Recently I was geocaching all over the Minnesota Iron Range with friends while staying in beautiful Nashwauk. A friend of mine who lives in the area who knows my affinity for hot sauces had me try one which has become well known in that area. Based out of Grand Rapids is a small company selling a hot sauce known as Steve’s Onion & Garlic Pepper Sauce which promises not only heat but “exceptional taste” and based on the number of restaurants and stores selling it, some people believe the sauce is a winner.
Advertised in many grocery stores, on restaurant menus, and sold just about everywhere around the Grand Rapids area, Steve’s sauce is hard to miss when traveling through the Iron Range. While I tried it at my friend’s cabin, I was later able to purchase both their “hot” and “medium” varieties at a restaurant in downtown Nashwauk for $4/bottle. A tall price for a 5oz bottle but one that I feel is quite fair knowing the quality of this sauce.
The owner, Steve, fancies himself a chili head with a desire to have a sauce which brought more flavor than just your typical vinegar-based creations. Beginning in 1999 he worked through numerous variations until he found a sauce he really liked and began bottling it for family and friends. Later his wife suggested they begin selling it and Steve’s Onion and Pepper Sauce was born. Made from natural ingredients and no extracts, Steve built a sauce which has a motto of, “it just tastes great.”
Now, knowing that I have tried hundreds of hot sauces from all over the world I was a bit apprehensive about a pepper sauce created in Minnesota and on the Minnesota Iron Range at that. With a population generally uninterested in heat, I took my first taste with a smirk. However that smirk turned into a huge smile as that first taste had me immediately wanting more.
The sauce itself is very similar to the Bella Pepper Sauce as you get a nice mouthful of flavor first. The unmistakable taste of garlic hits you in a wave first, then a nice soft onion becomes apparent, and then finally the heat sneaks up and engulfs your tongue from front to back leaving you with a nice and pleasant tingle while the flavor continues to wash over you. While I have only tried the “Hot” and the “Medium”, I found (and I realize you’re not going to believe this) that I prefer the “Medium” over the “Hot”. Now this isn’t because the “Hot” is uncomfortable, it’s not, it’s simply because I actually like the way the sauce tastes that I feel that the “Hot” takes away some of the pleasurable flavor that the lower level provides. However, Steve’s has created a variety of sauces which range from “Mild” to “XXX Hot” and while the types of peppers are never revealed in the ingredient list and it’s hard to discern due to the excellent onion and garlic flavor, this is a sauce which I find serves just as many purposes as my beloved Bella.
I had my friend Josh, a fellow chili head, try some of the “Hot” on Saturday night. He could not stop tasting it and even remarked that he thought it was better than the Bella sauce which I purchased for him at the same time as mine. He said he’ll be placing an order soon to get his own bottles of the stuff and that’s a big statement coming from him.
Overall I very highly recommend Steve’s Garlic and Onion Pepper Sauce for those of you looking for a hot sauce (or even a mild sauce) which carries some intense flavors. They have a range for everyone and while I haven’t tried all of the sauces, I am willing to bet that they all hold up just as well to the taste test as the two I have tried.
After trying the sauces I contacted Steve and asked if he’d be willing to send over some of his sauces for me to give away on the site. He got back to me in short order and a box arrived just after Memorial Day with a ton of bottles covering the entire spectrum of Mild all the way to XXX Hot.
So while many of you already know the drill (as we’ve done this many times before) here it is again anyway:
- 1. Post a comment below to enter. Nothing fancy required. However if you say you won’t give any to MSPD if you win you get two entries.
2. Like the Facebook post about this contest.
3. RT @SouthMetroNews’ tweet including the URL pointing to this post on Twitter.
Each of those three things are worth one entry each (well, unless you say you won’t give it to MSPD then it’s two for the first). You can only have up to four entries total regardless of how many reminders may be posted to any of the social networking sites or how many comments you write below making fun of MSPD’s string of bad luck.
The contest will run through Friday 6/10/2011 at 11:59:59 PM and TWO winners (four bottles each) will be chosen at random by my patented SQL methodology and the winners will be notified by e-mail as well as a post on here, Twitter and Facebook.
Please note: due to the weight and fragile nature of the glass bottles, please be aware that I will not mail these to you so if you win you have to be willing to meet me to pick them up.
So go ahead and get your entries in. Even if you don’t win I highly suggest that you get over to Steve’s Onion and Garlic Pepper Sauce website and order yourself some of this sauce.