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4 FM Hot Sauces to Spice Up the Valley

Inspired by the hit YouTube series “Hot Ones,” we worked with some local sauce makers to give you a look into the hottest and tastiest sauces in the FM area! To give you some real feedback on the sauces, we brought in ́some professionals… from our team! Brady, Grant, Gary, Jessica, and Levi bring in a variety of palettes-some spice fanatics and some just foodies. To kick off the sauce-tasting event, we asked each of them how they rank their spice tolerances from 1-10 prior to trying the sauces. Brady: 9, Grant: 4, Gary: 6/7, Jessica: 6.8, Levi: 7. Read to the end to see how shook they were by the local hot sauces that have been heating up the valley!

Big Deck Barbecue Co.

Deliciousness in Simplicity

A classic in a Fargoan’s pantry is Big Deck Barbecue Co.

For as long as co-owner Zach Willis can remember, he has wanted to own his own business, so mixing his passion for cooking and food with this was the obvious choice!

“My father and I started Big Deck Barbecue Co. out of his garage in 2020. My dad always wowed friends and family with his great food and sauces and the downtime we had during COVID gave us the free time to start selling them. We’ve perfected and expanded our product line with simple, well-balanced recipes that people love.”

Where to Buy?

You can find Big Deck Barbeque Co. locally at Hornbachers, Family Fare, Mac’s Hardware, SCHEELS, and online at!

New Look, Same Sauce!

We focused and have re-tooled our packaging to be as user-friendly as possible—we landed on the squeeze bottle with the flip cap [for our barbeque sauces]. We wanted to utilize something that we thought we would like as consumers. We’re also not afraid to push the boundaries with flavors because we know we can make them delicious—we have a peanut butter barbecue sauce and dill pickle mustard. We have some more delicious, unique products coming soon. These things along with our incredible community of Big Deck fans we’ve built set us apart. We market ourselves with transparency and realness that, I think, people relate to and enjoy.”

What is your most popular sauce?

OG Barbecue Sauce or Dill Pickle Mustard

What is your hottest sauce?

Medora Barbecue or Garlic Habanero Hot Sauce

What is your newest sauce?

Dill Pickle Mustard

What is a “secret” or odd ingredient that you use?

“Nothing really—what we hang our hat on is really simple recipes that taste great. We’re not trying to reinvent the wheel or do something that’s never been done before— we’re just trying to make stuff that tastes really good.”

What is one thing that people probably don’t know about your business?

“We started it during COVID while I was still playing football and going to school. I’m now 23 and in my second year of running the entire business”

Fun 3 Facts!

    1. “We started and ran Big Deck Barbecue Co. out of my dad’s garage while I was still going to school & playing football at NDSU.”

    1. “My fiancée Julia & I now own and run the company.”

    1. “My dog Frank is the model on our re-branded label!”



Sauce Reviews!

Garlic Habanero

Inside the bottle:
“Garlic Habanero is made with five ingredients—its simplicity is what makes it so delicious. It’s vinegar, salt, garlic, and peppers—no fancy ingredients, nothing to hide behind, just really tasty hot sauce.”

What to eat it with:
“Pair it with an omelet in the morning, make a buffalo sauce, or top your late-night slice with it—any food is improved with the addition of Garlic Habanero.”

“Well Gary, You were right!”

I’d like people to know that Big Deck is owned by a couple of 23-year-olds who are trying to spread the joy we get from doing what we do. Seeing people enjoy our products is absolutely surreal and makes them feel like family.”

Brady: Not hot, beginning to think I’m the wing champ. The garlic is very pronounced. Very good.

Gary: Amazing. Jalapeño isn’t too present, garlic is great. Good on some eggs I bet.

Levi: Honestly refreshing! Feels like a summer sauce. Pretty garlicky! Al


    • chunky/thick

    • Bold upfront then garlic aftertaste

    • 2.5/10 spice

Grant: Much hotter than the Medora Barbeque Sauce by Big Deck. Heavy on the garlic and moderate on the jalapeño.

Website |
Facebook | /bigdeckbbq
Twitter| @bigdeckbbqco
Instagram | @bigdeckbbqco

Off The Deck Hot Sauce

Worth the Wait

Founded from a deep curiosity about fermentation, Off The Deck Hot Sauce offers spice and flavor for all! The creation of these sauces in 2016 led Rachel and Jeremiah Utecht to a delicious adventure in hot sauce!

“We specialize in fermented hot sauces with an emphasis on ingredients grown right here in the Red River Valley. You can find us at boutiques around the FM area and in some of your favorite local restaurants.”

Did you know?
“We ferment all of our hot sauces and use exclusively locally grown chilies.”

What is your most popular sauce?

Habanero & Scorpion #Hustle Hardest

What is your hottest sauce?

Scorpion #Peaches&Scream

What is your newest sauce?

“We are launching a line of Koji Fermented Hot Sauces in July!”

What is a “secret” or odd ingredient that you use?


Fun 3 Facts!

    1. Jeremiah & Rachel also own the local beverage company, Flannel Fizz Tonic & Soda!

    1. You can taste Off the Deck sauce at Brew Bird in their Fargo Hot & Hot as Cluck sandwiches!

    1. A line of koji-fermented sauces from Off the Deck is coming soon…but what is koji?

Koji is actually a fungus, but a good one! It is a traditional Japanese ingredient used in things like miso, soy sauce, sake, mirin, and more. When used in this sauce fermenting process you are left with a punch of great flavor!

Sauce Reviews!

Scorpion #Peaches&Scream

Habanero & Scorpion #HUSTLE HARDEST

Inside the Bottle:
“This takes the playful fruitiness of the Habanero pepper and pairs it with the quick fire of Scorpion peppers. Blending these peppers amps up this sauce to elevate anything that needs that delicious fast heat.”

What to eat it with:
Instant noodles or even a Bloody Mary will soar to new

Brady: Ace Hood would be proud of this sauce which features a very nice slow burn. NOT for the faint of heart. #HustleHard

Gary: Long burn! Sits on the tongue for a while. Tasty

Levi: Slow burner! Definitely one of the more floral sauces.


    • slow burn

    • light/thin but strong

    • lip burning

    • the hottest 7.4/10 spice

Grant: Spiciest so far. Slow burn that violates the lips. 7/10 spice

We bring limited editions to the Red River Market each year and will be launching a line of Spice Blends this year as well.”


Where to buy?

Head to the Red River Farmers Market, Unglued, Luna Market, Luna Bistro, Mint & Basil, Baker Garden & Gift, and the Red River Harvest Co-Op to find Off The Deck Hot Sauce, as well as to shop!

Sauce & Reviews!

Scorpion #Peaches&Scream

Inside the bottle:
“Scorpion #Peaches&Scream is deliciously intense with a robust heat. The peaches make for a juicy sauce that is smooth and subtly sweet. The peppers bring an incredible fruitiness and a heat that comes on fast and lingers just long enough to ensure you know it’s there before fading away. No tricks here: just so delicious you’ll scream.”

Brady: You can really taste the peach! It’s hot but worth it.

What to eat it with:
“Use it to kick up mac & cheese, pizza, or eggs.”

Gary: Woo. More flavor, more spice.

Levi: Another slow burner! Really sticks around, but has a wonderful flavor. A nice mild fruit flavor.


    • lingers

    • super hot 6.8/10 spice

Grant: This one hurt. 2/10 spice


Website |
Facebook | /OTDHotSauce
Instagram | @OTDHotSauce

Block & Payer Provisions

The new player on the block!

The newest sauce to hit your taste buds comes from Block & Payer Provisions, co-owned by Ethan Block and Troy Payer! The duo had many different business ideas and big plans for the future, but sauce-making was the one they had the most experience with so they ran with it.

“Our business was just launched in March 2023. We have been wanting to start a small business together for a while now and this was an easy step into entrepreneurship for both of us. I have been making hot sauces for several years prior and after receiving extremely positive feedback, it was a no-brainer to start with this. We take our professional cooking experience and apply it to the condiments to bring balance and flavor, in addition to heat.”

What Kind of Sauce?

“Our sauces are fermented for several weeks prior to processing which deepens and enriches the flavor. We aren’t marketing it as novelty hot sauce but rather as an everyday hot sauce. Our top three hot sauces are approachable, not too spicy, and go well with most foods.”

What is your most popular sauce?

Smoky Fresno

Where to buy?

Right now you can purchase Block & Payer Provisions on their website at, as well as at the Red River Farmer’s Market this year. They are hoping to be in a few stores soon!

What is your hottest sauce?

MAUL’s Midwest Death Sauce

What is a “secret” or odd ingredient that you use?

“In our Midwest Death Sauce, we use ‘black garlic,’ an ingredient of East Asian origin. This is garlic that’s been aged over several weeks in a very warm environment turning the white garlic cloves to black through a process like caramelization. This produces a garlic that has a deep, sweet, and rich flavor.”

What is one thing that people probably don’t know about your business?

“Everything is done by hand. From filling the bottles with a ladle to sealing and labeling by hand. It’s both attention to detail and a labor of love.”

Fun 3 Facts!

    1. We both not only work at Mezzaluna, but we produce our hot sauce there as well!”

    1. “Collaborate with Block & Payer! They work with locals to create a sauce for their needs like merch, wedding gifts, a signature house sauce, and more! “

    1. “This business is both Indigenous and queer-owned.”


Sauce & Reviews!

Chokecherry Ghost Pepper

Inside the bottle:
“One of the most interesting sauces… a blend of different spices, dried ghost chilies, and local berries come together to form this hot sauce that’s spicy, but complex in flavor.”

What to eat it with:
“This hot sauce is perfect to pair with wild game meat.”

Brady: My grandpa grew chokecherries on his lake property; I love this sauce which is nice and sweet, you can’t even taste the spice.

Gary: Fruity, delicious, not too spicy, oddly great on wings. (Favorite)

Levi: Really well-balanced! The fruitiness is perfectly complimentary.


    • candy

    • Jolly Rancher

    • Dr. Pepper

    • sweet

    • melted candy 2.7/10 spice

Grant: Actually good flavor. Not too spicy but maybe I’m just numb.

Not only are we a hot sauce company, but we also use the byproducts of our sauces to make chili pastes and spice blends. We also sell other condiments such as mustard. We’re just getting started and will be rolling out plenty of new products over the next year.”


This sauce is a collaboration between Block & Payer and the local death metal band, MAUL !

Sauce Reviews!

MAUL’s Midwest Death Sauce

Inside the bottle:
“Our hottest sauce is made with four different chilies, one of which is in the top three hottest peppers in the world: the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion chili, sitting at just over 2 million Scoville units. In addition to the chilies, we use deep, umami-rich ingredients to make a super flavorful sauce as well as a super spicy sauce.”

What to eat it with:
“If you’re wanting to taste the sauce for itself, the classic chicken wing is best. Of course, pizza is always a great option as well!”

Brady: Awesome sauce, not sure how to describe it but just trust me— it’s good.

Gary: Hard to describe. Complex with layered heat.

Levi: Really smokey, the ancho chili comes through more than anything. In terms of flavor, you could put this on anything savory.


    • smokey

    • salty

    • vinegar 6.3/10 spice

Grant: One of the best. Like a hot barbeque sauce. Would definitely recommend. 8/10 spice

The Ben’s Hot Sauce

Seed to Sauce… To Spice!

It’s fresh, it can be hot, and it’s just good! The Ben’s Hot Sauce offers a large variety of sauces to satisfy the least to most outrageous tastebuds. Opening with a goal of offering flavor-forward sauces with varying heat levels and quality, clean ingredients, this hot sauce will leave you wanting more… or maybe some milk.

“We are a family business located in West Fargo, ND. We started making sauce in 2016 because I was frustrated [while] buying sauces as there was too much heat to taste the difference in flavors. My lovely wife told me to ‘quit your bitchin’ and make your own then!’ So I did. We, of course, had to use fresh ingredients and local farms were sewn up for pepper procurement, so we decided to grow our own. That has now evolved into a family business with expanding fields and products, offering consumers clean produce and a growing line of products.”

Where are these peppers from anyway?

“We are a ‘Seed to Sauce’ company, meaning we grow the majority of our ingredients from seed. This forces us to start growing many plants in December/January, especially the super hots like Brain Strains, Carolina Reapers, and Scorpion Peppers. These plants don’t make it in the ground until the end of May and aren’t ready for harvest until the end of August through the beginning of September. We don’t just make hot sauce. We also have a variety of hot jams, hot honey, pasta sauce, bloody mary mixes, BBQ sauces, and hot candies.”

What is your most popular sauce?

“Dillicious – Everything in this sauce (minus the vinegar) comes from our field and tastes like biting into a medium-spiced dill pickle.”

What is your hottest sauce?

“Super Freak – Scorpion Peppers, Carolina Reapers, and PURE capsaicin, which comes in at a whopping 16 MILLION Scoville units, making this a sauce NOT for the faint of heart!”

What is a “secret” or odd ingredient that you use?

“We use fresh kale and collard greens along with tomatillos and some other awesome fresh ingredients in our ‘Eat Your Greens’ sauce.”

What is one thing that people probably don’t know about your business?

“The peppers we use, along with most of the ingredients are grown by us, ‘From Seed to Sauce’.”

Fun 3 Facts!

    1. “We planted ~1,200 pepper plants and 350+ tomato plants to create our sauces last year, and intend to plant ~1,400 pepper plants and 200 tomatoes this year.”

    1. “We accept the challenge to create diet-specific sauces and custom labeling for special events like weddings!”

    1. “I (Ben the owner) eat at least one pepper from each plant grown to ensure heat and flavor consistency.”

Where to Buy?

Find The Ben’s Hot Sauce at Bottle Barn Liquors off Veterans and 32nd Ave, Sheywest Farmers Market, L akes Area Farmers Market-Detroit Lakes (on Saturdays), and online at! Keep an eye out for The Ben’s at various pop-up markets throughout the region.

Sauce Reviews!

Brain Storm

Inside the Bottle:
“This has some excellent heat! Up front are seven Pot Brain and Yellow Dorsett Naga peppers. They’re joined by garlic, onion, ground mustard, turmeric, and other spices to create a savory delight sure to add a bit of fire to your favorite dish.”

What to eat it with:
“A mustard and turmeric-forward sauce that is great in pasta, on pizza, or my personal favorite, on roasted buttercup or butternut squash! Brush on some butter or olive oil and bake or roast the squash until tender, then slather on some Brain Storm… You’re welcome!”

And he really did.

Brady: I would bathe a wing in this. It’s on the milder end but still had a bit of heat

Gary: Delicious. Full of flavor, not super hot. A good break.

Levi: Incredible flavor, very earthy flavors


    • citrus

    • light

    • cajun

    • delicious 3.5/10 spice

Grant: Long burn/aftertaste 3/10 spice

A Scoville rating Reviews! comes from the Scoville scale, a measurement of heat or spiciness!

Although spice is included in all of our products, they range from mild to extremely spicy. We have a contact form on our website that anyone can fill out for those with special requests or dietary needs, like no garlic or vegan, and we offer free local delivery when ordered from our website.”

Sauce Reviews!

Super Freak

Inside the bottle:
“We added pure capsaicin crystalline to our already hot and delicious blend of Scorpion and Carolina Reaper Peppers to make this a sauce for the adventurer! Pure capsaicin crystalline comes in at a tremendous estimated 16 MILLION Scoville units, making this sauce about the equivalent to eating one of these extraordinarily hot super peppers.”

What to eat it with:
“Wear gloves when using this sauce for wings! Mix in some melted butter for a HOT and buttery experience.”

Brady: Lives up to the name, nose running, burns the lips, eyes watering, temples vibrating, good stuff. Gary: Slow burn, immediate spice, hot tester

Levi: REAL hot. It doesn’t ruin the flavor of the sauce. Lots of really hot sauces tend to be bitter, but not Super Freak.


    • creeper

    • drooling

    • consistent

    • throat burn 7.1/10 spice

Grant: Way too spicy for me. I feel like when Monsters, Inc stole that guy’s scream.

Website |
Facebbok | /thebenshotsauce
Instagram | @thebenshotsauce

Written by Geneva Nodland

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