An Interview with Bill White of Slap You Silly Hot Sauce, inc
For how long have you been making hot sauce?
I started in about 2003.
How did you get started making hot sauce?
It actually started with a bumper crop of peppers from my garden…. I could only make so much salsa and dry so many so I decided to play around with hot sauce. I think what makes hot sauces so interesting is that everyone has an opinion of what is best-louisana style with lots of vinegar or smoky sauces or habanero sauces..it goes on. That is why there is such a wide variety out there. I think it’s like asking someone about chili, no matter who it is theirs is the best because it is either what they like or grew up with.
When did you go commercial?
My first batch of user friendly came out in September of 2009
How many bottles of hot sauce do you produce a year?
In 2010 with the addition of the Sofa King and Widowmaker versions I had runs of about 700 bottles of each one or about 2100 bottles.
Do you have a preferred chili pepper as an ingredient?
I really love habaneros. They have a unique flavor and can be used in a wide range of food.
Aside from chili peppers, what do you feel is the key ingredient(s) in making the perfect hot sauce?
I think the fresher the ingredients the better. It is easier to do this in smaller batches and keep your product similar to the one you loved and got you into this in the first place!
Is there a special process you follow in making your hot sauces?
I went into this because too many sauces were not much more than salt and vinegar..2 pretty cheap ingredients . They are necessary but I really try to use them in moderation. If you can get someone to try a sauce with real ingredients and get them going down a new road it’s rewarding. Lots of people are in a sauce rut…they automatically reach for the same 100 year old brand. Part of the problem is that recently everybody seemed to try to make something over the top hot. While there is a market out there for that (and I am part of it) I wanted a sauce with flavor that was mild enough for anyone to enjoy. I collect sauces and most are 3x or 4x. Lots of them are years old and my thought was I want people to use it and by more than a bottle every 5 years. My User friendly sauce works with almost anything or in any meal. I love it when someone that sweats on ketchup gets hooked on it and realizes that there are choices. The trick is getting them to try it !
Do you have any other favorite spicy foods?
I love Cajun food and am a real sucker for chicken wings.
Do you have any advice for would-be hot sauce makers making sauces at home?
I think if you believe you have a good product go for it. More than anything before you get in too deep find some one that is a little farther down the road than you are and ASK FOR HELP! If it’s a deadend-ASK SOMEONE ELSE! The people that let me pick their brain saved countless hours, miles and above all money. It is a tough market and to get it from something that your friends like and encourage you to “make this for everyone” can get costly to get going. (remember who these people are when you need the dough to get started!)
Imagine this sad reality: If you could have only one chili pepper the rest of your life, which would you choose and why?
I’d hope it never came to that but it would definitely be a habanero for the flavor but I honestly couldn’t picture the world without jalapenos.
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?
I think it would be Don Rickles. ( I love sarcasm ) The title would be tough-If my wife could name it it would probably be” ARE YOU MESS’IN UP THE DAMN KITCHEN AGAIN? !” But my title would be “LIFE IS GOOD !”
Any other parting thoughts?
LIVE, LOVE and PROSPER-It’s a hectic world but I believe everyone should set aside a little time each week to do something for themselves that makes it all worthwhile!
Visit Slap You Silly at:
Bill White, "The Big Pepper"
Slap You Silly Hot Sauce,inc
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