iBurn: The Best Little Hot Sauce Shop in Texas ... Or Any Other State

Categories: Grocery Guide

iburn.jpg
Photos by John Kiely
If you've heard of a hot sauce, iBurn probably has it.

I can handle the regular hot stuff. For years I ate fiery green and red chilis in New Mexico, where a TV reporter, Lilia Chacon, once declared, "Pain is a flavor." After a stint in Belize, I added the original habanero sauce, Marie Sharp's, to the small hot sauce library in my refrigerator door.

Habaneros are just hot enough for me, so when I spotted iBurn, the new hot sauce emporium on Bellaire Blvd., next to Little Woodrow's and the railroad tracks, I stopped in to find a new flavor, rather than to amp up my dosage of capsaicin, the component responsible for that pleasant chili buzz.

It was definitely the right place. Owners James Wreck, Amy Beck, and Duane Langshaw have a shop that's the best of fiery food shows, founded on their years of experience with the Eat More Heat website, and their new spinoff, iBurn.com. "There's anywhere from 2,500 to 5,000 fiery-food purveyors," said Wreck. "I've tried over 2,000 of them, and we've picked the products we found to be the best."

duanehot2.jpg
Duane Langshaw recommends the Secret Weapon rub before smoking a brisket.

iBurn has 800 hot sauces, BBQ rubs, condiments, salsas, Bloody Mary mixes, and snacks. A few are grocery store sauces -- at grocery store prices, remarkably -- but most of the selections can be found only here or online, with names like Da Bomb, I Dare Ya Stupit, and Volcanic, and the chili peppers are from every region of Hell. Given that chilis work some of the same nerve receptors that heroin does, there are a lot of potential food-related highs in iBurn.

There's also an adults-only section in the store, behind a beaded curtain, and a waiver must be signed to enter it. This is no gimmick -- the hot sauces inside measure a million or more Scoville Heat Units (the measurement of a pepper's hotness, with the hottest jalapeno being 8,000 SHU), perfect for the imagination of a teenage prankster.

I'm usually eager to find new peppers, but during my recent visit to iBurn I wanted to perk up my usual supermarket fire of Frank's Redhot, Sriracha, Marie Sharp's, and Cholula, so I asked Wreck for his recommendation. "Tabanero is by far our biggest seller," he said. Indeed, he had just restocked a huge shelf of it, which had sold out quickly.

I was hoping to sample it first, but iBurn is awaiting city approval to be allowed to conduct tastings. Maybe it's better that way, because you can ask Wreck what you are looking for and why, and he'll steer you to just the chili and flavor and heat you are seeking.


Location Info

Map

iBurn

4227 Bellaire Blvd, Houston, TX

Category: General


Advertisement

My Voice Nation Help
6 comments
Bruce_Are
Bruce_Are topcommenter

My favorite right now is the Diablo Sauce from Torchy's.

FRL713
FRL713

Sweet!  Hot Sauce Depot has been great to me, but it will be nice to shop and speak with experts in person.

Wade Woodard
Wade Woodard

Hard to beat Marie Sharp's.  The sweetness from the carrots balances perfectly with the heat from the habaneros.  I see iBurn sales the 5oz version online; maybe they have the 10oz bottles in the store.  I order the 10oz mild version by the case.

jeeterbug
jeeterbug

did I miss where it's located exactly?

Mr505
Mr505

@jeeterbug 4227 Bellaire Blvd. is on the western edge of West University Place, at the train tracks.  Look for the mural.

Now Trending

From the Vault

 

Loading...