Bribie sauce a hot favourite at Mr Chilli Awards

Published 12:00pm 5 June 2024

Bribie sauce a hot favourite at Mr Chilli Awards
Words by Ashleigh Howarth

A sauce maker from Bribie Island has continued his winning streak at the prestigious Mr Chilli Awards, coming away with two big wins after impressing the judges at this year’s competition.

Leemet Prits of Australian Buffalo Sauce took home first prize in the Mild Heat Honey category for his Smoked Honey sauce – a creation made through a collaboration with Mr Kilcoy Honey - as well as second prize in the BBQ category for his pineapple-infused Tru Blu BBQ sauce.

Since establishing Australian Buffalo Sauce two years ago, Leemet and his family-run business have won a total of nine awards, including gongs at the Mr Chilli Awards in 2022 and 2023, as well as other various fine food competitions.

"I am extremely happy that my little family business has received so many different trophies,” Leemet says.

“My family believe hot sauce should be more than just heat - it's about bringing out a balanced and harmonious blend of flavours with the perfect level of heat.”

Using only the freshest ingredients sourced from Ningi Quality Fruit Barn, Leemet says “each bottle has been crafted to bring some extra spice to your daily meals”.

“We approached Ross from Ningi Quality Fruit Barn two years ago when we started the business and have been sourcing our ingredients from him ever since,” Leemet says.

The range of sauces from Australian Buffalo Sauce covers a spectrum from mild to wild, and include flavours such as the signature Australian Buffalo Sauce, True Blu BBQ, Smoked Honey, Chillin Pumpkin, Golden Barbeque, Strawberry Dream, Carolina, Habanero Hooligan, The Red Label, and the limited-edition Lemon Drop.

With such a diverse range, Leemet makes upwards of 400 bottles of hot sauce per week which he sells at local markets, as well as his online store.

“I pick up the bottles on Monday, prepare everything on Tuesday, cook all day on Wednesday, and then everyone puts all the labels on by hand on Thursday,” he says.

"We then attend as many local markets as we can between Friday and Sunday to promote our brand and introduce quality Moreton Bay products to the broader community.

“One of the main markets we attend is the Redcliffe Markets, which we participate in every other week."

Leemet also sells dry rub for buffalo wings, which helps create a crispy and flavourful coating.

Despite relocating to Australia from Estonia 12 years ago, Leemet and his family maintain strong connections to their homeland and have recently launched a new manufacturing facility in Estonia.

“My mother has been a chef all her life and now has her own catering company, so she is producing our sauce and selling chicken wings made with Australian Buffalo Sauce,” Leemet says.

"The locals there have expressed their love for our Australian sauce.

“We aim to expand this business and introduce Australian-style chicken wing sauce to the world - that is our goal. This all requires time and hard work, but we are on the right path."

Bribie sauce a hot favourite at Mr Chilli Awards
Above: The full range of sauces by Australian Buffalo Sauce. 

About the awards

The Mr Chilli Awards has been running since 2012, providing significant support and a platform for Australian and New Zealand chilli condiment producers and manufacturers.

Andrew Ayoub, better known as Mr Chilli, says each year “the best of the best companies enter this prestigious contest”.

“This year we had 106 companies enter and more than 600 items to judge,” Andrew says.

“All judging is blind tested, and we have more than 12 teams all over Australia.

“Each team has 10 judges to keep everything honest and fair.

“Sometimes it can come down to one point that separates first, second and third.”

Andrew says the judges look at a number of different aspects during the blind tasting, including: 

Appearance

  • Is the general appearance (not presentation) appealing?

Aroma

  • Is the aroma appealing? Does it work well with the flavour?

Heat

  • Does the heat level accentuate the flavour?

Taste

Which is the most important. This is broken down into five distinct categories:

  • Texture: Does the smoothness or chunkiness appeal to you? Does it work well with the beef?
  • Balance: Is any one ingredient out of proportion?
  • Mouth appeal: Does the flavour start out too strong or too weak?
  • Acidity: Is the beef fresh enough?
  • Miscellaneous: Proper sweet-sour-bitter-salt balance, freshness, crispness, seasoning, and all other taste factors

For more information about the awards, as well as recipes, videos, suppliers and more, head to the Mr Chilli website.

Bribie sauce a hot favourite at Mr Chilli Awards
Above: Leemet and his family sell their products at local markets. 

Find them at the Moreton Bay Food + Wine Festival

For the second year in a row, Leemet will be appearing at the Moreton Bay Food + Wine Festival, selling his full range of locally made hot sauce and chili condiments, as well as offering free taste tests to those who drop by his stall.

“We take pride in offering free taste tests to all our customers because we believe it's important for you to experience the amazing flavours before making a purchase,” Leemet says. 

“At the festival, you can experience the full range of our locally made hot sauce and chilli condiments, featuring a variety of flavours and seasonal products from pineapple to strawberries.

“Our award-winning Australian-style Buffalo Sauce and cheeseboard specials like Smoked Honey, Chillin Pumpkin and Strawberry Dream will be on offer, along with the intense heat of our Habanero and Carolina Reaper sauces.

“As a special treat, we are considering a limited run of 100 bottles exclusively for the Moreton Bay Food + Wine Festival, so don't miss out!

“Last year’s festival was a tremendous success where we completely sold out our entire product range, so hopefully we can do that again this year.”

With the festival being one of Leemet’s favourite events, he is encouraging all foodies to mark the dates in their calendar now.

“We are honoured to be a part of this remarkable festival - The Moreton Bay Food + Wine Festival is a truly unique and iconic event in Moreton Bay,” Leemet says. 

“If you want to take home something truly unique from this incredible food festival, be sure to mark your calendars and join us in Moreton Bay this August.”

You will find Australian Buffalo Sauce in The Marketplace.

The Moreton Bay Food + Wine Festival returns to Apex Park in Woody Point from August 23-25.

To book tickets, or to see the full program, visit the Moreton Bay Food + Wine website.

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