Ed Martin cuts up in the kitchen.
BAYONNE’S ABLAZE WITH HOMEMADE HOT SAUCE BY TARA RYAZANSKY PHOTOS BY MAXIM RYAZANSKY
uter Limits was born in a Bayonne kitchen when Ed Martin decided to try his hand at making hot sauce. He was frustrated because the sauces on the market were weak and vinegary. Martin used homegrown peppers from his garden to make the sauce. He and his father had grown habaneros together since his childhood, and Martin wanted to capture the fiery taste they loved. A lifelong fan of spicy food, Martin got in trouble as a kid for bringing chilis to school with his lunch. “On more than one occasion someone would try to prove they were tougher than me and eat one whole and end up in horrible pain,” Martin laughs. “Then I would get called to the office and told not to bring them in again, but I inevitably would anyway.” Like a chemist or wizard, he mixed up various versions, homing in on the pure flavor he wanted. The result was a sauce that was loaded with the intense heat of Hot Paper Lantern Habanero, blowing away everything on store shelves. “The first thing you smell and taste is the habaneros,” Martin says of the original recipe. “It has a bold, peppery taste, with just a hint of garlic.”
In 2011, making hot sauce was a hobby that Martin shared with his father, Edward Martin III. They perfected the Habanero Hot Sauce and created the Jalapeno Lime flavor, with a citrusy punch and lower heat level. Through trial and error, the Martins worked until they got the consistency and taste up to their standards.
GOING PRO Friends frequently asked when they would start selling their famous concoction, but limited space and supplies, as well as work responsibilities, kept Martin from focusing fully on his spicy creations. He spent years working in the music industry, managing the PR campaigns of bands like Slipknot, Lamb of God, and Opeth. He made a career change when he got the opportunity to work as head of U.S. sales for an international concert ticketing startup. Less than a year after he took the position, the company closed down, leaving Martin jobless. Then Hurricane Irene tore through New Jersey, causing damage to Ed Martin III’s Long Branch property. A large shade tree in his backyard fell down, tearing up the garden where his peppers grew. What could have seemed like double disasters led to an exciting
venture. Martin’s father’s yard gained light and space to grow a bigger garden. Martin was able to devote more time to his hot sauce, holding tasting parties for friends, tweaking the recipes, and testing them on the road. He handed out samples in the parking lots outside of concerts of jam bands like Phish. Concert goers congregate around venues before and after shows, buying merchandise ranging from T-shirts to burritos in a makeshift, fan-run market known as Shakedown Street. Martin was thrilled to find that strangers loved his tasty concoctions as much as his friends did. Inspired by the successful road test, Martin invested in industrial-size pots and an immersion blender “the size of a boat propeller.”
DUTY CALLS Happy as he was with this endeavor, Martin was still looking for a job. Growing up with a family business had turned him into a self-proclaimed workaholic. Since age 12, he’d worked at his father’s ski shop, Outer Limits. Meanwhile, Martin used his PR background to build a following for the hot sauce brand that would carry the name of his father’s old business. Then his longtime girlfriend was diagnosed with
Life on the Peninsula ~ Fall | Winter 2014/15 •