May 30, 201773 views

How do you guys feel about hot sauces?

I'm not talking about the piss and acid this'll burn your mouth and do you sideways with a crowbar gimick/joke sauces, I mean actual hot sauces. Like the Heatonist Hot Ones Hot Sauce, or Bravado Spice Co. Sauces? They're not readily available in the UK. All we have are dog and zombie themed sauces.

I legit love Tabasco exactly because it's bland (I think of it as flavor-neutral heat). It does, however, have umami from the fermentation. Most US East Coast restaurants will have it if you ask for a hot sauce, and it's often already sitting on the table. It's just dependable in every way (boutique hot sauces are often variable). Only downside is you need to use lots of it, and it's very acidic.
Restaurants here have been stocking Cholula, a Mexican-style hot sauce made in California. Tapatio is another California competitor. They're both good and dependable, especially on tacos. I've been stocking Valentina Extra Hot personally. It's made in Guadalajara, from puya chilis (similar to Guajillo), so it has a more complex flavor.
The Caribbean has a lot to offer in this regard but I've only been able to try a couple mass-produced ones, such as Grace. Oddly, their Scotch Bonnet sauce isn't as hot as the regular one, but it does capture the flavor very well! Still very enjoyable on all things with Allspice. I do, however, make a jar of pikliz in the fridge at all times. The brine adds heat and brightness to everything! Sprinkle some on a burger, a salad, whatever...
Asian hot sauce tends to be on the chunky side, very flavorful, and more likely to be prepared fresh. It's not exactly a sauce but my primary condiment is Lao Gan Ma fried chili. I still add Western hot sauce to this to pump it up. There's the Sriracha hype and it's well-deserved. The thickness is very advantageous. I see some hype bubbling around Lao Gan Ma but it's imported and still kind of hard to find, while Sriracha is US-made and almost everywhere here.
My favorite boutique sauce is Blair's Ultra Death. It's thick, has a great flavor (tomato base) that plays well with everything while providing legitimate endorphin-high heat. It comes out one drop at a time, which makes it easy to measure out.
Besides sauces, I've been regularly grinding a custom chili powder. Ground spices lose potency over time so I make relatively small batches. Great for applications where extra moisture isn't wanted. Like dusting it on popcorn or a corn cob. I order a bulk cayenne from Amazon. You can find 90-160k in 1 lbs. bags. You can get ghost and naga easily too. Dried chilis you'd want Guajillo, Pasilla, Anaheim as your base then the rest is up to you. Cascabel for earthiness, arbol for picanté, chipotle for smoke.
Secret Aardvark Sauce is amazing (Discovered via Hot Ones), absolutely worth your money.
Dirty Dick's Hot Sauce (w/ tropical twist) is delicious. This sauce is also on the new season of Hot Ones, but it's big where I'm from (Vermont, my family's house is ~20 mins from where this sauce is made).
DD's Hot Sauce has a pretty pronounced tomato base, and if you're into that, the same company makes Richard's BBQ Sauce (this is where they started) which is divine.
Tapatio or Cholula all the way for me! Gives a good bite and a smoky flavor without overpowering the natural flavor of whatever you are eating.
Great idea to consider hot sauces. When I travel I try to sample local hot sauces. I have so many that I periodically have to clean half-used bottles from my fridge.
There are so many. In the US the two most popular are probably Tabasco and Franks Red Hot.
I'm not a big fan of the regular Tabasco as I find it kind of bland. Tabasco does make a green jalapeño sauce that's a bit sweeter. I like it on my breakfast scramble. This isn't actually sweet but compared to plain Tabasco. They also make a Chipotle sauce that's pretty good. Chipotles are smoked, ripe hot peppers. The smokey flavor is prominent.
Franks Red Hot is made from cayenne peppers. It's much brighter than Tabasco and a bit sweeter. It's what the original buffalo wings were dipped it. I travel with a small bottle.
There are a couple of more traditional Mexican hot sauces that have more subtle flavors: Cholula and Tapatio. One or the other is usually found in a Mexican restaurant in my area.
Siracha, a Chinese hot sauce is very popular right now. It's thicker and quite garlicky. It will spark up most take outs.
If you like sweet hot sauces with a hint of fruit you might look for something from Jamaica or any of the Caribbean Islands. I don't have any on hand for brands, but really enjoyed them when on holiday in Jamaica.
Since I live near Seattle, I use a couple of local hot sauces. I don't know if they ship internationally. De Mars's Rooster Sauce is an oil based sauce instead of vinegar based as most of the above sauces are. There's a company in Portland, Oregon, Secret Aardvark, that makes my current favorite the Drunken Black Bean.
If you want scorching hot, there's an Atlanta, Georgia habanero sauce called Yellow Bird that will curl you toes.
These are all available through Amazon in the US. Don't know about the UK.
Been meaning to try Yellowbird hotsauces. I ordered 4, 3 Bravado sauces and the heatonist hot ones sauce. They're all good apart from the jalapeno + apple imo.
Unfortunately these sauces are not available in the UK, so after importing those 4 sauces I ended up paying like 30 bucks a sauce, when they retail for 10 bucks. And the bad part is I really like them. If I could get them easily I'd easily use up the heatonist + bravado pineapple in 2 weeks. The ghost chili and blueberry makes my mouth numb so I use small amounts of it.
That's hard to love a sauce at that price.
I carry a bottle of some form of hot sauce with me at all times. Currently it's a bottle of Chili Garlic Cholula which is a little weak in terms of heat but has a great flavor. You never know when you're going to need it, and for me it's probably too often.
To answer your question about my feelings though: I feel a great surge of pride when my 2-year-old is crying from the burn but still keeps begging for more of my hot sauce.