A Felda man in Hendry County may not be immediately recognizable in public, but his hot sauce sure is.
Buddy Taylor is the creator of the line of Gator Hammock hot sauces, available in supermarkets locally and worldwide.
Taylor’s hot sauce has gained so much popularity since he developed the recipe in the 1980s that he was inducted into the Hot Sauce Hall of Fame in 2017.
We met with Taylor Thursday to talk hot sauce with him and learn a few recipe secrets.
In the heart of Felda, east of Lehigh Acres, is Gator Hammock.
“This here, the ribs has gator sprinkle on it, and the chickens got gator sprinkle,” Taylor said.
Buddy Taylor has been serving up ribs, chicken and everything in between since 1989.
Buddy started serving his eventually famous meats and hot sauce at a location that was once a gas station, beauty salon and convenience store operated by his parents.
Friends who played on Taylor’s softball team convinced him to bottle up his creation.
“The guys from the softball team loved the sauce and said, ‘You need to sell it,’” Taylor said. “And I said, OK.’”
Food is Tayor’s craft and passion, and his own brand has been growing ever since his teammates convinced him to go for it. He and his Gator Hammock Hot Sauce have been featured on Food Network.
Taylor said the best part is that food allows him to meet new people, people who might never come to Felda. Taylor explained a little bit about his process for making food people love.
“I put them on this grill, and I come out here and check them about three times,” Taylor said. “Look at them, make sure they’re not burning, and that’s it.”
Taylor has been working on his grill, “Old Faithful,” for almost 30 years.
“I started cooking when I was probably a knee-high to a grasshopper,” Taylor said. “I love to eat, and I love to eat good food. So that’s what it’s all about.”