When DJ Khaled infamously tapped out in the fourth round of First We Feast’s inaugural Hot Ones season finale in 2015, the YouTube series that had been gradually accumulating a respectable cult following transformed into an internet sensation, seemingly overnight.
Since then, the First We Feast channel has amassed almost nine million subscribers and over 1.4 billion individual views. And while the unique format and rotating panel of celebrities obviously play a huge part in the show's surreal success, the sauces that comprise the proverbial spice gauntlet have themselves begun to gain celebrity status.
Pepper North--a family-owned, Ontario-based hot sauce company that was featured in the recently wrapped 11th season of Hot Ones--is currently experiencing a similar ascension into hot sauce stardom.
“Watching several celebrities trying our hot sauces was amazing and brought quite a bit of attention to our company,” Pepper North owner Drew Stevens reflects. “Will Ferrell calling Ontario the ‘Mexico of Canada’ and Justin Timberlake remarking on our Stargazer hot sauce is advertising that we never thought would be possible for a small family business.”
Pepper North’s Stargazer hot sauce is composed of jalapeno peppers, scotch bonnet peppers, ghost peppers, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, garlic, lime juice, sea salt, and chipotle peppers, and with a scoville rating of 180,000, ranks as the seventh spiciest sauce on Hot Ones’ lineup.
“We use 100 per cent Canadian ingredients, including Ontario-grown hot peppers,” Stevens explains. “Partnering with local farmers to produce the ingredients we use in our sauces is one of our core values. We also offer a wide range of heat levels and flavour combinations that appeal to a variety of Canadian consumers.”