In my quest for the best New Jersey hot sauces, I was surprised how many are originating here at the shore, which is the main topic of our blog! And Sea Isle City is the best example of a flavorful Jersey Shore experience (and I mean the real Jersey Shore!). Hailing from SIC is Hank Sauce, with a line of versatile, easy sauces, distinguishing themselves with very strong flavors.
They are all made with cayenne peppers (except for Hanks Heat which also has some habaneros), and as a whole line, they were my wife’s favorite (gotta respect that since she’s the main cook in the family). So here’s an overview of the Hank sauces:
- Herb-Infused is the original Hank Sauce. It’s a very light and easy sauce, that pretty much goes with everything. It would add just a little kick, without overpowering the dish, and they recommend it to be used instead of ketchup, with everything, like soups, burgers, fries, chicken, etc.
- Cilanktro: As the names says, it has a strong cilantro flavor, which makes it perfect for Mexican food. It’s also a mild sauce and it was my personal favorite, maybe because I love tacos, burritos, enchiladas and so on.
- Camouflage: I loved this one too. It has slightly more bite, but still with a nice sweeter flavor. Would be my favorite with meats, whether it is barbeque, pulled pork or wings. It also won 2nd place in the Medium Sauce category at our #HotNJ competition.
- Hanks Heat is their hottest sauce. It’s more of a strong medium, a great combination of medium heat and flavor. I liked it a lot since it doesn’t overpower the food, just adds spice to it.
We spoke with one of the company’s founders, Matt Pittaluga, about how he, Hank and Josh first started the hot sauce business:
“Hank was making the sauces for personal use until we were in college and decided to start bottling up the goodness. I was a graphic design student and suggested bottling it up for my packaging and design project.”
This was back in the day, when they were roommates at Flagler College in St. Augustine, FL. So how did they end up at the Jersey Shore?
“We grew up here at the shore and wanted to launch our company from here for many reasons. We wanted to associate our product with a maritime life style and doing so from the salty shores of southern New Jersey just felt right! Plus we wanted the advantage of having the entire Northeast in our backyard.”
They grow a lot of their own peppers in the summer, they have a large garden out in Dennis Twp offshore from Sea Isle, but they also source peppers from wherever they can during other seasons. You can find Hank Sauces at many local stores including The Lobster House, Lucky Bones, Mikes Seafood, Ricks Seafood, Heritage Surf Shops, and a bunch of others (check out the store locator).
And compared to other sauciers we have reviewed, Hank Sauce has its own restaurant, located at 8605 Landis Ave in Sea Isle City! They have everything from huge burgers and fresh seafood to loaded tacos and from-scratch soups, all complemented with your choice of their sauces!
If you’re looking to rent a house at the shore, check out ShoreVacations.com, Jersey Shore’s biggest vacation rentals resource. It lists hundreds of rental homes and condos from Sandy Hook all the way down to Cape May (including Belmar, Point Pleasant, Seaside Heights, Ocean City, Long Beach Island, Atlantic City or the Wildwoods). It’s a one-stop website for planning your Jersey Shore vacation, featuring beach information, weather updates and more! And of course, it has a full list of all the Jersey Shore events this year.