The Blog

Family Flavors Are Formula For Success

One of the secrets to owning a profitable home business is a product that’s original, and if that product is original and tasty, it’s often a recipe for success. Several food-based entrepreneurs make their home and headquarters in Cherokee County, marketing their unique flavors over the Internet, by mail-order and in local markets and grocery stores.

Cherokee resident Tari Furey and her brothers and sisters have bottled and marketed their father’s favorite concoction as a tribute to his creativity and good taste. When Furey was a child growing up in Maryland, Sunday nights were special, because that’s the time when her dad, Chetney Hopkins Harris, would buy ice cream and then create his signature topping out of peanut butter, caramel, and condensed milk. “My brother Randy loved it so much that 12 years ago, when my father died, Randy suggested we bottle and market the topping,” Furey said. They named it “Chet’s” after their father, and now they make and bottle the product in Georgia, selling it around the country in specialty stores, grocery stores and on the Internet. “We used to eat it on vanilla ice cream,” Furey said, “But people like it on French toast, pancakes, waffles and even oatmeal.” Furey said it’s great blended with fudge and with chocolate flavors. Chet’s Peanut Butter Breakfast and Dessert Topping can be bought on the Internet at The topping will be featured as a “new brand on the shelf” at the National Association of Specialty Foods trade show this spring, and is sold in Piggly Wiggly’s in South Carolina and Georgia, as well as in grocery stores in the Midwest.

For those who like it hot, the sauces offered by Pepper Ranch can be rated on Scoville Scale, which measures the heat of peppers. Maria and Bill Klouda, of Canton, bought the business and its secret recipes last year. “I love to cook and try new recipes, so it seemed like a great fit,” Maria Klouda said. Pepper Ranch offers pepper sauces, rubs and cooking marinades with varying degrees of hotness, from the classic peppers sauce to the scintillating taste of “Hell’s Fury,” along with everything in between. “We want to bring the heat of the South to your table,” Maria said. “Our secret recipes are a full line of award-winning sauces that pay homage to the mighty Habanero pepper.”  The Kloudas’ sauces include teriyaki, beer mustard, barbecue and pepper sauce, along with sweet and sour sauce, wing sauce and dry rubs. “You can eat them on anything from fried chicken to eggs to tater tots,” Maria said. Pepper Ranch will be exhibiting at the Metropolitan Cooking and Entertaining Show at the Cobb Galleria Center May 3-4. To order, visit www.pepperranch. com or call (877) 772-6240. The sauce can be bought locally at Memories in Olde Towne Woodstock. For web orders, free pick up or delivery is offered to Cherokee County residents.

For those who savor barbecue, a line of specialty sauces for the barbecue aficionado is available thanks to Lake Arrowhead resident Larry Speights, otherwise known as “Loose Lips Larry.” Larry spent more than 20 years as a U.S. Army cook perfecting his sauces, one of which is called “Slap Yo Mama” hot spicy wing sauce. He is now the assistant food service director at Reinhardt College in Waleska. His motto is “Once you taste it, you won’t waste it!” Loose Lips Larry’s line of sauces, which also feature a Sweet Georgia Honey Mustard and a red barbecue sauce, are available at Publix, McFarlands, Ingles, 187 Florida and South Georgia Wal-Marts and at He has recently released a cookbook, called “Loose Lips Larry Presents: You Can Cook, Too.” He frequently does food shows and fundraisers for schools.

Local wine can also be found to accompany a fine meal. Vincent and Mary Jakupi-Boutier are the operators of Boutier Winery in Acworth. Vincent is from Holland and Mary is from Ireland, and a little more than 10 years ago, Mary encouraged Vincent to use his natural ability as a chef and beer-maker to make wine. “He found he was a total natural at wine-making,” she said. The wine made by Boutier Winery made mostly from Georgia grown grapes, and winery recently bought its own 32-acre vineyard in Danielsville. A second winery will open there this summer, and Joyce Savage, owner of the aforementioned Memories in Woodstock, will open an adjoining bed and breakfast. Boutier specializes in individual labels, allowing a company, a restaurant, a family, or a couple to name one of the eight different Boutier varietals after themselves. The wine is available at Bullock’s liquor store in Towne Lake.

(As printed in The Cherokee Ledger News by Carolyn Matthews, April 2, 2008)

Please check sites linked above for current information on each product.


Pepper Ranch Sponsors Game Jam at SPSU


Students Develop Games, Skills, Friendships in 48 Hours

It all started innocently enough on Friday, September 18, 2009. Twenty students and faculty from Southern Tech, Art Institute of Atlanta, Georgia State, and the University of West Georgia met in the Games Lab in the J building for a weekend of fun and game development.  Forty-eight hours later, with rain drenching the metro Atlanta region, two complete games were built from the ground up using nothing but adrenaline, caffeine, pizza and raw talent.

On Friday night, students were informed that the theme of the weekend’s game development would be “heat” in honor of our sponsor Pepper Ranch who graciously donated hot sauce for all participants.  Pepper Ranch is a local company that makes fantastic spices and sauces with habanero peppers. The students would have to incorporate this theme of “heat” into their games and that the play experience should last no more than 5 minutes. Teams then self-formed and began designing how their games would play.  They then worked over the next two days with little sleep to crank out a game with original art, music, and core game mechanics.

Nick Dolce, A.J. Savino, Kristina Dutton, and Rob Nale developed the winning game, “Paragon,” and each took home a triple pack of Pepper Ranch sauces.  “Paragon: Where Some Friends Don’t Make the Cut,” a side-scrolling platformer that focuses on quick mechanic subjecation and simple micromanagment implementation.  The object of the game is to lead a herd of innocent critters through the daily dangers of their world. The main goal is to help two critters to the door at the end of each level. In doing so you proceed to the next area. As the player, you have to help navigate your little companions past hostile inhabitants, dangerous pitfalls, and hot burning coals. During the journey you find elemental stations that grant your critter the power of ice and fire. Take note: with great power comes great responsibility. These powers may be great but will destroy its host over time. As the sheppard of your herd, you must utilize your environment to help you reach your destination.

Paragon – crush your enemies and save (most of) your friends

Another team of students from AIA and SPSU developed a Super Smash Bros. Brawl clone called H.E.A.T. – Hyper Extreme Attack Tanks – where up to 4 players can battle it out using different tanks, bikes, and mechanical spiders with different weapons and abilities.  This game was unique to the jam in that it was the only game that was developed to run on the Xbox360.  Look for this game to show up on Xbox Live Arcade in future months as the team may develop it into a full game!

H.E.A.T. (Hyper Extreme Attack Tanks) – 4-player Xbox360 Brawl clone by SPSU/AIA students

Two other teams competed but still had some work to do before their games were ready for prime time.  Look for those to show up later – perhaps even at the upcoming Global Game Jam 2010.  This next jam will run Fri-Sun on January 29-31 next year and will be coordinated worldwide with over 1500 other participants building games.  We encourage everyone at SPSU to join us to build and play games that weekend.  Please see for more details on this past jam or the upcoming jam next year.

Beyond the fun of the weekend, the Fall Game Jam serves another purpose: The Georgia Film, Music & Digital Entertainment Office sponsored a VIP room at SIEGE for the students to show off their games to potential employers and others in the game and digital media industries at SIEGE 2009.  SOUTHERN INTERACTIVE ENTERTAINMENT & GAME EXPO [SIEGECON.NET] is the definitive center of gravity for knowledge exchange among video game industry professionals and students in the southeastern U.S. This year, the show hosted 600-650 attendees who enjoyed 2 keynotes, 60 break-out sessions, and 15 social/networking events over a 3-day weekend from October 2-4.


Pepper Ranch Wins Top Honors at The Hot Pepper Awards 2009

The Hot Pepper Awards Winner

The Hot Pepper Awards Winner

CANTON, GA (11/13/09) – Pepper Ranch recently won in two divisions at The Hot Pepper Awards Competition. The company’s Spicy Honey Teriyaki won 1st place in the Cooking Condiment: Marinade – Soy Sauce Based Category.  A fan favorite, Hell’s Fury, won second place in the Hot Sauce: Savory Category.

The third annual competition was held in the fall and the contestants represented the best in the industry.  The event was hosted by The Hot Pepper forum.

The Spicy Honey Teriyaki Sauce brings the heavenly taste of the orient to any dish. The sweet-heat combination provides an oriental taste with a Habanero twist.

Hell’s Fury offers an explosion of flavor – from habaneros, to garlic, to onion, this sauce adds an excellent combination of heat and flavor to any meal. Seemingly mild at first taste the power of the mysterious habanero announces it’s presence with a bang!

Pepper Ranch offers a full line of gourmet sauces, marinades and rubs.  The company is headquartered in Canton, GA. Products are available online at and at select retailers throughout the US.

(from previous press release)


Roasted Chicken Drumettes

Roasted Chicken

This is a super easy recipe for roasted chicken drumettes. (You can also use chicken breasts if you prefer.) These are always a hit at our house. Matter of fact, I’ve even had requests to bring them in for a school lunch.  There are never leftovers and the recipe always gets shared when folks try them the first time.


1 pack chicken drumettes (12)

2 Tbsp olive oil

2 tsp sugar

1 tsp salt

1 tsp garlic powder

¼ tsp black pepper

1/3 cup Pepper Ranch Bold & Spicy Beer Mustard


Rinse chicken w/cold water, pat dry

Stir together oil & next 4 ingredients in large bowl (or use a baggie). Add chicken, toss to coat.  Arrange chicken in a single layer on baking pan. (I line with foil).

Bake at 450 for 30-35 minutes.

Pour Bold & Spicy Beer Mustard in large bowl.  Carefully add hot chicken to mustard mixture, tossing to coat.  (A few at a time is easier) Drain & discard any fat from pan (or throw away tin foil).  Place chicken back on pan (I use new foil).

Bake at 450 for 8-10 more minutes or until done.


A little about us

Pepper Ranch….When you hear our name, you might be picturing a quaint farmhouse with wide-open spaces, grazing horses, cowboy hats, faded blue jeans and broken-in boots.  Those are definitely a few of my favorite things!  However at Pepper Ranch, the passion is peppers. We’re proudly located in the magnificent state of Georgia where we create bold sauces, marinades and rubs that give food never-before-experienced dimensions of flavor you’re sure to crave!

Since 1996, Pepper Ranch has been an innovator in the specialty food industry.  The company was founded by a hobby chef with a knack for creating unique hot sauces and developing special gourmet recipes.  These secret concoctions soon developed into a full line of award-winning sauces that all deliciously paid homage to the mighty Habanero pepper.

I promise we will continue to offer original products using the highest quality ingredients you can trust to taste good, look good and, yes, even be good to this great big earth of ours through our commitment to earth-friendly choices for all Pepper Ranch products.

It’s our honor to bring the heat of the South to your table with extraordinary flavors and innovative packaging that makes Pepper Ranch your flavorful, natural choice.

I hope you will drop in often. I look forward to sharing stories with you all.


What’s Hot?

Wondering how to rate the heat level of various types of chile peppers?

Peppers are rated based on Scoville Units, a method developed by Wilbur Scoville in 1912. Human tasters were used to evaluate how many parts of sugar water it took to neutralize the heat. New technology known as HPLC, or High Performance Liquid Chromotography is used to measure the amount of capsaicin (sparing human tongues) in parts per million. Capsaicin is what gives chiles their heat.  Region and Climate are also factors in heat levels in chile peppers.

Reference the chart below.

Mexi-Bells; Cherry; Anaheim 100-1,000 Scoville Units
Ancho; Espanola 1,000-1,500 Scoville Units
Jalapeno; Mirasol; Chipotle; Poblano 2,500-5,000 Scoville Units
Yellow Wax; Serrano 5,000-15,000 Scoville Units
Cayenne; Tabasco; Piquin 30,000-50,000 Scoville Units
Santaka; Thai 50,000-100,000 Scoville Units
Habanero; Scotch Bonnet 100,000-350,000 Scoville Units
Red Savina Habanero; Indian Tezpur 350,000-855,000 Scoville Units