Sauces save our time and enhance our dishes. The Garden State has no lack of culinary talent that turns locally sourced ingredients into meal-transforming condiments. Some decades-old family businesses make American classics while some young entrepreneurs draw inspiration from the ethnic food they grow up eating. Read on to find some of the most interesting sauce brands with roots in New Jersey.
(Photo credit: @bbq_buddha)
The company, based in New Egypt, New Jersey, has won multiple awards for its Kansas-style barbeque sauces. Founder Ray Sheehan has been running food businesses for over 25 years and is active in food media. BBQ Buddha’s main products include a bright-flavored Memphis Mop (applied during smoking or grilling) and a sweet and smoky barbeque sauce for finish. It also makes rubs and an all-purpose hot sauce. Shoppers can buy the products online, or find them in butchers, restaurants, farmers’ markets, and gourmet stores across New Jersey and New York. Some of the closest ones include Antonio’s Gourmet Salumeria at 7319 Amboy Road in Staten Island, NY, and Modern Propane at 199 Route 46 in Lodi.
(Photo credit: @borntohula52)
The Jersey Shore-based brand makes a huge variety of sauces, salsas, and rubs, but is best known for its hot sauces. Its most famous flavor, and the spiciest, is “Ghost of Anchor,” which has won multiple industry awards. It is made with ancho, habanero, and Bhut Jolokia, one of the hottest peppers in the world. Reviewers report that it has a tasty smokiness and that the spiciness is not overwhelming. Another popular but much less spicy flavor is Cayenne, which is sweeter and good for barbeque meat. The brand is available in major grocery chains, including Whole Foods. The closest Montclair location is at 701 Bloomfield Avenue.
(Photo credit: @chumamichilioil)
Started by a brother-sister team about three years ago, the company makes Chinese-style chili oil that is good for all kinds of Asian and Western dishes. The signature chili oil, based on family recipes, mixes ripe bird’s eye chili pepper with dried shrimps, a quintessential Asian seasoning, and an umami powerhouse. There is also a vegan version that uses black vinegar, which is made with glutinous rice and malt and is extremely potent and fragrant. The brand sources peppers from The Feisty Pepper in Oak Ridge. This product is available online only.
(Photo credit: @hobokenfarms)
The brand was started in the 1990s by a Hoboken native by selling bread and fresh mozzarella in local farmers’ markets, but soon found bigger success with its gourmet marinara sauce. It doesn’t make many flavors (marinara, basil marinara, and vodka, with low sodium variations), but The Wall Street Journal rated its marinara as one of the best in the country. What sets it apart is the rich olive oil content. Shoppers can find it in major grocery chains including Whole Foods, as well as 30 farmers’ markets in New Jersey and Manhattan, including Hoboken Farm’s original spot at the Hoboken Farmers Market.
(Photo credit: @mydadssauce)
The classic tomato sauce uses very simple ingredients (tomato, olive oil, garlic, onion, basil, salt, and pepper) and doesn’t contain added sugar. The founder, Pat Turano, is a veteran of New Jersey’s restaurant scene. He opened his first pizzeria, Casa Turano, in Bloomfield more than thirty years ago (he has since sold it), and went on to open and run many Italian restaurants. The sauce is what he would use in his own dishes. It can be found in various gourmet food shops across the state. Close locations include Organic Basic Food at 204 Washington Street in Hoboken, and Amanti Vino at 30 Church Street in Montclair.
(Photo credit: @sillychillyhotsauce)
The brand makes Bangladeshi-style hot sauces with peppers sourced from the Rutgers University Agriculture Farm. The Bangladesh-born and Queens-raised founder Sofia Hossain began her culinary experiment in her Hoboken kitchen. This eventually led to her leaving the corporate world and running Silly Chilly full time. The brand currently offers three flavors — a fruity Fresh Mango and Sweet Pepper, a smokey Serrano and Chipotle, and a sharp Habanero Super Hot. This product is available online only.
(Photo credit: @thehahtco)
The Englewood-based gourmet brand makes delicious sweet, savory, and spicy condiments and snacks. The signature Habanero Jam mixes a blend of strawberries, apples, and berries and with habaneros, cayenne, and orange liqueur, producing a bright, vibrant taste that matches brilliantly with cheese. Other must-tries include the orange-chipotle syrup dipped nut mix, or the non-dairy creamy spicy cocoa spread. This product is available online only.