An Interview with Todd Jilbert of Golden Toad, Inc.
For how long have you been making hot sauce?
Since the early 1990's when I started playing with peppers and hot sauces while working in the restaurant industry in San Diego.
What are your most popular products?
We have three products that compete monthly for our top sales position... Our Habanero Pepper Sauce, Prime Steak Rub & Chipotle BBQ Finishing Sauce.
How did you get started making hot sauce?
I worked my way through San Diego State University in the Restaurant Business. I have always loved to cook and I started playing around with peppers and hot sauces at one of the restaurants I managed in San Diego. One sauce in particular was very popular with friends, family and customers and I was encouraged to bottle it up commercially. Years later, after a career change and relocation, I never lost the passion for food and hot sauces and I finally produced my first three products commercially, one of which was based on that original sauce that I used to make in San Diego... It became our Chipotle Pepper Sauce.
When did you go commercial?
March of 2004
How many bottles of hot sauce do you produce a year?
We manufacture small batches monthly. We average 60 to 250 gallons a month. We feel that the small batches are by far the best way to control the quality and consistency of our products.
Do you have a preferred chili pepper as an ingredient?
Yes, Fresh Orange Habaneros!
Aside from chili peppers, what do you feel is the key ingredient(s) in making the perfect hot sauce?
There are so many hot sauces available today. From vinegar based to fruit based to honey based, the list is almost endless. I personally believe that the best sauces are made from very fresh ingredients.
Is there a special process you follow in making your hot sauces?
Do you follow a particular philosophy to making hot sauces?
Yes - small batches using the freshest ingredients.
Do you have any other favorite spicy foods?
Yes - I love Cajun/Creole, Mexican and Indian dishes...
Do you have any advice for would-be hot sauce makers making sauces at home?
I have two pieces of advice. The first is safety, safety, safety... Do a little research so you understand what steps to take to develop a shelf stable safe product. Go get a good pH meter as the final pH of your product is one of the most important safety measures that you need to take. The second would be that all natural fresh ingredients make the best end product!
Do you have any basic/favorite hot sauce recipes to share?
I have a recipe that uses hot sauce that I can share... We compete and vend at a half a dozen KCBS BBQ Competitions each year and one of the items we prepare and sell is...
Golden Toad's Fire-Grilled Wings with Chipotle Honey Wing Sauce...
- 3lbs chicken wings (large 2 oz. drumettes)
- 3 cups Chicken Stock
- 3 cups Italian Dressing
- 2-3 TBS Golden Toad - Cajun/Creole Seasoning
- 1 cup White Wine
- Wing Sauce
- 3/4 cup Golden Toad - Chipotle Pepper Sauce
- 2/3 cup Honey
- 1/2 cup Frank's Red Hot Sauce
- 1/2 cube Butter (unsalted)
- 1 TBS Lemon juice
- Blue Cheese Dressing
- Fresh Scallions (thinly diced)
- Fresh Cracked Black Pepper
- Fresh Cilantro leaves (washed and dried)
- Celery Sticks
- Carrot Sticks
- Marinate wings in marinade for 2-4 hours...
- While wings marinate, add wing sauce ingredients together in a non-reactive pan and simmer for a few minutes stirring frequently to combine flavors. Turn heat off after a few minutes...
- Heat grill to Medium-High to High - I suggest and use hardwood charcoal (a gas grill will work if you must)...
- Grill wings for 10-15 minutes until cooked through...
- Immediately toss in Wing Sauce...
- Serve topped with fresh cracked black pepper, fresh diced scallions and fresh cilantro leaves... Garnish with blue cheese dressing, carrot and celery sticks...
Imagine this sad reality: If you could have only one chili pepper the rest of your life, which would you choose?
Fresh Orange Habaneros - they have great heat that is not too overpowering and they have such a bright fresh distinctive flavor.
If your life could be turned into a movie, who would you like to have play YOU on the big screen? What might the movie TITLE be?
Probably Clint Eastwood. He has always been one of my favorite actors. Most likely because in most his roles he played a bit of a rebel cowboy who lived just outside the accepted norm but he always found a way to do the right thing. Movie Title??? I have no idea... You'll want to ask my wife, family and friends...
Any other parting thoughts?
I would like to end with one of our core beliefs. We believe strongly in giving back. We always have. Our tag line is "Saving the Planet One Tongue at a Time ®" which is printed on every one of our products. Currently we give back to the Denver Zoo, the Colorado Wildlife Heritage Foundation and the Children's Hospital (Aurora, CO).
Learn More About or Contact Golden Toad:
PH: 800.939.TOAD (8623)
Address: Golden Toad, Inc.
P.O. Box 631699
Littleton, CO 80163-1699
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