Once again I made my way to San Francisco in January, and once again I found some amazing spicy products at the Winter Fancy Food Show.

Not sure if it was having the experience of going to the show last year, but it seemed like there were a lot more exhibitors with piquant products this year.

If you follow us on Facebook or Twitter, then you saw the Top 15 Fiery Finds, but I wanted to narrow down the list to the Top 5.

Let’s not drag this out any further, here’s the list…

5. Mama Lil’s Peppers

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Take a bunch of Hungarian hot wax (goat horn) peppers, cut them, de-seed them, and pickle them with spices in extra virgin olive oil to create Original Mama Lil’s Peppers in Oil.

They have two heat levels; Original and KICK BUTT. They aren’t that hot (or at least the ones I tried weren’t), but it’s enough to enjoy. That’s not really the point though. These peppers are all about the tangy, robust flavor, and I was thoroughly impressed.

4. Sir Kensington’s Spiced Ketchup

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I know, it’s just ketchup, right? Wrong.

This is nowhere close to your grocery store ketchup. Most ketchups are made from tomato concentrate. Not this one. Their ketchup is made from tomato puree, and sweetened with agave, honey, and raw brown sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup. Add some chipotle peppers, lime, and cilantro to the spiced version and you have an amazing ketchup with just a hint of spice.

3. Rick’s Picks Hotties Pickles

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Pickles + Sriracha = Rick’s Picks Hotties

A good pickle with just enough spice to please even the most hardened chilehead. Rick’s has figured out the age old chilehead question of “How much hot sauce should I add to the brine?”, and created a nice contrast with sweet/spicy flavor of the sriracha sauce.

These very well could become a permanent requirement for burgers in my kitchen.

2. 479º Popcorn Chipotle Caramel + Almonds

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I was leary of trying this product simply because I’m not a big fan of companies that tout themselves as “organic”. Organic in my mind is usually an excuse for high prices and no flavor. This product changed my perspective.

The slightly smoky flavor from the chipotles is a welcome addition to the sweet caramel corn, and believe it or not there was a noticeable tingle after eating a few. Now don’t get me wrong, this is an extremely mild heat, but it’s there. A great product to introduce a non-chilehead to sweet heat.

1. Rufus Teague Blazin Hot BBQ Sauce

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Spicy barbecue sauce is not spicy, or it’s TOO spicy. Finding that near perfect balance of fire and flavor may be tougher with barbecue sauce than any other condiment. This barbecue sauce pulls it off. In fact, it’s now my front runner for the best fire/flavor combo I’ve found in BBQ.

First taste gives you a great tangy Kansas City style sauce, and you don’t have to wait long until the heat hits. That heat, I’m telling you, it’s hot. Not habanero hot, but pretty close. I would go as far as saying it’s as hot as you can get without ruining a barbecue sauce. It’s that good. Don’t worry if you’re not into heat though. They have milder flavors.

This will become a permanent addition when I’m doing wet BBQ from now on.

That’s all I got for this show this year! Make sure to check out David’s “Tasty TX” review tomorrow. He will let you what he thinks about death, Texas, and Cat-3 Hurricane Sauce from Redneck Riviera.


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