Papi Joe’s Award-Winning Sauce



2012 and 2013 and 2014 Weekend Of Fire Winner of “Best Hot Sauce”

In some contests the stiffest competition is oneself. That’s where Joe Paul found himself at the beginning of this year’s Weekend of Fire competition, part of the Largest Fiery Foods Show in the Midwest - staring down an already-achieved milestone in his industry and defending his standing as The Best.

Jungle Jim’s Weekend of Fire in Fairfield, Ohio attracted over 55 saucy artisans from all over the country seeking an opportunity for healthy competition. During the weekend’s show more than 4,000 attendees tasted over 350 sauces and selected their favorite. Guests voted on numerous categories including BBQ Sauce, Salsa, Hot Specialty Products, and Hot Sauce. Papi Joe’s Tennessee Pepper Sauce evidently caught fire in 2012 and 2013 when award the BEST HOT SAUCE Trophies.  Papi Joe's slogan "3-PEAT"  blazed undaunted when 2014’s “Best Hot Sauce Award” landed, once again, squarely in his hot hands.

Back at home in Collierville, Sandy Barrios, owner of Bazaar, A Crazy Little Food Shop at Carriage Crossing, hosted Joe and his prize sauce for sampling along with her gourmet olive oils and balsamic vinegars. “Nearly everyone who tried Papi Joe’s sauce made a purchase on the spot and they continue to come back for more,” Sandy said. “I’ve known Joe for over 25 years and what I know for sure is that he loves what he does. He pours his heart into every homegrown bottle and his customers sensed it from the start. They come back for more of the great taste and some heat time and again.”

Sandy isn’t the only merchant that recognizes the value of a hot product. Papi Joe’s sauce is a staple at numerous other shops all over the country but locals can find it at Bazaar, The Silver Caboose, The Brooks Collection, Dixie Pickers, Upper Level, Don Guns, Miss Cordelia's,  A. Schwabs, Happi Stores,  Copper Fox in Leipers Fork, Tennessee, Visit Knoxville Visitor's Center, Knoxville, TN, The Happy Olive in Fairhope, Alabama   . Sample it from the menus of DeJaVu, Rock n Dough Pizza, Rick’s White Light Diner, Elegant Farmers and Eat Well (New Port, KY), among others. He frequents festivals and farmers markets in his trademark trailer emblazoned with a snapshot of the sauce’s creator, glancing with a knowing smirk as if he knows that you’re about to be smacked in the buds with that fiery after-burn. “Get Sauced,” he’s known to say. Over 500 customers did at the 2013 Germantown Festival in spite of 90+ degree heat and dwindling crowds headed to the nearby University of Memphis Football Game. But then again, word travels fast in the tailgating crowd - and it did.

In 1982, Joe and his wife Kay moved with their 3 children to Collierville. An easy-going, quick-witted, scruffy ball-capped Southern gent, Joe began developing his unique Tennessee pepper sauce in 2008 using home-grown organic peppers and has been successfully selling since 2011. Papi Joe’s business is entirely family owned and operated. He would have it no other way.

“I had no idea the road that laid ahead of me when I sold that first bottle,” said a modest but jovial Joe. “But I must say that a life filled with Spicy Foods is a life well spent.” We hear you, Joe. Now excuse me while I find more sauce.