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Culinary Spotlight: Off The Deck Hot Sauce And Flannel Fizz

Photos Provided By Off The Deck

Though the delicate taste buds of our region are often made fun of (no, ketchup is not spicy), I know there are many of us that find joy dipping into the complex flavors and adventurous world of heat. I will admit, I was not always on the spice train. I grew up eating lots of foods baked in cream-of-whatever-soup but thankfully the folks at Off The Deck Hot Sauce have helped me stretch my spice loving wings.

Off the Deck is a local ‘pepper first’ hot sauce company started right here in Fargo. This means you can find a range of sauces from hot to really hot (as in sweat beads off your forehead before it even hits your lips). The founders of Off The Deck Hot Sauce, Jeremiah and Rachel Utecht, take great care and pride in creating products that are not only incredibly versatile in their culinary uses, but also very thoughtfully designed, from the flavors in the bottle to the crisp label wrapping around it.

In 2015, Off The Deck Hot Sauce launched their fermented sauces at local farmers markets. What started as a couple of pounds of habanero peppers and a deep dive into food fermentation led to the array of hot sauces you can now find on local store shelves throughout the area, featured at various restaurants and for sale every Saturday of the Red River Market.

The Utechts amaze me with their dedication to their brand and mission. Their innovation goes beyond the flavor profiles of their products. A true emphasis is put on locally sourced ingredients with 100 percent of the chili peppers used in their hot sauce being grown within 50 miles of the FM area! That, my friends, is no small feat. Being a zero-waste company is no easy task but these two creatively make use of their hand-selected ingredients to bring other products to the market such as zug-zug, spreadable hot sauce, rhubarb butter and more, so that their food waste is at an absolute minimum.

Rachel and Jeremiah are some of the most dedicated business owners I have ever met. They work endless hours, on top of their full-time jobs, to share their love for crafting high quality, small-batch products. You can catch their late-night post-production videos online where they share what they’ve been up to and you get a glimpse of partners in life and business, building their story.

Does thinking about hot sauce make you sweat? No worries. The Utechts have got you covered with their other delightful business, Flannel Fizz. Curating freshly made sodas while focusing on locally sourced, quality ingredients. Their sodas are creative takes on your classic flavors, plus combinations that you may never think of but meld perfectly in the world of refreshing, bubbly beverages. Thirsty? You can find Flannel Fizz at the Red River Market and soon to be on tap in local breweries.

Back in the day, two photographers met. They ended up getting married and made Fargo their home. They decided to start a fermented hot sauce business together and one new year’s eve, they added a craft soda business into the mix. Through the support of their wonderful local-focused customers, a grand community of farmers, business collaborations and their unending drive, we are the fortunate recipients of their creative endeavors and look forward to seeing what other fantastic and thoughtful things they have in the works.

  • Sprinkle some on your eggs or a dash in your hollandaise sauce
  • Eat it straight up with some chips!
  • Add to your alfredo sauce for a little extra something
  • Brew into your next batch of beer or cider
  • Kick up your Tzatziki game
  • Gift a bottle to a friend
  • Stir into your soup to kick it up a notch
  • Add to marinade or rub on meat before smoking
  • Blend with your favorite condiment (make ketchup actually spicy!)
  • Step up your stir fry game with a dash…or two or three

Nolan Schmidt

Written by Nolan Schmidt

Nolan is the Co-Editor of Fargo Monthly. Schmidt is also the Editor of Spotlight Media's Bison Illustrated publication. He is originally from Bismarck, N.D. and is a proud graduate of Minnesota State University Moorhead.

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