The hot sauce industry has some fiery competition coming their way after a local couple has launched The Back 40, a keto hot sauce that has had hundreds of salivating customers coming back for more.
And as they say, you really can put this stuff on everything.
James and Darby Mousseau started The Back 40 in November as a business venture that will run out of their 100-acre farm in Bobcaygeon.
“We’ve been very surprised and have had great feedback, everybody has loved it and we have had a bunch of people coming back for more,” said Darby. “Initially we couldn’t keep up with demand, but we expanded enough that we can keep up with people. Everyone loves the flavour, it’s not just hot, it’s very flavourful and has a very sweet initial taste.”
The Back 40 began with initial plans to build 10 cabins on their sprawling acreage that is loaded with walking and snowshoeing trails, picturesque ponds and babbling creeks.
The couple is hopeful that the cabins can be built for next summer, open for families to enjoy as a weekend getaway.
“Our farm is not really a farmable farm because of the land, we wanted to be able to use the farm and make some sort of income off of it,” said Darby. “People can come up and enjoy the area, we have lots of trails and a beautiful sunset. It’s a neat way to use the land and let others enjoy what we enjoy.”
And while The Back 40 as a business initially started with the idea of the country cabins, the hot sauce component was a zesty, unexpected, surprise.
“The hot sauce was accidental, we live a keto lifestyle with no sugar and low carbs, so we tried to make our own hot sauce, posted it on Facebook and everybody commented, wanting some,” laughed James. “So, we decided to try it, we made a few more batches to see what people thought of it.”
And the response has been overwhelming. The duo is now featuring their hot sauce in various local restaurants and keeping up with the demands of over 200 pungent flavour loving customers.
Currently, The Back 40 has kicked things off with their original hot sauce, Sweet Whiskey Heat that features a secret recipe that is sure to kick things up a notch, or two.
“It’s yummy, we use a sugar-free maple syrup from New Brunswick,” explained James.
The fierce concoction of the Sweet Whiskey Heat is sweetened with the sugar-free maple syrup and Stevia, a natural sweetener. The hot sauce connoisseurs created the perfect blend using a combination of scotch bonnets, which are similar to habaneros but feature a sweeter heat, and sweet peppers. The ingredients are then fermented for a week before they transform into the mouth-watering sauce.
“It’s good on absolutely everything, we bake with it, use it as a dipping sauce, on wings, eggs, chicken, steak and even in my soup,” said James. “We had one person drizzle it on their popcorn!”
The Back 40 is also preparing to unveil a jalapeno blend which is set to launch this week. According to Darby, the new sauce will feature similar sizzling flavours with a slight jalapeno taste and the heat will be turned up a degree or two.
For repeat customer Jennifer Brown-Warne of Oshawa, the Sweet Whiskey Heat has become a family favourite that is enjoyed on almost every meal.
Brown-Warne and James attended high school together and she decided to try the hot sauce to support a friend and a small local business. She hasn’t always been a hot sauce fan but The Back 40 is changing her taste buds.
“When I saw the (Facebook) post I was like hell yeah, I definitely wanted to try it, my family loves hot sauce,” she said. “When we tried it, I was like oh my gosh, I gifted it to sister-in-law, she said she needs cases of it.”
Today, Brown-Warne enjoyed the Sweet Whisky Heat on her breakfast sandwich, and she wasn’t disappointed.
“It was fantastic, when you first put it in your mouth you get the sweetness and after that, you get the heat, I am like wow I really like that,” she said. “It’s a different kind of flavour with the scotch bonnets, I can definitely handle the heat, it’s a lingering heat afterwards, I still feel it on my tongue and I’m like okay, what am I going to have for lunch now that I can put this on?”
Brown-Warne and her husband both became diabetic in the last two years. So, to get their hands on a hot sauce that offers intense, delicious flavour without the side of guilt of having it laced with sugar was a big bonus for their family.
“It is definitely something that my whole family can get behind and support, finding stuff that is sugar-free that we can enjoy and incorporate in our diet has been difficult and a learning curve for the both of us,” she said. “I wish them both so much luck, I am so happy to support people that I’ve known personally, and people in the area selling products that are quality.”