While living in Germany, this fun couple found a way to add some extra spice
to their life: by making their own hot sauce at home!

THE BACKSTORY: Patrick Tolbert (left) and his wife Tanja were both fans of Louisiana-style hot sauce, but while they lived in Germany (where he was employed as a naval technician) it was very difficult to obtain. So they studied the label and decided to try their hand at making their own. It turned out better than the original, and friends and family members liked it too.

“All of sudden we had sold 300 or 400 bottles and realized we had a viable business,” Patrick recounted recently. The two eventually created additional products: a rich, dark whiskey glaze (made with local Axe and Oak whiskey), barbecue sauce and a new hot sauce made exclusively with Pueblo chiles. (You can find them all at Ranch Foods Direct!)

COOKING RECOMMENDATIONS: “I always say I brought back what I loved the best about Germany,” Patrick says of his wife, Tanja, (right) a phenomenal home cook of Italian-Austrian heritage. Her exotic European specialties include things like geschnetzeltes, a sauce made from beef and pork gravy along with mushrooms and cream and served over handmade German egg noodles. (“It’s just so amazing,” Patrick swoons.) She spices up many of her dishes with their hot sauces. (Try some pasta Diablo-style by adding a few shakes of their sauce to hot cooked pasta. Meanwhile, their Pueblo Gold sauce, made with Pueblo chiles from the Arkansas Valley, is most popular on sandwiches or eggs.) Tanja’s personal favorite is the whiskey glaze, served with steak or salmon. (The product won second in a worldwide steak sauce contest they entered last year, edged out narrowly by an entry from South Africa.) They suggest preparing steak without seasoning and serving the whiskey glaze for dipping on the side. Tanja also recommends using it to add flavor to Asian stir fry. (Add it to the pan at the end of the cooking time, after most of the water from the vegetables has already cooked off.)

ON RFD: “We eat very clean, high quality organic products, and that’s how we found Ranch Foods Direct,” Patrick says. “It’s a wonderful company, and we love it. We never make any money selling our product here, because whenever we make a delivery, we always walk out with lots of meat (usually top sirloin, rib-eyes and New York strips) cheese, eggs and ice cream! The ground beef makes the best Kobe beef sliders on the planet!”

Read more about their business and their products at SmokBrand.com.

For a great Father’s Day gift, grab a bottle of Smok Whiskey Glaze and add a few good steaks (or a box of steaks!) $6.99 per bottle.