Roger Damptz is on a mission to spice up your palette. The owner of Burn Your Tongue – SSS (Simply Spicy Stuff), Roger offers more than 700 hot sauce varieties for sale, and he can tell you about every single one. This self-designated chilehead has curated the biggest hot sauce selection in Utah, with current locations in Ogden and Logan, and more on the way.
Roger was first introduced to specialty hot sauce and snack stores (also known as “hot shops” or “hot licks”) in San Diego. On one trip to a local hot lick, Roger ran into the owner, Craig Lerner. “I told him how much I missed his store and that no one was doing this (hot shops) in Utah. He said, ‘Why don’t you?’ I immediately stopped to think, ‘Why don’t I?’”
Within two years, Roger had started a booth at The Quilted Bear in Ogden’s Newgate Mall. “We started with a bookcase and a CD tower in a three-foot booth with under a hundred sauces. Over the years, we’ve grown to 28 feet of shelving, six feet tall. We have Utah’s superior sauce selection and, when fully stocked, carry nearly 700 spicy sauces.”
Today, the selection includes hot sauces from all over the world, with everything from mild garlic to melt-your-face-off sauces that register almost 3 million Scoville units. But for Roger, it’s not just about the heat.
“In addition to having a wide spice and heat range, we focus on finding fantastic flavors,” he explains. “Many people still have a misconception that hot sauces are only novelty items made to burn your tongue off. While those extreme ‘joke’ sauces will always exist, the majority of brands now keep flavor in mind along with the heat.”
Roger finds his sauces from sources like interest groups, awards lists, and hot sauce reviewers. He is also a big advocate for local sauce companies like Grandma Sandino’s, Bear River Bottling, Tonguespank Spice Co., Salsitas Mendoza, Senor Pollo, and more to come. Not only does Roger stock their products, he also spreads the word. He said, “When we moved here, the running joke was that the spiciest thing in Utah was fry sauce. We are working hard to end that joke! Acting as an advocate for spicy food in Utah, we send local Utah sauces out to our network of nationally-respected reviewers to spread the word that there ARE spicy sauces made in Utah.”
If you’re lucky enough to visit one of Burn Your Tongue’s booths while Roger is there, take advantage of his expertise. If you let him know what flavors you like, what heat level you can handle, and what you’re having, he’ll act as your hot sauce sommelier. Every sauce on the shelf is someone’s favorite, so pick a bottle and try it out! Wondering what to put it on? Roger suggests tacos.
What’s next for Burn Your Tongue? Tune in to Good Things Utah on ABC4 on November 5th during the 9am hour to see Roger show off some of his sauces for International Hot Sauce Day. Visit the shops at Quilted Bear in Ogden, Locals in Logan, and beginning November 2021, at Locals in Orem. Follow along @burnyourtongue.
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