Whew! We FINALLY made it to Jungle Jim’s Weekend of Fire.
And I made the most of my trip — trying 35 new hot sauces (actually more!), talking to many interesting chiliheads and even paying a visit to my favorite store in the world.
Jungle Jim’s Weekend of Fire 2013
When I said above that “we finally made it”, I wasn’t necessarily referring to the trip up to Cincinnati from The Ville. Although that was no picnic. We awoke early on Sunday morning to a torrential downpour that had been going on since early Saturday. (Either Sat. or Sun., I can’t remember which, recorded the 3rd largest one-day rainfall total in Louisville history. It seriously was massive.)
It rained buckets on us all 120+ miles up Interstate 71 and 75. Here’s a shot I took coming down Suicide Hill toward Cincy. (In retrospect, maybe snapping pictures while driving in the rain down something called Suicide Hill is not such a good idea.)
What I actually meant by “we finally made it”, is that, ever since I first learned of Jungle Jim’s International Market and The Weekend of Fire, I have wanted to make the trip.
Now that I have, I wish I had done it years ago and every year. Better late than never.
Before I list my new sauce additions, first my 3 1/2 biggest impressions about the The Weekend of Fire 2013.
1. The Weekend of Fire is a first class operation.
The room is really nice. I’m not sure what the Jungle Jim’s building was before, but the show space (which is above the main store area) looked like a high-end hotel or, as one guest near me commented, a casino. The floors are carpeted. There are chandeliers on the ceiling. Nice upholstered chairs to rest in. A large bar area at one end. Not at all what I expected.
What I did expect is the staff to be superior — and I was not disappointed. In my many experiences in the store, Jungle Jim’s staff has always been friendly and helpful. The staff running the show was no exception. Everything ran smooth and calm even when the floor got crowded in the middle part of the day. Great job.
2. The Vendors were an absolute joy to talk to.
I never once mentioned this blog (and I really shouldn’t — being that I have barely started the thing at this point.) My girlfriend and I simply walked up to each table and started looking. At every table we were treated like friends. They asked us what we like, explained their sauces and offered us as many samples as we wanted. Surprisingly, I learned quite a bit about sauces and the hot sauce business that I didn’t know. We were never pressured to buy anything, stop sampling or try anything we didn’t want. All in all, a VERY pleasant and friendly time.
3. There were NO bad sauces.
I am dead serious here. Every sauce was excellent. Naturally, there were some that I like better than others. That’s just personal preference. But every sauce tasted like it was made with care with fresh, quality ingredients. I guess this shouldn’t come as a shock, since, with the exception of Tabasco, every vendor there was a small-batch, artisan sauce maker. There were no chemical tastes. No sauces tasted old or too oily. And, best of all, no PEPPER EXTRACTS! (Can we PLEASE be over these.) Everything tasted like something I might make at home after visiting the local farmers market. You know, if I were a super-talented hot sauce maker and all.
By the way, that was not a cut on Tabasco. I think Tabasco, even though it is the world’s largest hot sauce maker, produces some of the best quality sauces on the market. My favorite table sauce and the first one I reviewed on this blog was Tabasco Chipotle Hot Sauce.
3 1/2. There were A LOT of Pineapple Hot Sauces. 🙂
Hot Sauces #14 – 48 – Weekend of Fire 2013
I actually tried several more than are listed here but I’m afraid my enthusiasm outstripped my record keeping and I can’t remember the names. No worries, I’ll get to them eventually. There’s always Weekend of Fire 2014, 2015, 2016…
The tasting basically followed our path from booth to booth as we made our way around the room — so that is how I have divided up the list. I enjoyed them all (see above) but I’m only going to comment on a few.
Race City Sauce Works (Website – http://www.racecitysauceworks.com/Default.asp)
- Hot Sauce #14 – Jalapeño Sour Apple Pepper Sauce
- Hot Sauce #15 – Carolina Cayenne Pepper Sauce
- Hot Sauce #16 – The Green Fairy Absinthe & Herb Inferno
- Hot Sauce #17 – Appalachian Moonshine Black Cherry
- Hot Sauce #18 – Owem G. Williker’s Chocolaty Chile Elixirs Salted Caramel White Chocolate Formula
- Hot Sauce #19 – Owem G. Williker’s Chocolaty Chile Elixirs Toasted Marshmallow Dark Chocolate Formula
What a way to start the day. SIX new sauces. This is a combination of first booth, a very friendly and generous vendor and way, way too many excellent sauces to try. And we tried maybe 1/3 of the sauces they had on the table. Read those names again. They are as good as they sound. Better, even. Trust me when I say this, I am already saving up money to buy EVERYTHING Race City makes next year. (Naturally, I will review them all, too.)
Cajun Island (Website – http://cajunisland.com/)
- Hot Sauce #20 – Blackened Bourbon Sauce
- Hot Sauce #21 – Jazzy Jerk Sauce
Little Diablo Salsa (Website – http://littlediablosalsa.com/)
- Hot Sauce #22 – Mild Artichoke Salsa
Note – I included this because to me this was more hot sauce than salsa, despite the name.
Bigfat’s Hot Sauce (Website – http://www.bigfatshotsauce.com/)
- Hot Sauce #23 – Sea Green Verde Style Hot Sauce
I can’t find this sauce on their website. Maybe it is new. I did try one of his numbered ones but unfortunately don’t remember which one.
Cowboy Hot Sauce (Website – Wow! I really messed this up. All I have is a blurry photo that shows “Buckin’ Sauce.” Please let me know if you have any info on this vendor.)
- Hot Sauce #24 – Buckin’ Hot Sauce
Frankie V’s Kitchen (Website – http://www.frankievskitchen.com/)
- Hot Sauce #25 – Frankie V and the Serranos
- Hot Sauce #26 – Frankie V’s Fiery White
- Hot Sauce #27 – Frankie V’s Spooky White
Next to Race City, this was my favorite overall collection. How good are these sauces? My girlfriend, who doesn’t eat hot sauce, bought a jar of the Frankie V and the Serranos for herself (and a jar of their White Chocolate Raspberry Almond Butter. Yum!)
Born to Hula All Natural Hot Sauces (Website – http://borntohula.com/)
- Hot Sauce #28 – Chipotle Blue
- Hot Sauce #29 – Smokin’ Pineapple
- Hot Sauce #30 – Cayenne
The Chesterville Pepper Company (Website – http://www.thechestervillepeppercompany.com/)
- Hot Sauce #31 – Fistful of Pineapple
High River Sauces (Website – http://highriversauces.com/)
- Hot Sauce #32 – Hellacious Hot Sauce
- Hot Sauce #33 – Grapes of Wrath
Easily the best labels and table decorations. Good sauce, too.
Captain Jim’s Sauces (Website – http://home.captainjimsauces.com/)
- Hot Sauce #34 – Caribbean Dream
Scotty O’Hotty (Website – http://www.scottyohotty.com/)
- Hot Sauce #35 – Premium Pepper Sauce
Papi Joe’s (Website – http://www.papijoes.com/)
- Hot Sauce #36 – Papi Joe’s Tennessee Pepper Sauce
Royal Fireworks Sauces (Website – http://www.royalfireworkssauce.com/)
- Hot Sauce #37 – Cherry Bomb
- Hot Sauce #38 – Rude Banero
- Hot Sauce #39 – Monster Mash
PuckerButt Pepper Company (Website – http://puckerbuttpeppercompany.com/)
- Hot Sauce #40 – Payton’s Hot Strawberry Sauce
We tried more here but got to talking and I forgot to record them.
CaJohns Fiery Foods (Website – http://www.cajohns.com/)
- Hot Sauce #41 – Quetzalcoatl Ghost Chili Hot Sauce
- Hot Sauce #42 – Oaxaca Chipotle
- Hot Sauce #43 – Oaxaca Hot Sauce
- Hot Sauce #44 – Happy Beaver Hot Sauce
CaJohns Quetzalcoatl was the only sauce I knew I would buy before I arrived at the show. It won the 2012 Blogger Award for Best New Product and I have loved every CaJohn sauce I have tried so far. My first impression is that it is anther winner. But, we’ll see. I have my bottle and it’s gonna be the next review on this blog.
Voodoo Chili Sauces (Website – http://voodoochilesauces.com/)
- Hot Sauce #45 – Porcus Infernum
Heartbreaking Dawns (Website – http://www.heartbreakingdawns.com/)
- Hot Sauce #46 – Jalapeño Pineapple
- Hot Sauce #47 – Mango Habanero
- Hot Sauce #48 – Classic Gold Habanero
I tried one more from Heartbreaking Dawns– 1498 Trinidad Scorpion, I think — because my girlfriend said I hadn’t tried a really hot sauce all day. (You know — Like Habanero and Ghost Pepper sauces aren’t hot.) It lit me up. Big time. I forgot the name (I think I blacked out for a moment. 😉 ), but no worries — I love this company and will eventually get back around to all of their sauces. Watch for the reviews.
A Great Day to be a Chilihead!
There you have it — One day, 35 new sauces! Plus a good dozen more that I having too much fun and forgot to record. Plus many delicious non-hot sauce products (like that wonderful White Chocolate Raspberry Almond Butter I mentioned above.) Plus a trip to Jungle Jim’s International Market (and 4 MORE hot sauces!) All in all, even with the Noah-scale rain, it was a great day.
I hope you enjoyed this brief report and I hope to see you at Weekend of Fire 2014. Be sure to introduce yourself.
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