The burning truth about hot sauce

When you hear ‘hot sauce’ do you automatically think ‘burn in the mouth death sauce’? If so, cool it.

Five Aussie friends, who have known each other for 25 years, are in the biz of making four hot sauces that focus more on flavour than heat. And the De Arbol variety has just ranked number one in the country by Good Food Australia. Now that’s cool. Or is that hot?

Handsome Devils Co. was formed in Bronte in 2013 by Ryan Brown, Ian Nicholas, Stuart Miller, Mark Vicol, and Shannon Douglas, who have each spent time travelling in the US where they found a new food passion—Mexican cuisine.

Once home their taste buds wouldn’t give up. They wanted more, but the friends—despite all effort—couldn’t find hot sauces here that tasted anything like what they discovered overseas. The solution? Make their own.

While it all started mucking about in the kitchen, it wasn’t long before the seed of a company was planted and the first variety under development.

Co-founder and sauce creator Ryan says all four sauces in the range are made without compromise. No preservatives. No additives. No colours. No thickeners.

‘They’re all created using ingredients sourced from Port Macquarie and surrounds,’ says Ryan. ‘Only some chillies come from Mexico, because they’re not available here.’

The most popular is the sweet and smoky Chipotle, made with a secret and mysterious mix of spices. It’s a great replacement for a barbeque sauce. The De Arbol is more traditional and made with two kinds of chillies. The Verde (the mildest of the four) is tangy, herby and zesty and great with salads. The Savina is fruity, combining chilli, mango and coriander.

So how truly versatile are these sauces?

Ryan says very versatile and with both savoury and sweet dishes. The chipotle, for example, is great with lamb stew or a burnt brussel sprout salad. The De Arbol is superb with chicken jambalaya. For sweets, the Savina works a treat for raw apricot and goji berry balls and the Chipolte for brownies or a decadent cacao tart (the recipe for which was created for The Handsome Devils by Miss Lilly’s Kitchen, Sydney).

The Handsome Devils Co. hot sauces are available online or through heaps of places in Sydney and surrounds. What are you waiting for? Head to for a list.