Carolina Sauce Company, with lots of people sending hot sauce & barbecue sauce gifts for the holidays, and this past December was no exception. Unlike prior years, however, this year brought much greater variety in the types of sauces, seasonings, snacks and other zesty gifts ordered by our customers -- so much so that instead of listing just the 10 most popular sauces, it made more sense to list our top 20 products for December. The list follows, together with brief descriptions and links back to the specific pages where you can order the listed products either from the Carolina Sauces online store or from our partners:
1. Matouk's West Indian Salsa Picante Hot Sauce: This bright, fiery mustard and scotch bonnet pepper hot sauce from Trinidad & Tobago is a taste of sunny tropical paradise, with the requisite spicy heat and hint of island fruit. It's also our best-selling hot sauce of all time.
2. Wells Hog Heaven BBQ Sauce: Made in eastern North Carolina using traditional ingredients, this thin vinegar barbecue sauce is the quintessential eastern Carolina BBQ sauce for pulled pork barbecue cooked long and slow on a smoker. It's not only our best-selling barbecue sauce; it's also our all-time best-selling product across all categories.
Walkerswood Scotch Bonnet Pepper Sauce: This straightforward Jamaican hot sauce is a favorite of purists who prefer the distinctive flavor and fiery burn of scotch bonnet peppers, and want to experience them without additional seasonings that can dilute or diminish the chile's unique character. If you're looking for an all-purpose scotch bonnet hot sauce to use at the table or for cooking, Walkerswood is an excellent choice.
4. Jamaica Hell Fire 2 in 1 Red Hot Sauce: Concocted by a Jamaican doctor living in the US who craved the cuisine from his homeland, this spicy pepper sauce is made from sun-ripened island chilies and Jamaican spices in a tangy vinegar base. Add a taste of the tropics anytime you splash on this savory, all-purpose hot sauce.
5. Matouk's Calypso Sauce: A little hotter and more savory than its West Indian sibling, Calypso Sauce is thick and robust with solid aged-pepper flavor and fire, an excellent hot sauce to enjoy with grilled, roasted, broiled or smoked fare. It's also a great way to spice up red beans & rice, seafood stews, hearty breakfast casseroles, and other full-flavored savory dishes.
Gator Hammock Hot Gator Sauce: Made in Florida from all-natural ingredients and several different hot peppers, this multidimensional savory hot sauce is preferred by chefs and other foodies who appreciate a good burn but never at the expense of superb flavor. If you like heat but want to be able to taste all the nuances of your food, choose Gator Sauce as your go-to hot sauce.
7. Walkerswood Traditional Jamaican Jerk Seasoning: From Jamaica's best-known name when it comes to jerk products, this wet rub or paste is the real deal. Made with traditional ingredients using a timeless recipe, this spicy-hot jerk seasoning captures the essence of classic Jamaican jerk with its intense aromatics, complex herb and spice notes, and serious peppery heat. A little goes a long way, whether you're jerking red meats, poultry, fish and seafood or vegetables.
Crazy Jerry's Lizard Eyes Habanero-Stuffed Olives: Why settle for boring pimento-stuffed olives in your salads and martinis when you can enjoy the eye-opening kick of habanero-stuffed olives instead? Plump and juicy green olives are stuffed with slices of fiery habanero peppers for a snack, garnish or condiment that will thrill fiery-foods enthusiasts.
9. Dave's Cool Cayenne Hot Sauce: This sunny, surprisingly mellow and pleasantly piquant California hot sauce is made with cayenne peppers and specially selected spices for a zesty and satisfying all-purpose hot sauce you can enjoy with any meal.
10. Matouk's Salsa Picante Hot Pepper Sauce: Fiery-hot and richly savory, this is the "big brother" of the Matouk's family of hot sauces -- but don't worry, it's not as imposing and powerful as "big daddy" Flambeau, so you can use it more liberally and frequently without risking a tongue-numbing burnout of your taste buds.
Most Wanted Pain is Good Habanero Hot Sauce: Recently added to the Carolina Sauces online store and making its first appearance on our best-sellers list, this flavorful habanero hot sauce is not the hottest you can buy, and that's a good thing because this baby has layers of food-friendly flavors waiting to be savored and enjoyed by food-loving hot sauce fans.
12. We had a tie for twelfth place between two Caribbean sauces that are very different but nevertheless superb examples of their particular styles: Marie Sharp's BEWARE Hot Sauce, an ultra-hot habanero pepper sauce that should be used with extreme care and only one drop at a time, and Busha Browne's Pukka Sauce, a colonial-style Jamaican hot sauce that's not a jerk sauce but instead a slightly mellower but solidly hot all-purpose pepper sauce that's especially good with scrambled eggs and hash browns as well as other everyday savory fare.
13. Bone Suckin' Rib Rub: Sassy, spicy, savory and slightly sweet, this tasty all-natural BBQ dry rub from North Carolina is fantastic with beef AND pork ribs, pork butts, chicken, brisket, chops, burgers, steaks, shrimp, grilled vegetables, and even as a table seasoning for french fries and popcorn. Some folks like to add it to their breading for fried fish, fried chicken and other coated foods to add a touch of zesty flavor.
Matouk's Hot Sauce Gift Set comes with a full-size (10 oz) bottle of each of the four most popular flavors of Matouk's hot sauces: Calypso Sauce, Flambeau, Salsa Picante Hot Pepper Sauce, and West Indian Hot Sauce.
15. Ass Kickin' Habanero Popcorn: Unlike other hot & spicy microwave popcorns, this one actually tastes good! It packs a pretty solid habanero pepper punch, so be sure to have a tall glass of something cool to drink when snacking on this hot popcorn.
16. Smoker Wood Chips, Charcoal & Grilling Planks: From Traeger pellets to hard-to-find Pacific alder wood chips, seafood-friendly cedar planks, hickory chunks for your smoker, and even whiskey barrel smoker chips, we have the wood you need for your barbecue grill or smoker.
Bacon and Bacon Gifts: In addition to old-fashioned thick cut bacon and specially seasoned gourmet bacon, flavored bacon, and nitrate-free bacon, we also have bacon-flavored foods (condiments, seasonings, chocolate, breakfast favorites, etc.) and bacon novelties (e.g., band-aids, toys, clothing, bacon-scented cologne, bacon lip balm, and more).
18. We had another tie for 18th place, this time between our two largest and most bountiful BBQ Gift Baskets, and also the gift that keeps on giving, namely, Hot Sauce of the Month Clubs, which are available in 3-, 6- and 12-month plans.
19. Jim's Own BBQ Sauce, Rubs & Gifts: Award-winning North Carolina barbecue sauces and seasoning rubs from Jim's Own Sauce are always popular for gift-giving occasions, and this past year Jim's Own updated and improved their selection of NC barbecue gift baskets and gift sets. From traditional Carolina vinegar BBQ sauce to sweet-spicy Smokey BBQ and tangy low-country Mustard BBQ Sauce, plus all-purpose seasoning rubs ranging from classic savory-sweet Mild to spicy Pincho, robust Smokey and exotic Safari, there's something for every taste. And just in time for Christmas, Jim's Own released their very own all-natural, MSG-free Slow & Smokey Chili Mix!
20. America's Restaurant Recipes Cookbook: Have you ever wished you could have the recipe for your favorite restaurant dishes so that you could make them at home? Ever wonder what the secret ingredients are for that special entree, crowd-pleasing appetizer or decadent dessert you enjoy when eating out? America's Restaurant Recipes Cookbook has them! No wonder it's the first cookbook to have made our list of best-selling products.
We will soon finish tallying the results for overall and category-specific products for 2013, and will post the lists here as well as on the Carolina Sauce Company website when they're available.