Featured on a popular show, Homemade Hot Sauce basking in the heat of the “Hot Ones”
WATERLOO REGION – The makers of a new local hot sauce insist they’re not trying to burn your face.
OK, maybe just a little.
“We are on a mission to provide warmth, flavor and pleasure for your mouth,” said one of The Original Goat (OG) creators, Kris Ronan.
With smoked pineapple, smoked onion, ginger, garlic and Carolina Reaper peppers – which have long been considered the hottest chili in the world – the OG, from the new brand Ginger Goat from the region of Waterloo, is a mixture of taste and torch.
“We’re saying there’s a friendly heat header that comes from the back,” Ronan said.
The new sauce has a worldwide audience, thanks to the popular show “Hot Ones”, a YouTube series that also airs locally on Global TV after “Saturday Night Live”.
In its 15th season (with multiple seasons per year), the show sees celebrities interviewed by host Sean Evans as they eat chicken wings prepared in increasingly spicy sauces. Towards the end, guests generally pant, drink milk, and sweat profusely; full sentences are a bonus.
Ginger Goat’s The OG was chosen to be part of the Season 15 lineup of 10 sauces, now in fifth place. The season premiere episode, which aired last week, starred rapper Jack Harlow and already has over 1.4 million views. UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman appears this week.
Previous guests included Will Ferrell, Justin Timberlake, Margot Robbie, Kevin Hart and Scarlett Johansson. The episode with chef Gordon Ramsay has an estimated 87 million views.
“It helps open a lot of doors,” said Ryan Lloyd-Craig, Ginger Goat business partner alongside Ronan and Ronan’s fiancée Natacia Poley. All three have other professional roles – Poley is an office manager, Ronan is a consultant and business coach with Conestoga College’s Entrepreneurship Collective, and Lloyd-Craig is co-owner of the Ignite Group of Brands, which includes Graffiti Market and Crowsfoot Smokehaus.
“We’ve been fans of the show forever,” Ronan said. “It’s a little surreal… It’s like we have to touch a unicorn.”
Self-proclaimed “Chiliheads” Ronan and Poley have been growing their own peppers and trying new recipes for about a year and a half. “We found that there wasn’t much on the market for clean, natural sauces that weren’t strictly vinegar-based,” Ronan said.
The couple found their designs in high demand with friends and family, and decided to enter the commercial market, bringing in their friend Lloyd-Craig. They incorporated in mid-February and a month later they found out they were going to be featured on “Hot Ones”.
Production ramped up, as the team smoked four and a half tons of pineapple and two tons of onions, and peeled around 1,500 pounds of ginger in late April to prepare. “We had a very short period of time,” Lloyd-Craig said with a laugh.
They won’t say how their sauce was tossed on “Hot Ones” except to say that connections in the entrepreneurial community played a role. They try to give back, with charitable donations and sponsorships.
If there’s one Ginger Goat among the trio, it’s Ronan – although Lloyd-Craig also has red hair. The name came from compliments from Ronan’s nephew, who gave him the nickname thanks to his red hair and matching goatee.
The OG is sold in a number of stores and restaurants in the Waterloo region, and online during the “Hot Ones” race via heatonist.com. They envision wider retail distribution later this year and say they’re already working on new recipes in their test kitchen.
For now, however, they’re just basking in the heat of the “Hot Ones”.
“We climbed the top of Spice Mountain,” Ronan said. “Of course it’s a business, of course we see it that way. We want to make money, but we want to have fun along the way. “