protein dish. We also couldn’t help but be impressed by Whitehouse Station Sauce Company. The New Jersey based purveyors were doling out tastings of their “Habanero Sauce,” a tangy vinegar style that sees its heat increase with each passing second. With a creamy consistency, the pepper itself here was intense and flavorful but again, without overpowering the balance of elements included in each bottle.

Though it’s dubbed a ‘Hot Sauce Expo,’ guests could be seen picking up other wares like PuckerButt Pepper Company’s jellies, The Murph’s Bloody Mary mixes and even Heartbreaking Dawns array of seasonings and rubs to add additional flavor to any style of meat. Outside, attendees would be grabbing pours of Lagunitas beer and puffing away on Nat Sherman cigars being sold at the space while perusing the different stands and interactive games being offered on site. Candidly, we’re a collection of relative wusses when it comes to spice- but we did manage to enjoy some tastings from World Famous Hot Sauce’s “Love Potion” to Culley’s “Green Chile” to Hellfire’s “Fear This!” to “Bigfat’s “Double Dark” black cherry variety, before having to extinguish the flames in our face. Whether indoors or outdoors this weekend, we encountered the requisite charred lips, runny noses and unsuspecting faces as folks braved up for some of the hottest sauces available anywhere. And at the Brooklyn Hot Sauce Expo, that’s what the fun is all about.

- Dave Gendelson

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