This Saturday from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Jimmy’s No. 43 will be rocking—in more ways than one—when we bring on Hot Sauce for Ohio Farm Relief. You’ve met the farmer we’re helping out with this event, now meet our co-host, Steve Seabury, who creates award-winning hot sauce… when he’s not too busy rocking out with the likes of heavy metal artists Iron Maiden and Whitechapel, that is. He also explains how “getting the morning burn” doesn’t require a treadmill. We asked Steve about his various (and varied) business interests.
So, how exactly does one go from heavy metal record producer (and bass player) to hot sauce?
When I was in college playing in bands, I was on a very limited budget. I would have to buy cheap food like Taco Bell to survive. I just couldn’t handle their sauces. They weren’t hot and they just didn’t taste good. I started making my own sauces, and the next thing you knew Taco Bell tasted like 5-star food.
What is the first spicy food you remember tasting?
I remember when I was in Boy Scouts a bunch of us had a dare to eat some hot peppers. Some of them chickened out but I grabbed a bunch and just ate them. They were so tasty! Nothing like getting the burn to start the day.
High River Sauces has only been around for a year. You won five Hot Pepper Awards your first year in business. To what do you attribute this quick success? What was most surprising about your first year in the Hot Sauce business?
When I received the email saying I won five Hot Pepper Awards I almost spilled my coffee on my lap. My jaw hit the ground. Winning the “Best Hot Sauce of 2011” and “Hot Sauce Company of The Year” has been incredible for High River. People are talking about us and the orders are flying out. I just work super hard and occupy my office. Word of mouth and non-stop work have been our small success so far.
We love pairing beer with everything (as you can imagine). What kinds of beer do you think goes best with hot sauce and does it vary dependent on just how hot that hot sauce is?
I love beer, and I love fiery foods. Personally I like a lighter beer to go with the super hot sauces. It doesn’t mask the taste of the pepper, and it kinda helps with cooling it down a little. When I eat Habanero Pepper based sauces, for example, I really enjoy the taste of Blue Moon. The flavor of the beer really compliments the fruity flavor of the pepper. A great combo! Kinda like chocolate and peanut butter.
Your cookbook, Mosh Potatoes, is a compilation of various hard rockers’ (Dizzy Reed, Guns and Roses; Blaze Bayley, Iron Maiden; many many others) recipes, along side anecdotes of rocking hard. When did you first realize that kick ass rock was such a fertile ground for foodies? What was your impetus for writing the book?
Through the years of working in the music industry, I have had an opportunity to work with some amazing bands and artist. We always spoke about music, sports and food. All of these bands get to travel the world and experience the different cultures and their cuisine. One night stumbling home, I was so hungry. I was looking through my fridge and couldn’t find anything except some leftovers, ketchup and eggs. I said to myself, “What would Lemmy (Motorhead) do in this situation?” The next day I emailed his manager and got a recipe. Word spread and five years later Simon & Schuster called me up and said they wanted to release my cookbook. It’s been a lot of fun and I have raised a bunch of money for the Meals on Wheels charity. It a good feeling.
With so many irons in the fire, do you find it difficult to juggle all your various business ventures?
I don’t get much sleep that is for sure. I have a strong work ethic, and I believe that the harder you work the more you should be rewarded. I am going to keep the peddle to the floor, and I hope one day it will all work out.
What’s your favorite among the hot sauces you make?
I am a big fan of grilling all season. My Hellacious Hot Sauce is that perfect savory hot sauce for all things that go “Moo.” It just makes my burgers and steak taste heavenly.
Where do you see the future of hot sauce in general and High River Sauces in specific?
I see it growing. People are digging the spicier things in life. It’s becoming mainstream now, and I hope High River Sauces can take advantage and jump on the wave. It seems like everyone is making a spicy food product now. I hope one day my line grows and becomes a staple for everyone’s grilling needs.
Anything else you’d like to add…
Thank you for the time and support of us little artisan sauce companies. It means a lot and I am looking forward to spending time with you guys this weekend. Beers Up! This Saturday’s event is going to ROCK!!!