If a man does not have sauce, then he is lost. But the same man can get lost in the sauce.

The immortal words of rapper Gucci Mane kept ringing in my mind the second I walked into the Galena Canning Company, located at 106 South Main Street, in the heart of Galena. Of course, Gucci was referring to metaphorical sauce in that famous quote: a person's clothing, swagger, luxurious habits, and large lifestyle.

The sauce at the famous Galena shop is literal. Many are ready to scorch your mouth and fry your taste-buds to the point where you'll be chugging water (or milk, if you're wise) for an extended period of time. With the popular show Hot Ones taking off over the last several years, hot sauce connoisseurs professional and amateur have popped up in droves. 74% of Americans reportedly like to put it on their food, with 45% drizzling it on their meals more than once a week.

Photo Credit: Steve Pulaski
Photo Credit: Steve Pulaski
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Now, make no mistake: the Galena Canning Company specializes in more than just hot sauce. Their deceptively spacious shop offers BBQ sauces, rubs, jams, jellies, and more. The hot sauce, however, was the primary reason I came. I was on the hunt for a very specific one — a lofty challenge given the enormous supply they boast.

Just some of the hot sauces to be had at the Galena Canning Company. Photo Credit: Steve Pulaski
Just some of the hot sauces to be had at the Galena Canning Company. Photo Credit: Steve Pulaski
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Luckily, however, I wanted one of the Galena-branded sauces, which were easy to spot. Hell's Habanero Hot Sauce has catapulted up my mental list of favorite hot sauces yet. Made with crushed up habaneros, cayenne, and red peppers, it's an incendiary blend, but it abides by my biggest principle when it comes to hot sauce.

I don't want a sauce that's going to soil my food. I want it to taste great, make me sweat, and add to my food of choice. Hell's Habanero does just that: it makes pizza, fries, wings, and more even better.

Some of the hottest sauces you can find at Galena Canning Company. Photo Credit: Steve Pulaski
Some of the hottest sauces you can find at Galena Canning Company. Photo Credit: Steve Pulaski
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The above rack showcases the hottest sauces at the Galena Canning Company. The images themselves, if not hellish, show cartoon figures in downright pain and agony. You better have a lot of milk on hand if you opt for any of these.

Photo Credit: Steve Pulaski
Photo Credit: Steve Pulaski
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Like any given craft beer shop, half of the fun of a hot sauce store is admiring the artwork on the bottles. So many of these are done by professional and/or independent artists that can see their work on a popular product. For some of these designs, the attention to detail is exquisite.

A selection of rubs at the Galena Canning Company. Photo Credit: Steve Pulaski
A selection of rubs at the Galena Canning Company. Photo Credit: Steve Pulaski
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Beyond hot sauce, the Galena Canning Company offers a substantial selection of rubs for ribs, steaks, and various other meats. That's a whole other world of culinary that I have yet to explore. At least now, I have a starting point.

The jams and jellies available at the Galena Canning Company. Photo Credit: Steve Pulaski
The jams and jellies available at the Galena Canning Company. Photo Credit: Steve Pulaski
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If you're not a hot sauce fan and you bolt past the respective section near the front door, you'll see a sweet reward. This shop offers a great selection of jams and jellies. I grabbed a bottle of raspberry jalapeno jelly. It pairs great with cheese curds, I've discovered.

The two hot sauces I picked up. Photo Credit: Steve Pulaski
The two hot sauces I picked up. Photo Credit: Steve Pulaski
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My trip was a success insofar that I found the hot sauce I was looking for in Hell's Habanero. I couldn't walk out without picking up another one, however. I grabbed a Cajun sauce called "Scorpion's Sting," made with habanero and jalapeno peppers.

The Galena Canning Company is a must-visit for hot sauce fans, but also those looking to add literal spice to their life — or simply some sweet jam or jelly.

The Galena Canning Company is located at 106 S. Main Street in Galena. Visit their Facebook page here.

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