As a quick rush of heat touches your mouth, you find yourself enticed and wanting more. Homero Gonzalez, creator of the Harmacy Hot Sauce Co. and Tennessee Tech student, has found a way to add to the beauty of incorporating whole ingredients while also completely altering the food experience.
Gonzalez was inspired to specifically create his own hot sauce. He had a friend who introduced him to a variety of hot sauces that he thought were amazing in themselves and knew he had to have more. While many would simply buy these sauces, Gonzalez decided to take his cooking knowledge and a bit of creativity to the kitchen.
“Thinking about it more, as much as I liked that sauce, I realized I can tweak it to exactly the flavor profile that I want. So that was my beginning point. And in 2018, I took a picture of an ingredients list and I winged a recipe, and I’ve been fixing it up ever since,” Gonzalez said.
Gonzalez’ enthusiasm and commitment have changed the game of typical hot sauces. While there are many hot sauce products available in supermarkets across the country, Gonzalez has recreated this popular condiment by creating unique flavors.
His passion for food began around the age of 14, when he began cooking at home with his father and then eventually for his friends, as he got older.
In 2018, Brimstone Rimjob, his sauce that has deep roasted flavors and earthy Mediterranean and Middle Eastern spices, was created by accident. Ironically, this accident began the success of Harmacy Hot Sauce Co.
“In 2018, I went to CalfKiller Brewery with a couple of friends, and one of the Sergio brothers, Don, also really liked spicy food. Like five minutes later, he came back with a gallon sized bag full of different peppers from a tote,” Gonzalez said when asked about the hottest batch of hot sauce he had made.
The tote contained Thai chilies, habaneros, Peter peppers, Cayenne and a variety of other peppers. The sauce would soon be too hot to handle, and required other ingredients to make a milder flavor.
Gonzalez explained the flavor as, “blinding searing pain. I couldn’t hear.” As he stumbled around trying to figure out a new way to make the heat come down, he grabbed tomatoes and plum jam. The heat was still sweltering and time was ticking slowly as he was in a “hot sauce haze.” The key ingredient that perfected the sauce and added the needed balance was the addition of tahini.
“Tahini is the sesame as peanut butter is to peanuts,” Gonzalez said. This adds a unique flavor element to the hot sauce.
The second hot sauce flavor Gonzalez makes is called Cinco. His original inspiration for this sauce comes from the show “Hot Ones,” a show known for inviting celebrities to be interviewed while challenging them to eat wings drenched in hot sauce as heat levels dramatically increase as the show progresses. Cinco, which is based specifically off of the Hot Ones ‘Los Calientes’ hot sauce, has bright citrus and Caribbean flavors, with a smoky touch and a green twinge. It has a nice medium heat level for those who like a bit of heat in their bite.
One key feature that sets Gonzalez apart from other brands is his ingredients. Many of his ingredients are local, and he will soon be using peppers straight from his own garden.
“I’ve actually got my garden coming in. I’ll be growing some super hot peppers. When that is in full swing, I will have turned to Moruga scorpions, Carolina Reapers, and ghost peppers – hot ones. I’ll have, like, the Omega line. Those are for the real heat heads out there. That’ll be a fun one too. You know, people like to do the challenges,” Gonzalez said.
He has no plans of stopping with his two current sauces, Brimstone Rimjob and Cinco. As his garden flourishes, so will his next creations as his Harmacy Hot Sauce Co. line continues to grow providing more opportunities to experience his unique blends.
Harmacy Hot Sauce Co. products can be purchased at his online shop at www.harmacyhotsauce.com. In addition to his website, Gonzalez can also be found on Facebook and Instagram.