Lenny Awards – Best Spicy Products of 2015

2013 Best of the Year Lenny AwardWelcome to the 6th Annual Lenny Awards for the best new spicy products. Some of these awards are for the best products our review teams encountered and gave the highest ratings for. Most of them are from my encounters from fiery food events, purchased online or perhaps found along the way in many journeys to and fro. The Lenny Award is named after my Father who died of Cancer on this very day back in 2010. Rather than mourn his death, I am hear to celebrate his life and how he would help total strangers in need just because he could. I am trying to do the same with the Lenny Award by given something from my heart to an industry and community that I love. The Lenny is given to my favorite products and there is no other factor involved in my choice. I don’t get a chance to try everything in due time, so some of these products might be older than 2015 when I first got a chance to try them. I have listed the names of the companies below the video that either received a Lenny Award or got an honorable mention. If you do not want to view that spoiler list, go watch the video and enjoy the moment there.

The Lenny Awards have not been purchased yet, as I will need some of the addresses of the companies I will not see at the NYC Hot Sauce Expo come April. Those companies that attend that great event will have them presented by me in person. Those that do not, will get them mailed directly to whatever address you provide me with. The video is long as I ramble a lot and I try to give each product I mention their due. The addresses below are there for a reason. I hope you will give some thought into purchasing a few of these winners. I think you will be pleasantly surprised. Besides, it is the holiday season and some of these fine artisan products might still be on sale.

Thank you for your time and congratulations to all the fiery product makers for making such flavorful and delicious food enhancements.

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2015 Chile Pepper Awards

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Barbecue Sauce / Alcohol-Infused
1 Ole Ray’s Sauces Ole Ray’s Kentucky Red Bourbon Barbeque Sauce
2 Deep River Specialty Foods Rodeo Whiskey Grill Sauce
Barbecue Sauce / Cayenne
1 Wood Bar B Q Sauce Woody’s Hickory Hot Bar B Q Sauce
2 Stagecoach Salsa Co. Miss Cynthia’s No So Spicy Stagestop BBQ Sauce
Barbecue Sauce / Chipotle
1 Firefly’s BBQ Firefly’s Beelzebar Sauce
2 CaJohns CaJohns Bourbon St Smoky
Barbecue Sauce / Fruit Based
11 1 Ole Ray’s Sauces Ole Ray’s Peach-A-Licious
12 2 Ole Ray’s Sauces Ole Ray’s Apple/Cinnamon
Barbecue Sauce / Habanero
1 CaJohns CaJohns Bourbon St Fiery
2 Black Swamp Gourmet Sweet & Fiery BBQ Sauce
Barbecue Sauce / Molasses Based
1 Firefly’s BBQ Firefly’s Dixi Kiss Sauce
2 CRC CRC BBQ Riley’s Triple R Sauce

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1st Annual CA Hot Sauce Expo Review

My experience as a vendor at the 1st Annual California Hot Sauce Expo, 2015
By Scott Zalkind, Owner/Operator/Hot Sauce Guy/Towel Folder/Recipe Creator/Visionary/Custodial & Recycling Engineer, and resident hot sauce geek at Lucky Dog Hot Sauce

After vending at the 2014 NY Hot Sauce Expo, when Steve Seabury announced that there would be a California Hot Sauce Expo I could not send in my application fast enough. I didn’t know where the event would be, which other vendors would be there, or how many tickets would sell – and frankly I didn’t care. New York was an amazing time. Connecting with so many of the great sauce makers out there, and sampling my own products to an entirely new demographic makes for a fantastic weekend. The prospect of doing so in a stunning California location in July was even more appealing. I was in from the word “go!” – Steve Seabury throws a hell of a party. Also, it should be noted here, I have a personal ban on “1st year” anything – I’ve been burned several times in the past from such events, but this was the exception to the rule.

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2015 World Hot Sauce Awards Results

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Condiments Division:
Chile Oil
3. Chili Beak – Spicy Roasted Chili Oil
2. Hot Licks – Hot Licks Blood Orange Habanero X Virgin Olive Oil
World Champion: Sutter Buttes Natural and Artisan Foods – Citrus Habanero Infused Olive Oil

Ketchup
3.CaJohn’s Fiery Foods – Scotch Bonnet Ketchup
2. Culley’s Chipotle Ketchup
World Champion:Uncle Roy’s Comestible Concoctions – Chillichup

Mustard
3. Uncle Roy’s Comestible Concoctions – Chocolate Chilli Mustard
2. Poca’s Hottest – Shak Nasti Cajun Honey Mustard
World Champion: River Bend Specialties, LLC. – Grandpa Spencer’s Hot & Spicy Mustard

Relish
3. Auria’s Malaysian Kitchen – Lime Leaf Sambal
2. Posh Pickles and Preserves – Sa’ Va’ Tu’o’ng ‘o’t
World Champion: B-Dubb’s Desert Inferno Hot Sauce LLC – Chow-Chow Extreme

Salad Dressing
3. Texas Brew Products/Salsa – I’m Your Huckleberry Dressing
2. Stagecoach Salsa Company – Miss Kim’s Spicy Bacon Ranch
World Champion: FrogBone Cajun Sauces – Remoulade

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2015 Louisiana Hot Sauce Expo Preview

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Sure the name of this event is called the Louisiana Hot Sauce Expo, but it is actually 3 shows in 1. Imagine buying 1 show and getting 2 shows for free. Sounds like a deal and a 1/2 at the general admission price of $7 for 1 day or $10 for 2 days. Tickets can be purchased in advance at those discounted prices HERE. So what 3 events are you getting for your ticket?

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Hop Sauce Fest 2015 Recap

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The weather could not have been any better for an outside beach event. The best attribute about this festival is that this is a tourist area that brings in a very young clientele. They do not seem put off by trying new things and with the added liquid courage, they seem intent in trying it all. With only 18 hot sauce vendors, and with no desire to drink the hops I was only going to truly enjoy myself if I got involved in some way. Seeing that Johnny McLaughlin from Heartbreaking Dawns, Steve Seabury from High River Sauces and Austin D’Almeida from Jersey Barnfire were working their booths solo I decided to help them briefly during a busy time of the Festival. I took turns at each booth and I totally had a blast shilling spicy products. Mind you the only time I witnessed it slow was in the last 45 minutes of the event. My favorite part of the event was definitely working those booths, but meeting and talking to my vendor friends is always a highlight whenever I attend these events.

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Hop Sauce Fest 2015 – Why Should You Be There?

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Before I actually explain why you should be at this event tomorrow on the Jersey Shore, let me first explain what the Hop Sauce Festival is. Imagine an event that combines the love of spicy things with the love of beer. Add in an ongoing music concert, the love of good food and place it on the Jersey Shore at Long Beach Island, and then you might get the idea of what is going down. By the reactions of some of the hot sauce vendors that attended last year, this was quite the place to be at the inaugural event. I did not attend, instead choosing to do the upstart Kempton Pepper Jam, which was more like a Farmer’s Market that an event like this Hop Sauce Festival seems to be. I was not disappointed in my trip because I got to try some amazing new products, but I was jealous at the fanfare this event received. So I am hopping in my jalopy early in the morn and going 4 hours north to see what the hubbub is all about.

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2015 NYC Hot Sauce Expo: History in the Making

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For those of you that made it down to the 3rd Annual NYC Hot Sauce Expo, you found yourself in the middle of something special. One of the most important moments this industry/community has ever had was the Inaugural Hot Sauce Hall of Fame. We got to see 5 of the biggest names inducted live in what will be a start of something bigger than all of us. I was lucky enough to induct the great Dave Hirschkop of Dave’s Insanity Sauce fame. It all started with Tabasco creator Edmund McIlhenny as the first inductee as it should be. The other 3 greats were the ever-entertaining Chip Hearn of Peppers, the legendary Pope of Peppers Dave DeWitt, and the most award winning hot sauce maker of all time, CaJohn Hard. Chip, the Pope and CaJohn all received their official HoF red jackets and rings in person on stage. I felt like I was apart of something truly great and even got myself in a couple of pictures with the legends. I can not thank host, promoter and visionary Steve Seabury enough for giving me the honor to be a part of this historical moment. Hear what Dave DeWitt said about his experience on his blog: CLICK ME

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2015 NYC Hot Sauce Expo Media Hall of Fame

Are you Ready

The NYC Hot Sauce Expo & High River Sauces will present the official Hot Sauce Hall of Fame Foundation. The Hot Sauce Hall of Fame will induct 5 people in 2015 who have been very instrumental in the fiery foods industry.

To be eligible for the nominating or voting process, a person must operate within the fiery foods industry for a minimum of 3 years. These people will be known as the Selection Committee which will consist of hot sauce companies, retailers, distributors, exporters, chile pepper growers, media and restaurateurs who specialize in spicy foods and hot sauce. The Selection Committee will be polled by email from the Hall of Fame’s Senators Board in which the board will eventually narrow the Selection Committee’s ballot to a list to 10.

After the nomination process The Selection Committee will then receive the final ballot from the Senators Board. To be elected, a finalist must receive the top 5 votes from the Selection Committee. If a person has been nominated 3 separate times by the committee and does not get inducted their name will be removed from future elections for a waiting period of 5 years.

The first group on the inaugural ballot are some of the biggest and brightest names in the industry.

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