Spicy Week II: Hot

Day three of Spicy Week and I’m rediscovering what it means to introduce fiber, green vegetables, and daily exercise into my system. Funnily enough, this is also how I felt when I did the juice cleanse. Is hot sauce the next diet fad? You heard it here first. While supping on a sumptuous mixture of chia seeds, pecan-cranberry oatmeal, and peanut butter, please let me regale you with the legends and lore of the sauces boldly known as ‘hot.’DSC_7040-001

The selection keeps getting larger as the days pass, and I’ve come to the realization that it’s impossible to resist the siren’s call of Spicy Week. I’ve got hot sauce in my blood now. No, literally. I cut myself trying to open up a bottle this morning. Coupled with the hour-long trip it took me to retrieve last night’s McNuggets in the middle of a blizzard makes me pretty sure I have a full-blown case of Scoville Syndrome. But we did it, the Bedfellow and I, and are pleased to report the findings.

Sauce count: 31
Sauce total: 86DSC_7043-001Hot Sauce 4 Good Hot Garlic: Not too hot, despite a very bright, fresh color. Sort of a fermented, sriracha flavor with a quick, fleeting finish. 5/10
Majave Habanero: Pretty spicy, but still flavorful- a very pure, unadulterated habanero flavor. 5.5/10
Papa John’s Buffalo Hot: Really quirky ingredients, featuring raisin paste and orange puree, giving everything a rounded, balanced sweetness to counter the heat. 7/10
Rocky’s Original Hot Sauce: Seriously worcester-infused. A very clever sauce, with a nice, needly tingle and lingering heat. 7/10
Wildwood Arbol: The best of the brand, after the odd dissonance of the first two. Deep brown sugar and red roasted pepper flavor, and less grittiness. 5/10DSC_7045-001
Sunshine Sauces Hot: Very sweet, with a robust honey flavor and thick texture. Really flavorful and not as hot as expected. 7/10
Total Hottie: Unimpressed, despite the flirtatious bodybuilding ladypepper on the bottle. Really, really watery texture and a vague flavor, with a heat that quickly fizzled out. 3/10
NW Elixirs Hott: Very complex taste that took a few tastes to absorb and mull over, almost tannic and Asiatic. Strong black pepper aroma, and an exceptional usage of cardamom. 9/10DSC_7052-001
Empire Mayo Red Chili: More prominent sambal olek flavor than anything else, and a sharp, clean heat. 8/10
Tennessee Jim’s Yellows: Really winey flavor, not much heat. Could stand to be hotter. 5/10
Tennessee Jim’s TBSC: Much more flavorful and zesty, like a gourmet, wine-infused buffalo sauce. 7/10
Marie Sharp’s Nopal-Habanero: Big, bold cactus flavor and a fresh, sweet heat. 8/10
Kitchen Garden Bouquet Habanero: So, so fresh! Really solid, sweet, strong heat. Not as nuanced as the sriracha. 8/10
Greene’s Gourmet Smoky Red: Pronounced smokiness, but no heat. Too barbecue-heavy and sweet. 5/10
Dave’s Gourmet Caribbean Heat: Heavy lime flavor with a tropical, fruity base and a damned good spice. 9/10
Queen Majesty Scotch Bonner and Ginger: Sort of basic curry and ginger flavors. For a scotch bonnet base, there wasn’t much heat. It wasn’t as impressive as the first. 6/10DSC_7059-001
Hank Sauce Cameoflauge: The best Hank Sauce yet. Fine spice, with a tingly horseradish sour note. 6/10
Scotty O’Hotty Habanero: Good, but it had the same beer and cumin profile as the first, with a hair more heat. 5/10
Co-op Hot Mole: Decent mole flavor, more chocolate and chipotle heavy than nutty, and not very hot. 7/10
Keenan’s Killer Original: Crazy thick- had to scrape it out of the bottle with a butter knife even after shaking it. Hot and pure, but the bitterness increased after a few seconds, rendering it unpalatable. 3/10DSC_7064-001
High River Hellacious Hot Sauce: Sweet, sort of addictive, clever flavor with a great agave tang. 7.5/10
314 St. Louis: Really simple, yet good, like thick Tabasco or Frank’s. 5/10
Sizzlin’ Sauces Hot: Nice, carroty heat. Really hot! I found myself wanting even more vegetal sweetness to mitigate the heat, and am now terrified to try the XXXX version. 8/10
Shaia’s Sauce Hot: Kind of eggy and too creamy. Something about the flavors really didn’t work here in the way that they did in the mild flavor. 3/10DSC_7068-001
Dave’s Gourmet Hurtin’ Habanero: Way too gritty and not hot at all. 2.5/10
Greene’s Gourmet Texas Chipotle: So gritty! Very pasty and earthy. 3/10
Howling Monkey Hot: Clean, sharp heat that spoke for itself. Vinegar-reliant, but balanced like a coked-up Tabasco and a pleasant mustard tang. 6/10
All Spice Cafe Chipotle: Nostril assault- cleaned the ol’ sinuses right out with an intense pepper and garlic heat. 8/10DSC_7071-001
Kicker’s Kickin’: Loose texture, fleeting heat. Sweeter than a sweet chili sauce, with a slightly metallic aftertaste. 4/10
Marie Sharp’s Habanero: The notes say it all- HOLY FUCK. That’s all she wrote. 10/10DSC_7073-001
Ron Hot Jalapeno: Really sweet, with a slight bite. The texture was somewhat disconcertingly pulpy, but the flavor was pure. 5/10
Cafe Tequila Chipotle-Agave: Great, boozy flavor with an agave-cradled heat. 5/10DSC_7070-001
Ron Hot Tomato: Not hot at all, but the base tasted excellent. More suited to a chunky tomato sauce than a hot sauce. 5/10
Yellowdot Hot Sauce: Clean, distinct heat and flavor. The heat grew with each second and exploded with a sunny, bright aftertaste. 8/10

The sauce styles changed with this ranking- here, we were mainly concerned about the growing levels of heat. Who balanced the heat and the flavors the best? What were the underlying flavors that helped tease out the fire? Which ones sent us running for the hills? Ultimately, Marie Sharp’s Habanero swept another victory, along with classic favorite Dave’s Gourmet Caribbean, and new artisanal brand NW Elixirs Hott sauce, carrying a hell of a spice blend.DSC_7057-001Tomorrow…XXXXXX! Be afraid. I am. Thanks again to McDonald’s, and although you can’t get your hot on there unless you have backstock of their creamy habanero sauce, you can mix all the sauces together to create a suicide sauce, which…well, they’re better left apart.

2 comments

  1. Chef Bud

    What happened to day day 4 the 19th?
    I have been doing social media posts for several days promoting the event and your site.
    Thursday came and went
    What’s happening folks have responded to me asking

    Thanks

    Happy Holiday’s

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