Whole30® Approved: Horsetooth Hot Sauce

Here at Whole9, we do our best to encourage you to eat your vegetables, but we understand that sometimes, you run out of vegetable inspiration.  Mashed sweet potatoes with coconut butter, roasted carrots with cumin, steamed broccoli with ghee, sauteed spinach with garlic…  there are only so many ways to work veggies into your meals, right?

Wrong! We’ve recently discovered a delicious and exciting new way for you to spice up (and add to) the vegetables on your plate. Whole9 readers, we’d like you to meet… Horsetooth Hot Sauce.

First, Some Background

The story of Fort Collins, Colorado-based Horsetooth began in 2008, when co-owner John Comeau was, um, emancipated from his 9-5 job. John took his unemployment as an opportunity to start a new business, and brought on his sister Michael Ann as a business partner.

Horsetooth started with only three hot sauces in their repertoire: Rubin’s Red, Naughty #4 and The “O” Face, but has since added more regular production sauces, untold small batches, spicy Bloody Mary mixes, and a couple of BBQ sauces to the list of unusual and outstanding products.

Their name comes from Native American legend: Horsetooth Rock in Fort Collins, CO, is not a rock at all, but the heart-turned-to-stone of a great warrior slain by a slightly greater warrior during a fierce battle. (According to John, however, they were most likely good buddies fighting over the last drop of Horsetooth Hot Sauce.)

So where do the vegetables come in? They’re in the sauce.

No seriously – their sauces employ both vegetables and fruits to impart a unique and delicious flavor. John says:

Our philosophy is to make a delicious and unique product, testing the boundaries of what a hot sauce can be. We achieve that by adding different fruits and vegetable to our sauces. We brainstorm ideas together constantly to come up with interesting recipes. Some of our sauces are seasonal, using produce and products available at the time. For example, last fall we did a hop sauce with hops from my sister’s garden and Colorado peaches from the Western Slope. We try to use local ingredients as much as possible, like Fort Collins cantaloupe and tomatillos. We also like to switch it up throughout the year by making small-batch hot sauces that are way out of the box as far as hot sauces go. We make a limited amount, and they are only available for a short time.

And their sauces are all natural. You won’t find any nasty fillers in there. Right, John?

 Our hot sauces are all natural and gluten free. This is simple for us to accomplish, since the base ingredients in hot sauces are simple themselves: vinegar, salt and hot peppers. Any sweetness in our sauces comes from the natural sugars of those fruits and veggies. Colorado itself has a great philosophy when it comes to local, all natural products.

Rising Stars

Like many of the companies we choose to support, Horsetooth is big on the local (Fort Collins, CO) scene.  They source their products from vendors in their community, and they live and breathe by local support, selling their products first at local health food stores and farmers markets before branching out to bigger retailers like Whole Foods.

In fact, Melissa and Dallas first met John and Michael Ann at the Estes Park Farmers Market in 2010. After buying their first bottle of Rubin’s Red (Melissa’s favorite), they were hooked–and stoked to discover a full year and a half later that the Salt Lake City Whole Foods was now stocking Horsetooth’s sauces.

The rest of this Whole30 Approved story is history.

Liven Up Your Whole30 Meals

We want everyone to have the chance to experience their paradigm-smashing sauces. John thinks so too, so until our next official Whole30 begins (on August 1st) Horsetooth is offering everyone 20% of their hot sauce order!

Visit and add any sexy sauce to your shopping cart to reap 20% savings. (No discount code necessary.)

So head on over and grab yourself some Rubin’s Red, O Face, or Naughty #4 to top your next Whole30 meal – steak, eggs, burgers, and more.. and join us in welcoming Horsetooth Hot Sauce to the Whole30 Approved family.

What’s your favorite food to pair with hot sauce? Share your recipe or meal creation with us in comments.

Note: All current Horsetooth offerings are Whole30 Approved, except for their small-batch Mexican Standoff and Hot Mess BBQ sauce, both of which contain sugar. As Horsetooth creates seasonal products using a variety of ingredients on a regular basis, it’s up to YOU to check your labels (or inquire as to ingredients) to ensure their product is suitable for your  Whole30.

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  1. Su Miller says

    1. They need to put prices on the website. Bad form to have me have to put items into a shopping cart so that I can figure out how much things cost.
    2. Are all of the sauces W30 approved, or just a few?

  2. says

    Hi Su!

    John from Horsetooth is in the process of updating the text on the site to clearly display the ingredients. That should be up by tomorrow. I believe, other than the sauces listed in the post, everything else should be compliant. You may want to check with John, or hang on until tomorrow, if the sauce you’re interested in is seasonal. I’ll send him a note about the prices as well.


  3. Su Miller says

    WOW…thanks for the speedy reply. I’m really interested in a ‘white girl’ friendly hot sauce (warm yet flavorful). Also curious as to if the BBQ sauces are W30 approved. :D

  4. says

    Su –

    I think it’s safe to assume, at least for now, that the BBQ sauces are probably out for a Whole30. But after… I bet they’re super tasty.

  5. Kaylee says

    Just curious, how do you get an item Whole30 or Paleo approved? I ask because I just picked up this AWESOME sauce from a tiny shop in rural Oregon and it is flat out wonderful. I’d love to share it with the rest of the paleo community but want to be sure it is paleo approved (I’m new to paleo so don’t trust myself). Any tips?

  6. Susan says

    I just order some of their sauce. The BBQ sauce has brown sugar and corn syrup it it!! So be careful or you will end up with three bottles of sauce you can not use. I am looking forward to tasting the other hot sauce though.

  7. Susan says

    What an awesome company! This is their reply to my email about sugar in their BBQ sauce. I will happily support a company that makes a good product and is so generous in their business practice.
    “Hi susan, thanks for contacting us with your concerns. Only our hot sauces are whole30 approved. Unfortunately bbq sauce traditionally has sugar or some other type of sweetener in it. I see that you ordered the smokestack lightning. I would say that it is a sauce most like a bbq in that the pepper is smoked and gives it that bbq quality. If you are looking for something sweet and on the tropical side, our naughty # 4 hot sauce is great. It is a Scotch Bonnet pepper with mango. Its delicious and has no added sugar. Please be expecting a refund in the mail this next week for the bbq sauce and feel free to give that bottle to a friend who likes bbq sauce.”

  8. says

    Susan – that’s fantastic! John is a great guy and he takes a lot of pride in his work. We’re proud to partner with a company like Horsetooth.

    Kaylee – we’re always happy to take a look at new products. Just have the company contact me ( if they’re interested!

  9. says

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  10. says

    I think this info needs to be updated. They must have newer sauces and they still don’t have ingredients on the website. I bought the breakfast sauce and it has bacon in it (not sure if it’s the Whole 30 approved kind) and the Aloha BBQ sauce does have brown sugar in it. I realize I should have double checked with the company before I bought it, but if they are on your approved list, it would be helpful to have the info up to date on your website as well, for quick reference.

    Oh…and the sauce is TO DIE FOR!!!

  11. says

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