Carolina Pepper Works is a family-owned business. After starting our family in upstate New York, we moved to Cary, North Carolina (Containment Area for Relocated Yankees). We found that we missed the various, creative chicken wing sauce flavors found in the bars and restaurants in several of the small cities in New York.
We started grilling chicken wings because grilling added more flavor and the wings were more healthy than fried wings — some of the fat cooks out. After continued trials, I found that smoking the wings on the grill/smoker and then crisping them in an air fryer produces our favorite wing taste and finish. The inside is still moist and the skin is crispy with a smoky flavor.
In parallel, we started experimenting with new sauce flavors complementing the smoked chicken wing flavor. We focused on the Original flavor, with many of our friends providing input and critiques. The Original flavor became our standard. My kids were in college, we always were stocking them up with the sauce to use on foods with their friends. Popularity grew!
My daughter got married in 2018 and she wanted to give a bottle of sauce to all attendees. So I made 150 bottles including 5 different sauce flavors. Positive feedback from the wedding attendees drove us to get serious about making and selling sauce in the marketplace.
Besides chicken wings, our family uses our sauces in soups, wraps, pizzas, and tostadas. Our Original sauce turns the holiday ham and bean soup into a delicacy. The Garlic sauce is a key ingredient in our recipe for Buffalo Chicken Pizza or it can be made on a Tostada shell. We also developed the CPW2 wrap that uses cooked chicken (even leftover chicken) with the Original sauce, lettuce, and some Caesar salad dressing.
Our goal is to provide gourmet craft sauces. We use fermented cayenne pepper as the base of our current sauces. Fermentation is a natural process that produces lactic acid from lactic bacteria. With our sauces having a low pH level (high acidity) we have performed the testing and we have determined that preservatives are not required, so we do not add any.