YouTube Star Keith Habersberger of The Try Guys Shares the Secret Behind His Viral Hot Sauce
After partnering with Heatonist (the makers behind the Hot Ones hot sauces) the star's sauce sold out of 10,000 bottles in just a day and a half
Keith Habersberger, from the YouTube group The Try Guys, recently released a “not too hot sauce” with Heatonist, the makers behind the Hot Onessauces. Arguably called the King of Fast Food — he’s eaten every item at Taco Bell and Olive Garden among others for his “Eat the Menu” series — Habersberger created a sauce to satisfy spice lovers and the spice adverse (like himself.)
In true YouTuber fashion, the whole experience was filmed and made into a mini documentary, but Habersberger recently spoke with People to dish on some things you don’t learn in the video.
“The reason I chose to make a hot sauce is that I have a super sensitive tongue,” Habersberger told PEOPLE. Born with a geographic and fissured tongue, anything mildly spicy is super intense for him. He said he wanted to create something with a lot of flavor and just a touch of heat so anyone could enjoy it, no matter their spice tolerance.
In the process of coming up with a flavor profile, Habersberger tried over 50 sauces to figure out what was missing in the market. “I really sought out to make a chicken sauce, and it was from the joke that we have steak sauce and people just accept it as its own genre of sauce. No one’s ever specifically tried to make a sauce for chicken labeled as chicken sauce,” he said. “It’s made for chicken, but we found out it is so good on pizza.”
Usually the sauce making process goes through three to ten batches to develop, but it only took Claire Georges, owner and developer of Butterfly Bakery of Vermont, one attempt to create the unique sauce. “I thought it was appropriately spicy, super flavorful, and just interesting,” says Habersberger.
It wasn’t enough for Habersberger to just taste the sauce, though. “I really didn’t want to be separate from the process,” he says. Habersberger was in the kitchen creating batches of his sauce, and says the ingredient that really sets his apart from others is the sour cream powder. “[It’s] certainly the most bizarre element. I didn’t even know you could get powdered sour cream, but it gives this interesting tang and really sends the flavor in a direction away from just buffalo.”
Originally 10,000 bottles were made — and sold out in just a day and a half. “We thought we’ll probably sell through half of that, and then we’ll sell through them all by Christmas. We were, obviously, very happily surprised.” Habersberger says. “We had to go immediately into production and we’re making 20,000 more because we have 8,000 people already on the waiting list.”
This won’t be Habersberger’s only foray into food production. Along with someday making “the perfect ranch,” he hopes to make sauces with the other Try Guys—Eugene, Ned and Zach—that have their own unique spin to represent each of the guys. “It would be very cute to sell a four-pack of Try Guys inspired sauces,” says Habersberger.
Habersberger attributes the sauces’ success to people wanting shared experiences. “I think people are really excited to share the flavor with one another and for us all to experience something together,” he says.
As for the future, Habersberger shared that he plans to create more food travel series on his Youtube channel, and of course one of his ideas involves chicken. “I’d love to make a show that’s about all the different types of chicken recipes in the world because everybody eats birds,” he says.
You can watch Keith’s chicken sauce documentary above, as well as The Try Guy’s new food series “Without a Recipe” which airs new episodes every Saturday in December.