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Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Best Hot Sauce for Italian Food

Even the most ardent of Chileheads hesitates to juice up a classic Italian dish like a fabulous lasagna or a great veal parmesan with hot sauce. Often, the hot sauce fights the oregano, basil, or rich tomato base of the dish. Trust Spicy Food Guy when he says cayenne and scotch bonnet pepper based hot sauces simply don't work.

Likewise, a strong garlic hot sauce can simply over flavor an Italian dish, and a sauce that is too hot overpowers and masks the Italian flavor.

Spicy Food Guy has searched the nooks and crannies of the hot sauce world looking for the elixir that can both enhance and add heat to a great plate of spaghetti.

So pleased as punch was Spicy Food Guy when he discovered "Sheriff Jim Taylor's All Natural Garlic and Herb Hot Sauce" that professes to "add zest to any Italian dish." And Spicy Food Guy is here to testify that Sheriff Jim Taylor tells no lies: his hot sauce is indeed the perfect complement to a penne and bolognese entree. Not overly hot, nice touches of garlic and basil and oregano without being overbearing. It has a slight saltiness and vinegar that really works with marinara.

But there are some mysteries.

First, just who was Sheriff Taylor and what was his role in hot sauce development? We know from the bottle that "Sheriff Jim Taylor was the true and real sheriff of Surry County North Carolina in the 1960s and 1970s and lived in Mount Airy, North Carolina."

That's it. That's all we know. There are no references to how the Sheriff of Surry County came to be associated with a hot sauce, either on the label or on the Internet. Did he wake one night in the midst of an epiphany filled dream and yell "Tabasco peppers with Italian herbs, that's the secret to the elixir?" Spicy Food Guy does not know.

Second mystery? Sheriff Taylor's hot sauces are not widely available. Google searches turn up only "The Rustic Barn" as the venue to order Sheriff Taylor's products. And even more mysterious, the Garlic and Herb hot sauce is not one of the products available to order.

Which brings Spicy Food Guy to his third and final mystery: just how in the hell did SFG end up with this particular hot sauce in his collection? Spicy Food Guy has no earthly idea. Did he get it in a North Carolina airport? Possibly. Or at Zestfest 2007 or 2008? Maybe. But he doesn't really know. Not at all.

Spicy Food Guy suspects it was smuggled into his collection by Elves. It is the season, after all. And Spicy Food Guy has been soooo nice as of late. And full. Lasagna with Sheriff Jim Taylor Hot Sauce. You heard it here.


  1. My guess from looking at the website is that they private label the sauce. You might be able to find out more info if you call or email them at the Rustic Barn.

  2. You got it at the NC airport. I got a bottle there once and it was awesome. I have been looking for it ever since.

  3. I too have been looking for Sheriff Taylor's Cherry Preserves since 2001. At that time I had purchased some at a store in Cashiers NC (and, of course, did not remember the store name) and they were DIVINE. So happy to find the Rustic Barn!

  4. If you want any of the Sheriff Jim Taylor Sauces, Jams, Jellies, Preserves, etc., they could be found at the store that is run by his widow in Oak Island, NC. The name of the store is Burlington Outlet, 5817 E Oak Island Dr., Oak Island, NC 28465, 910-278-3442. Her name is Faye.

    Jim Taylor was the Sheriff of Surry County, NC from 1966-1974, elected for two terms. He was, at the time of his election, the youngest Sheriff in North Carolina at the time at the age of 29. He died in 2001. He also published a book of stories from when he was Sheriff, entitled 'Truths, Half-Truths, and Tall Tales' and can be found through Faye's store, or on

  5. I called 910-278-3442 and got someone who said they were not available. The only thing she would say is, "Jim Taylor died a long time ago!" I remember buying his stuff at one of the NC airports. Smoking Gun was my favourite!

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  7. What the heck is "erotic celebrity stories" on this website?! What does that crap have to do with hot sauces?! Well, I guess someone(?) thinks it does. Anyway, whoever monitors this website (?), it'd be nice if you pay THE F@#$ ATTENTION to people who post things here.

  8. After an extensive search for Sheriff Taylor Products and about a dozen dead-end phone numbers, it appears Sheriff Taylor Products have dropped off the face of the earth. I used to buy his "Devil's Breath 3 Pepper Lemon Hot Sauce" by the case. Last contact I had with his family, at which I ordered a case, was 2009 I think. The phone number I called, which I think was to the family residence, was re-assigned to someone else. The guy who answered said he gets calls about it but he knows nothing about the product nor the family. I'm guessing the family gave up the business and "MAY" have sold the recipes to some other entity who may have re-branded them to another name. A recommendation I got from a gal at Rustic Barn was to try "Virginia Brand 3 Pepper Lemon Hot Sauce" through "". However, I couldn't find that particular name of hot sauce on Firegirl's site. Sheriff Taylor Products were the absolute best. It's sad the business ceased to exist.

    1. Talked to Sheriff Taylor in 96. He sent me an autographed picture of him and Sheriff Andy. The garlic and herb is the best. Gonna try and start my own sauce based off of his sauces.

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