Pain 100% hot sauce; 1000% pain!

While I was up in Missouri chasing the eclipse I met up with a long-time reader of this weblog. He was kind enough to gift me with several hot sauces. So I took the into the office, and the verdict is that this is a very spicy sauce indeed (grown men running to the fridge!).

It’s somewhat curious, because the label says that it has habanero pepper. Not some crazy scorpion or bhut jolokia. Going by the ingredient label list there’s no way that should be as hot as , but it is.

How can this be? I’d say it has to do with simplicity. The has a relatively subtle and complex flavor profile. It’s a ninja, silent and deadly. In contrast comes at you straight-up like a samurai; a strong kick of salt quickly fades, and the simple but potent spicy builds up within a minute and starts pounding at your palette..

is very spicy and simple. It’s the meat & potatoes of hot sauce. You know what you’re going to get, and you can describe the taste in a few sentences.

Beyond cholula, sriracha, and tabasco

In the United States it seems that the restaurant table top hot sauces are dominated by an oligopoly. , , and are ubiquitous. And there’s a reason for this: they are delicious. All of them have their own unique flavor profiles, as you no doubt know. But there is a whole world of hot sauce and spice beyond these three canonical flavorings.

Recently the Trinidad scorpion pepper was recommended to me by a friend, and I brought it in the office. Almost immediately it became “the” office hot sauce. It’s complex and delicious flavor, and the high spice content fueled by more than 15 peppers per bottle, have fueled an enthusiasm for hot sauces among my co-workers.

The moral of the story is that readers should explore the a bit more of the world of hot sauce taste than they do right now. Don’t limit yourself to the Pepsi, Coke, and Dr. Pepper of hot sauces.

Thumbs up on the Rapture Trinidad Scorpion sauce

 recommended the to me. It’s a little on the spendy side, but I trust Andy’s opinions on this sort of stuff. So what does it bring to the table that you couldn’t replicate with pure ?

Often many very spicy sauces taste chemically. That’s the capsaicin extract. The aim of a good sauce in my opinion should be that it still tastes like food, not a scrubbing acid. This is where some of the sauces fall short. They’re spicy, but they’re not tasty. I don’t believe in the efficacies of “cleanses” so there’s not even that silver lining to ingesting lots of Dave’s.

The flip side is that many “spicy” sauces, often of the habanero brand, are lathered in various sweet syrups whose aim in my opinion is to mask the spiciness, but signal to people that you are into spice. Some element of sweetness may help in flavor, but it shouldn’t be the dominant aspect in most cases. Spice in my opinion goes well balanced with salty and sour flavors, but sweetness should be held in moderation. Different sauces have different temporal “profiles” based when the savory and sour and spicy “kick in.”

does not have the problem of sweetness. It’s a genuinely spicy sauce that also tastes like a sauce and not a chemical. That is, it is “vegetably” if it makes sense (the fresh tastes of green Thai pepper come to mind to illustrate what I’m talking about). The spice kicks in immediately. For how spicy it is I don’t feel like the aftertaste of spice is too extreme (probably that suggests it’s a less oily sauce). The other flavors, a mix of sour and salt, with a touch of sweetness, have a longer amplitude, and leave more of an aftertaste.

Much respect to whichever saucier put this together. Overall I highly recommend this , though I would caution that this is not for civilians. But it’s not insanely hot like the .