I’m big on flavor and on spice when I eat. I just love it and have loved it for decades. Things always taste better when they have some kick. While my tastes has mellowed a bit since I was a kid (re: I don’t really eat too much sauce that makes you cry anymore), I still love it. Hot sauce adds that certain flavor to any meal. I put that **** on everything, for real. Pizza, potatoes, meat, mac and cheese. There’s nothing that hot sauce doesn’t make taste better. It’s actully amazing, though, when I see people think that black pepper is just too spicy (open mouth, wag tongue, wave hand for air, drink water) for them, but that’s what makes us great, huh?
Note to you (and self), be sure to try your wife or mother’s cooking before you lace the hot sauce on that bad boy. Do yourself a favor.
On to the list…in no particular order.
- This is the King of the Hill food good reason. It’s awesome. Plain and simple, it could be the standard bearer for all hot sauces. While there are some less and more heat-filled versions, the Original packs just enough heat mixed with a great flavor to really make it a great sauce. This has to be the #1 sauce in the world, and for good reason. It’s really just good all-around in every category. Well balanced and flavorful would seem to win the day.
- To be honest, I didn’t have this sauce on the list at first. But then, magic happened. I was at a very authentic Mardi Gras party (hostess was from New Orleans) and she put out this sauce. I knew it and have had it, but, man, did it pop with the jambalaya, etouffee, and red beans and rice. It was perfect. Makes sense since this is all-Cajun, baby. I think the thing that makes it unique is that the cayenne Chili peppers are sun-ripened then aged for at least one year. Great all-around sauce that goes well with everything, like a Tabasco, with a slight different slant. A very nice sauce to always have on hand.
- Vera brought this back to me from a trop to Arizona. Never heard of it, but now I love it. The funny thing, this is a Brooklyn company! Shame on me for not knowing about a local treasure like this. I love that’s it’s local for me, but I also love to flavor. There’s a nice amount of heat, maybe a little more than say a Frank’s, but it’s not overpowering. The natural flavors of fresh red Fresno chili peppers are there without added sugar, so it’s pure chili goodness. The added carrot, onion, and Habanero Pepper really rounds out the flavor profile, smoothing it out, with that last minute fire punch. Perfect.
- This is the company out of California that started the craze. This sauce is just about everywhere, from fast food to in just about every mayo, mustard, and ketchup at the local mass market grocery store. It’s a real craze and for good reason. The rooster brings a unique, pasty texture with ample heat and tons of garlic. It’s even a little sweet and truly unique. The copy-cats are out in force, but this is the original and still the best.
- This is just a staple. It’s like the starter sauce. My daughter absolutely loves it. She thinks it’s SUPER spicy, but this is mild at best. It’s all about that basic, satisfying, hot sauce flavor. The brand goes way back and is the base for the original (and likely still most) buffalo wing sauce. Good flavor that can be eaten at any time by just about any one.
- This Latin/Southwest-style sauce is bursting with flavors like lime, brown sugar, garlic, and ancho chile pepper. The spice is right, but this is all about the taste for me. Set this bad boy up on some fajitas, tacos, or burritos and rice and enjoy.
- This is the super, ridiculous sauce that started it all for me. At a hot sauce store in my college town of Albany, NY, I was given a taste…on a toothpick…with the bottle in a coffin…after signing a waiver. It was pomp and circumstance…kind of. Man, it’s a spicy sauce. It’s really killer and that drop on the toothpick made my mouth explode and my eyes water. No joke. This is heat, pure and simple. Man up and be prepared.
- This spicy, garlicky, slightly lemony sauce is very distinctive. It’s Portuguese by way of South Africa, and it’s exotic flavor comes through. This Bird’s Eye Chilli-based sauce is perfect when you are looking for something different.
- Sure, this is Jerk sauce, but man it’s good. It’s awesome, with great spice and all those flavors you love. Throw this on some pork or chicken, grab a Red Stripe, and get all irie…ya mon.
So that’s my top 9. Some all time favorites, and some maybe not quite known. I tried to keep it mainstream so that most people can find these pretty easily. There are literally 1,000s of hot sauces, but so any land in specialty stores that are not always easy to access. Let me know what you think and if there are some sauces that HAVE to be added to this list. Enjoy.