I mean, do you really like hot sauce. Are the kind of Chilehead that buys it or makes your own? Perhaps both. Me? Well, I enjoy tasting the creations of others. I have been lucky over the years to have attending many shows and have brought home so many wonderful tasty spicy things. Most people can’t do that. Most Chileheads I am afraid have only their local supermarket and/or grocer to satisfy their thirst for fiery fun. They can not travel to spicy food shows and do not have one close enough to their home to ride to and back. So unless they are satisfied with Frank’s, Tabasco, Louisiana hot sauces, Cholula, etc, they live the life not knowing how many craftsmen and women have created flavors with heat that would blow their chile pepper loving mind. It is really a shame.
So again I ask, but more specifically, do you like hot sauce enough to spend a little extra for something original and delicious? If it is no, then no reason to read on. I will just bore you more than I usually do with my endless rants about supporting your Mom & Pop Shoppe hot sauce makers. Yet, if you answered yes to my question. You must read on because the chilehead community is about to take a huge blow to these Mom & Pop Shoppe businesses and you might just be the last hope on this planet to let the flame keep on burning. Now, let me get to more specifics before I dive right into what I am alluding to. If I could get you the convenience of a hot sauce store in your neighborhood, the benefit of going to a fiery festival without the cost of admission and have it all delivered to your porch without any extra cost to you, would you be interested? Come on Buddah, stop with your questions and get to your point. Wait folks there is more…
Every year on the 19th of December, I announce the best spicy products of the year and award the makers with a Lenny Award named after my Dad who died 4 years ago on that day. My Dad was the type of person that would pull over to the side of the road with the whole family in the car just to help someone stranded. He did things for others because he could and did not ask for anything in return. I do the same in his memory with the Lenny Award. I do not seek anything from the makers in return, and no one knows but me who is going to win anything. So when the 19th comes I will post a video with the 2014 best spicy products of the year. I hope it will encourage others to seek out the products I recommend. I do not look for money in return for this publicity. I do not look for any accolades in return, I just do it because I want to give a spotlight on some special products that I want you to try at some point, and give the makers a personal award for their efforts.
Now imagine you can try a few of those Lenny Award winning products. Not from me, I do not sell anything. I just might know someone who sells a few of the winners that I will announce on the 19th. Again, I am not getting any kickback from anyone. I am not asking for money. I am not looking for fame or fortune through others’ hard work. I will not get a single thing from writing this little piece here. I am in it for my own greed. Greed?! What?! Settle down, let me explain. You see without your help, I will lose my resource for hot sauce replenishment. I can buy directly from great companies, but I would pay out the wazoo for shipping and handling for each of my favorite products. I want to be able to pick out my favorite hot sauces, salsas and other fine spicy treats from different companies. I do not want to feel like I am paying more and getting ripped off. Up to now, I have been able to get a bulk of them from 1 resource, but now I have learned that door might be closing. My resource for most of my favorite spicy products is iBurn.com, and their brick and mortar location in Houston, Texas is suffering like many retail businesses this year. They need more people to come to the store to keep it going.
Here we are again with that question, do you like hot sauce? Do you like it enough to travel all the way to Houston, Texas, visit the iBurn store and buy some? Duh! I know how stupid that sounds. We can not save the store, but by golly, our internet sales just might keep it going, perhaps put some money in their piggy bank for advertising. The brick and mortar might ultimately be a lost cause, who knows? I am not about to let the whole thing fail. Anytime I need to buy Race City Sauce Works Lenny Award winning elixirs or Chef Kaz’s Monkey McGee’s Houston Hot Sauce Festival winning salsas and Lenny Award winning product line, I know where I can shop. If I have a hankering for another Lenny Award winning product like Born to Hula Hot Sauce and Defcon Sauces from New Jersey, Bigfats from Chicago, CaJohn’s from Ohio and the Lenny Award for best product line of 2013, Lucky Dog Hot Sauce, then I need to do what I can to keep iBurn afloat. I know James Wreck might not be the most liked character we have seen come into our community. He might have been too brash for some, and pissed off others. He was just trying to be different and have fun at the same time all while he was getting his burn on with some great products along the way. Now he is one of the most important sellers this community has like it or not. Thank God he has Amy who’s spirit and professionalism for this business is on par with James passion and commitment. If you still do not like James, fine, this goes way beyond James. Think about all the companies he is representing. iBurn does not fill up it’s store with all the products you can get elsewhere, they are getting all the Mom & Pop Shoppe makers on their shelves. Go look at their website and see all the companies they have. It is a lot. Many companies you might have heard from the reviews or the sales or just from a wall on Facebook. Many of these companies James and Amy brought into their store because they believed in them, and they liked the products.
That picture above is my recent purchase I got in the mail today from their big holiday sale. Look at all the companies. If I had more money, there was a laundry list of other sauces I wanted to stock my cupboards with. My shipping was free because I spent over $50. If I bought my High Octane Hot Sauces straight from High Octane, I would’ve had to spend over $50 from them alone. That also was the way of many of the other companies that had sales, and most did not have free shipping at all. My purchase with iBurn got me more than the High Octane, as you can see. I know I was paying James and Amy, but I was also paying all the companies whose products they stock. They are the bridge from the maker to our homes I was talking about. I can not sing louder about the creative geniuses we are so lucky to have in our community. So many amazing flavors and all kinds of heat levels. It is mind boggling at all the great products I have tried over the years, and still I get some more that are unique to themselves and extraordinary food enhancers. I do not want to see my bridge go away. If you have read this far, and want to support this community, then go on iBurn.com and make a purchase of some of the wizards of spicy delight this community has to offer. If you want to wait until my Best Products of 2014 to be announced, then come back on the 19th and see which of the best I name is on iBurn, then make your purchase. I will be glad to tell you my favorites from past years, just ask. Here is 2013’s Lenny Awards winners.