It was freaking delicious!
we both lost.
Danger Berry - like a strawberry lollipop on FIRE!
So good. So weird.
January 2021. We needed another banger to compliment the award winning Surfer Slappin! Sauce. The people spoke, and they told us to get weird and spicy. Chef O’Rourke began boiling, whisking, and blending an array of peppers and fruits. Much akin to a glad scientist in an aromatic laboratory. Iteration number one included four berries of the blue, rasp, straw, and black varities. We had habanero in mind, and plenty in the garden to experiment with, so we picked, seeded, and mashed them up to add hot smoky goodness to the four berry banger. What came of this concoction was a muddled mess of incoherent berry overload. But not for long...
At once, but also after many more mixed berry madness, the chef’s intuition allowed him to narrow down the nonsense, and pair the habanero peppers with strawberries exclusively. I remember the evening we brought three versions of the newness to The Dive Bar & Grill in Carolina Beach to let our hot sauce loving freak friends provide some feedback. Oh what a night. Late February back in twenty one. What a very special time for we. As i remember, what a night. The yet to be named hot sauce was too thin and sad. The strawberry wasn’t prevalent enough. The color was just a bit off. Points taken. We added applesauce to mix, and therein lies the jammy consistency that this masterpiece holds today. A sexy dark red sauce with a very berry burn emerged as a clear cut winner in the kitchen.
We needed a name. Sean Sauce was an early forerunner, but eventually gave way to ideas such as Angry Berry, The Strawpocalypse, Berry Burner, Strawbanero Sauce, Hababerry, Strawberry Hurtcake, and other silliness. Legend has it both Brian & Chef O’Rourke both said Danger Berry simultaneously, and the bromance magic in their eyes grew three times stronger that day. Danger Berry Strawberry Habanero Hot Sauce had a recipe and a name.
She needed a label worthy of the flavor fumes inside. And finally, Brian was able to help. For he was only needed prior to this as a taste tester, and general counsel. Using a twenty two year old version of Photshop, and the wee hours of the morning, a bright red strawberry centric label began to take shape. We set strawberries and skulls on fire. We threw flames on the nutrition label, and smoke rising from the Danger Berry font. We made up an arbitrary heat scale that only we were privy to. A habanero fused strawberry image won out, and we wanted a green shrink wrap top to imitate the likes of a strawberry leaf. Several miscommunications later we ended up with a black top bottle, but the berry hot bravado inside remained delicious.
Today, Danger Berry boasts a strawberry skull label with a bright green shrink wrap, and a truly unique flavor burn. Initially thought of as a wing sauce, the pure sweetness, fruitiness, and jamminess of the sauce led to numerous food pairings we never imagined possible. Good friends swear by Danger Berry on pancakes & waffles. True enemies of ours cannot have a strawberry margarita without rimming the glass with Danger Berry & salt whilst adding the hot sauce in to the margarita mix. I’ve personally found cheesecake as my favorite yum yum to drizzle the danger on. Sean prefers his mixed into cream cheese and on a breakfast bagel.
Fast forward to the word is out about Danger Berry. We now collaborate with DrumTrout Brewing on a Danger Berry Blonde Ale, and with Boombalatis Homemade Ice Cream on a Danger Berry strawberry ice cream. In addition, Block Taco concocted a Danger Berry chicken taco that was loved by all. This hot sauce won the Bronze Medal at the SIAL International Food Show for an innovative product, and took runner up in the North Carolina Specialty Foods Association “Best in Taste” contest. In September 2023, Danger Berry won 1st place at the Pinehurst Barbecue Festival!
What’s next? We’re thinking Danger Berry pineapple pizza, a specialty cocktail with a lucky bar downtown, and possibly a spicy donut collab with a local donut shop. We’d love your input as well, so hit us up with your ideas for the next Danger Berry takeover. Stay saucy, my friends.
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