Posted March 18, 2005 by Nick Lindauer in Hot Sauce News

Roseville resident captures award for spicy sauce

Roseville resident Robert Langdon learned the hard way never to play with fire.

Always fascinated with chile peppers, despite a chilly upbringing in a suburb of St. Paul, Minn., Langdon landed in New Mexico several years ago after his ex-wife took a job in Albuquerque.

Seizing the opportunity to grow chile peppers in New Mexico’s ideal climate, Langdon planted several varieties in his garden, including Red Savina habaneros – the hottest chile pepper in the world.

The result was Langdon produced a bumper crop.

“I had way too many habaneros, so I decided to make powder out of them and threw them in a blender,” said Langdon, 37. “I had to leave the house for five hours. It was toxic in there.”

Langdon’s story is probably no exaggeration. On the Scoville scale, a measure of capsaicin – the chemical in hot peppers responsible for their heat – Red Savinas register a fire-breathing 580,000 units.

By comparison, Cayenne chiles – plenty spicy in their own right – are between 30,000-50,000 Scoville units.

“It was a life lesson, for sure,” Langdon said.

It was also the starting point for Langdon’s creation of an award-winning hot barbeque sauce, which captured first place in the 2005 Scovie Awards amateur division. For good measure, Langdon also took second place for his spicy barbeque sauce.

Both sauces will be featured at the Fiery-Foods Show, the biggest spicy food event of its kind in the nation, held in Albuquerque in March.

“I didn’t think I had a chance,” Langdon said. “We’re talking about the best (fiery foods) show in the country. Most people here in California don’t understand the magnitude of that show.”

Francis Gill, who operates Klamath River Barbeque Company in Yreka and has agreed to co-pack Langdon’s sauce for wholesale distribution, understands.

“It’s not a ticket to instant fame and fortune,” said Gill, who won a 2005 Scovie professional award in the fruit-based barbeque division for his apricot glaze. “But it gives you recognition. People in the food industry know what a Scovie award is.”

Langdon, who works as an insurance claim adjuster in Sacramento, believes his tomato-based sauce could make ketchup obsolete.

“It replaces ketchup,” Langdon said. “Once people try it, they will never go back to ketchup again.”

Langdon calls his hot barbeque sauce “Spicy B’s.”

“A lot of my friends call me RB or just B,” he said. “So that’s where the name came from.”

The sauce is a classic mix of sweet (brown sugar) and spicy (five different kinds of chile peppers).

“I like to think of it as the sauce where Midwestern sweet meets Southwestern heat,” he said.

Although Langdon and several of his friends pour the spicy concoction on everything from French fries to pizza, the creator said the sauce’s best use is on the barbeque grill.

“Of course, it’s great on chicken, steaks and hamburger, but I think it’s best on barbequed pork,” Langdon said. “I know one lady on a Weight Watchers diet who pours it on her Smart One entrees.”

Langdon, who moved to Roseville in 1988 before his travels took him to the Southwest, said his trip to Albuquerque changed his perception of spicy foods forever.

“I always made my own barbeque sauce, but there was no heat in the original,” he said. “When I invited some friends over for a barbeque in Albuquerque, they said my sauce tasted like Kool-Aid.”

That’s when Langdon decided to grow his own chile peppers and add some flames to his barbeque sauce.

“I never entered my sauce in the Fiery-Foods Show until this year,” Langdon said. “I’ve been busy tweaking it for the past five years. Now, ask any chile head. They love it.”

Gill, a spicy foods aficionado, is fond of the sauce.

“He’s got a fantastic sauce,” Gill said. “I think his product will do really well in gourmet food shops.”

Spicy B’s barbeque sauce should be ready for distribution to gourmet food shops by April, according to Langdon.

Langdon said he would sell the award-winning sauce from his Web site at www.spicybs.com for $4 a bottle.

– Tim Menicutch can be reached at timm@goldcountrymedia.com

Nick Lindauer

The Original Hot Sauce Blog