At Lucifer’s House of Heat, rows of colourful hot sauce bottles line up the shelves. The room — spacious, bright, and with a cute little Fido trotting around — seems quite cheerful, until you read the names on the bottles.
Blair’s Controlled Death, Black Mamba Extreme Venomous, CaJohn’s Angry Cock, Ass Kickin’ Ghost Pepper, and Karma Sauce Burn After Eating are some of the sauces that the store has stocked up since its opening in March.
The Queensborough Landing store is the company's second location; the first and only other is on Denman Street in Vancouver.
The hottest sauce in the new store is Hellfire Doomed, pointed out Andrew Betteridge, the founder of Lucifer's House of Heat.
“It is horrible,” he said, referring to the sauce’s heat level. A close second is probably Da’Bomb. “I've only eaten it twice; I had a full chicken wing with the sauce on it. I won't ever eat it again.”
Yet another person who had come in and tried the tiniest amount of it had to take several swigs of water to diffuse the heat, he added. While this reporter had plans to try the hot concoction, much like chefs Aaron Sanchez and Roger Mooking on Heat Seekers, Bitteridge’s warning quashed such adventurous thoughts. Instead, I settled for the three best-selling ones at the store.
Sampling the most popular hot sauces at Lucifer’s House of Heat
At the centre of the store is a tasting island, where customers can try out samples to decide their pick.
“Heartbeat pineapple is number 1 (best-selling one). It's a pineapple habanero… super fresh tasting,” said Betteridge, handing out a sample. The sauce had a sweet fruity flavour that gave way to a sharp peppery taste, with some hoppiness kicking in from the IPA that’s in it.
This was followed by Dirty Dick’s Caribbean Dreams Hot Pepper Sauce.
“It’s not super hot, just medium heat,” said Betteridge, extending a spoonful to try. A tiny bit was enough to register the mustard, spices, honey and a confusing mix of fruits in it.
For the last tasting sample, Betteridge suggested Smokin’ Dragon Smoked Habanero and Peach, which is made by Smoke on the Water BBQ Shack in Gibsons — about two hours away from the store. This sauce delivers all that’s on its title; the taste of smoked habanero and peach hits you like a well-intended punch.
Besides the large selection of hot sauces, there are ghost chilli and Carolina Reaper powders for those who are brave enough to try. The latest addition that Betteridge is visibly pumped about are the bottles of Los Calientes and The Last Dab Apollo from Hot Ones — a hot sauce brand that's also a popular talk show where celebrities are interviewed while noshing on spicy chicken wings.
The products are sourced from small businesses both locally from around B.C. (like Sriracha Revolver, Mum’s Okanagan Sauce, etc.), and internationally from the U.S. (through a supplier in New Jersey).
Betteridge started the hot sauce business in October 2019, and surprisingly saw a spike in online sales during the pandemic. There is not much competition in the area, he admitted.
“It’s a very niche market,” he said.
There is one other hot sauce store in Ottawa, and one in Alberta — those are the only major competitors.
The Queensborough store has been performing better than its branch in Vancouver. But, said Betteridge, “I am impatient. I like to see things grow faster.” Turns out, the hot sauce business owner just can’t wait for his store to be the next hot stuff.
You can find Lucifer's House of Heat at Queensborough Landing, 120-805 Boyd St.
Want a taste? Tasting event coming to Vancouver June 27
The store is organizing a tasting event at Hook Cantina in Vancouver, on June 27. Tickets are available on Lucifer's House of Heat website for $25 per person.