Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Bottles of the Honey Badger habanero barbecue sauce, photographed at Crissy Field in San Francisco, Monday, May 20, 2013. Leigh Zalusky, Chris Glaister and Paul Lees, who are wind turbine engineers by day, came up with the idea for a Kickstarter campaign for BBQ sauce after watching an Internet video spoof of the honey badger. (D. Ross Cameron/Bay Area News Group)
Barbecue sauce? Honey badger don’t care
First Published May 29 2013 11:10 am • Last Updated May 29 2013 11:10 am

Paul Lees and Chris Glaister didn’t eat much barbecue growing up in rainy England.

"If you have a barbecue in England," Lees says, "it means some poor chef is getting very wet."

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

But that all changed when the duo ended up in California and met Leigh Zalusky, 29, whose family owns a house on Clear Lake. The friends spent the summer of 2011 on that lakeside deck, experimenting with a smoker and creating their own barbecue sauce, after becoming disenchanted with what they found on store shelves.

Now the trio — a product designer and two wind turbine engineers — have become barbecue sauce entrepreneurs, raising nearly $50,000 through Kickstarter to produce a sweet-and-spicy blend they’ve dubbed Cobra Strength Honey Badger BBQ Sauce.

They blasted through more than a dozen iterations before settling on the final recipe, a blend of honey, habaneros, vinegar and tomato -- perfect for slathering on anything from the grill or smoker, be it wild boar or burgers. They also use the sauce in spicy little meatballs called Badger Balls. And just about everything else. Honey badger, as the viral video tells us, don’t care.

"I eat it on anything," says Lees, 33. "I make a fried egg sandwich, and it gets Honey Badger BBQ Sauce."

After the sauce was a hit with friends, the young men ran with the idea, conceiving a bottle shaped like the aggressive little honey badger popularized in a YouTube video. When the joking turned serious, they used Kickstarter to raise funds.

"It was driven by the idea of having this great sauce that really kicks your ass," says Glaister, 34. "What more could it deserve than a honey badger-shaped bottle?"

They spent months designing a honey badger bottle compatible with a manufacturing line. They perfected the production-scale recipe, phasing out high fructose corn syrup and sodium benzoate. But they hit a roadblock in January when their first production batch was withdrawn because mold was discovered in some bottles.

Honey badger clearly doesn’t care for mold, and a second, successful production run was completed in April. The next step is getting the sauce onto local store shelves. For now, you can buy the sauce directly from their website, www.honeybadgersauce.com, for $6.99, along with a limited-run, face-melting and wallet-draining Triple Cobra Strength Sauce, which costs $60. They’re planning a slightly less spicy Double Cobra Strength version, along with a hot sauce down the road.


story continues below
story continues below

In the meantime, keep an eye out for these guys, who pop up for impromptu barbecues at public parks and outdoor events, such as San Francisco’s recent Bring Your Own Big Wheel race.

"That’s the kind of thing we’re trying to put out there: Go out and have a great time," Lees says. "That’s what a honey badger does."



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Login to the Electronic Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.