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Hot Sauce

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What is the absolute best tasting and hottest "hot sauce" available? Where can I get it?

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  1. Walkerswood Scotch Bonnet, from Jamaica.

    No gimics, no jokey "Colonel Fudpucker's Colon Cleanser" nonsense, just authentic fiery flavourful Carribean hot sauce. They have a web site, don't know if you can order direct, but depending on where you live, you shouldn't have too much trouble finding it.

    When you do find it, pick up a bottle of their Jerk Marinade too.

    6 Replies
    1. re: Tobias

      Melinda's is pretty good, too. Made from habaneros and carrots in Belize. Tasty and snappy.

      1. re: flavrmeistr

        For me, hot sauce with vegetables in it tastes like spicy vegetable sauce.

      2. re: Tobias

        Another good carribean-style sauce is Matouk's. You really get a nice, spicy habanero flavor. It is made in either Trinadad or Tobago. My husband and I "discovered" it in Tortola, BVI and brought back five bottles, one of which broke in his luggage and made a huge mess. When we got home, we found it at out local Kroger. No matter, it's still delicious!

        1. re: Tobias

          I have to agree! I always have a bottle in the refrigerator and a backup in the pantry.

          1. re: Tobias

            I have to agree. My standby is Tabasco because I actually like the taste and I hate the hot sauces which are all heat with no taste.

            But anything from WalkersWood has incredible taste, and their habanero has a nice kick.

            1. re: ARN

              Have you tried the Tobasco Habanero? It is in the style of the Jamaican scotch bonnet sauces, with the fruit and tamarind added, respectable heat, and a rich flavor. It is probably my favorite sauce by McIlhenny.

          2. Check out Dave's sauces. I use Dave's Total Insanity Sauce, very, very sparingly.

            Link: http://www.davesgourmet.com/home.html

            1. More of a comment than a recommendation . . .

              Sometimes the medium level sauces are a bit easier to handle. Using the hottest sauces is a lot like working with plutonium - one or two extra drops can have unforeseen consequences. Sort of like making mixed drinks with Everclear . . but that's another story.

              13 Replies
              1. re: Bob Martinez

                Point taken, and since one cannot have too many hot sauces I recommend Sriracha. Not as macho as others mentioned, but it still flattens me, and I am absolutely addicted to it for its great taste. I find it pretty readily in larger asian markets. Look for a rooster on the bottle.

                Link: http://www.huyfong.com

                1. re: Deb Van D

                  Sriracha's my favorite as well. I first encountered it in a tiny Korean/Diner restaurant in Chicago. We use it at home to add kick to stir fries and liven up other food.

                  I also prefer crushed red pepper flakes in cooking to most hot sauces. I find it adds a better kick while cooking the dish. Hot sauces are for after something's cooked.

                  1. re: LisaLou

                    Another alternative to try is "ABC" brand from indonesia, comes in one of those ketchup glass bottles. A little spicier than sriracha.

                    1. re: SG

                      I am a big fan of their hot sauce as well. It does come in different varieties--Seafood, Tropical Chilli, Extra Hot Chilli, Lampung Chilli,and Sweet and Hot. They also produce a good kecap manis, an Indionesia sweet soy sauce that has a viscosity half way between soy sauce and molasses. ABC's Kecap Manis and Extra Hot Chilli sauce is a match made for fried rice.

                      Here in SF it is available in many Asian grocery stores.

                      1. re: mikeb

                        I'm not so sure I needed to know that they have different varieties. Now, I must find them. Thanks for the heads up.

                        1. re: LisaLou

                          Sorry to do that to you, allow me to help. Here's an online vendor, if you can't find them in a store near you. They're based in Woodside, NY.

                          Link: http://www.asianmerchant.com/abchotsa...

                    2. re: LisaLou

                      I agree with that, I dry habaneros and crush them and add them to regular hot pepper flakes to add kick. Cooking it make a huge difference to me, much smoother than adding them after cooking. (In my opinion). I only add hot sauce after cooking, also.

                      1. re: LisaLou

                        "Rooster Sauce"! Love that stuff. I first had it at Tu Lan in San Francisco. Great stuff.

                      2. re: Deb Van D

                        I discovered Sriracha recently at the Dumpling House on Eldridge Street here in New York City. Medium hot and very tasty. I found a massive 28 oz. bottle in a Chinese grocery a half block away for $2.25 and I've been using it on grilled burgers and bratwursts for the last month. It's great!

                        1. re: Deb Van D

                          Oh, I *love* this stuff.
                          I was never a fan of hot sauce on eggs, but then I met Sriracha.

                          And, I found it at the local Meijer store.

                          1. re: Deb Van D

                            Yeah I love Sri Racha as well, and you're right it's cheap & readily available in the Huy Fong label. Sri Racha is originally a Thai sauce and Huy Fong is a Vietnamese company based in LA, and they do a good job making an American style Sri Racha--it's very good but seems a bit high on vinegar and it's got a kind of salsa-consistency which is good but really nothing like what you find in Thailand. Thai sri racha is thin. I guess the purist in me says I like Huy Fong but it's not really sri racha so I wish it was called something else (maybe salsa racha). As another poster suggested, ABC (Indonesian) is good too, similar to sri racha but with a stronger chile flavor. Lately I have been using "Fresh Thai chile sauce" (link below) which is *super hot* and has a Sri Racha flavor but definitely hotter. You might try some real sri racha, look for Shark brand or a few others that are actually made in Thailand and available in Asian stores. Arroy Dee!

                            Link: http://importfood.com/sach0601.html

                            1. re: Fritz

                              THANKS for that information. I have a crazed need now to try this and kecap manis--and about 12 others. Bankruptcy by Hot Sauce. Kob-khun kha!

                            2. re: Deb Van D

                              huy fong also makes a chunky chili sauce with chopped red chilies with seeds, vinegar, salt, garlic, no sugar. its hot, but not like haberno hot, and has great mellow flavor to spice up chinese style meals, as well as dishes featuring meats.

                          2. I like Mad Dog 357. It is extermemly hot, although not THE hottest. Not sure you can say that one is both THE HOTTEST and the ABSOLUTE BEST TASTING. Really one has nothing to do with the other.

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: AlanH

                              Absolutley agree, one has nothing to do with the other.
                              The key to good hot food is that it is to hot to eat, but to damn good not to. You will put up with the pain for the flavor.
                              Daves Insanity is hot, but I think the hottest is Blairs 3am Reserve. They claim 2,000,000 scoville units. I would find little use for either, but I do use a dash of Daves in my wing sauce.
                              I'm probably boring, but I like everything Tabassco makes. I also love the original Louisiana Brand hot sauce, not real hot,it takes the place of ketchup at my house.
                              My current favorite is Yucatan Sunshine Habanero sauce.
                              It will likely change cause I'm a sucker for anything I haven't tried and will buy new sauces all the time.
                              Does anyone try that bread eating thing to stop the burning? I read that you are stuck with it for 6 minutes no matter what, and then the only effective relief is clear alcohols, vodka, tequila, etc.

                              1. re: Bob

                                Yes Bob, I'd have to say it's ALL good.

                                There are quite literally HUNDREDS, if not thousands of hot sauces available. To say one is the absolute best is impossible. There are varying ranges of heat, different types of peppers with different flavors, many kinds of smoky sauces, as well as garlicky sauces. I once tasted over 50 kinds in one day at a BBQ festival in Mass-- what an incredible experience. I dont think I've been that awake in years! Dave's is really good for a widely distributed "alternative" brand, but there are many as good or better.

                                1. re: Bob

                                  Blair's 5 AM - Certified 5.5 - 6 Million Scoville Units. Beautifully bottled in an English jar with silver and white Italian resin and Blair's skull. Signed waiver required for purchase. Limited quantities, only 999 were made and the price on E-Bay rises steadily. Each bottle is handmade, signed and numbered & filled with a world record breaking 6 million Scoville Unit oil. "Use extreme caution! This is not a sauce! Avoid any and all skin contact! This is it my friends. The last of the Reserve Series." Ingredients: natural pepper flavoring, soybean oil, Cayenne chilies. Manufactured in New Jersey.
                                  2.0 oz. for $99.99


                                  1. re: AlanH

                                    only 999, and not 666?

                              2. I'm quite fond of Jardine's Blazing Saddle sauce. It's habanero, very hot, but very light on vinegar, so you taste the peppers.


                                This is pretty similar to the formulation made by a friend of mine:


                                1. Can anyone really argue that Dave's Insanity is not the absolute hottest sauce in the market?

                                  1. My favorite restuarant south of NYC is Salsa in Asheville NC. The chef makes a smoked habanero sauce and a smoked jalapeno sauce. The smoky flavor gives added depth and makes it more about the pepper flavor than the heat.

                                    Link below

                                    Link: http://www.hectorsauce.com/

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: Danna

                                      There are dozens of smoked hot sauces. Are you saying this is your favorite, or just that you hadn't had any elsewhere?

                                      Some of these are also very good, I've tried a couple of 'em:

                                      Link: http://www.painisgood.net

                                      1. re: AlanH

                                        You are quite right...I'm not a hot sauce afficianado.

                                        I merely assume, from the extreme deliciousness of everything else this guy makes, that the sauce must be top-of-the-heap as well!

                                    2. I like to have on hand green salsas - a muy picante one and a more moderate one. I use them to kick up green-colored items like guacamole, tomatillo salsa, zucchinis etc. There's not a lot of selection in that color, so I just get what's available.

                                      1. I've been working my way through a few bottles recently. For everyday use, I still like good ol' Cholula. I'm in it for the taste, not the "how dangerously hot can we get this" machismo.

                                        If you are searching for a hot sauce, try this: http://www.peppers.com. Or, if you are ever in Rehoboth Beach, DE they have a retail store in the outlet mall. Thousands upon thousands of bottles lining the walls. It's nirvana for hot sauce fanatics. And, no, I do NOT work for them ;), I just have never seen the variety that they are able to provide anywhere else.

                                        6 Replies
                                        1. re: tbear

                                          And if any hot sauce loving 'hounds are in L.A., go to the Farmers Market, at Third and Fairfax. There is a hot sauce vendor there, maybe not thousands of sauces, but literally hundreds of sauces.

                                          1. re: tbear
                                            Jennie Sheeks

                                            Sometimes I eat Cholula by the teaspoonful, I just like the taste. I don't "get" Tobasco, to me it's oxidized, not aged. I don't get the Sriracha thing either, but I dig that Cholula!

                                            1. re: Jennie Sheeks

                                              Cholula is terrific.
                                              Tabasco in New Orleans is the only way to go.

                                            2. re: tbear

                                              yes, Peppers is amazing. You can get hot sauces from dozens of countries, not to mention most states of the US.

                                              I like to try sauces from the Caribbean. They generally use scotch bonnet peppers, and different combinations of fruits and vegetables.

                                              1. re: tbear

                                                Cholula and Tabasco for me. Tending towards Tobasco more often these days...

                                                1. re: uptown jimmy

                                                  Jimmy, I agree with you. I have had the ultra hot sauces, but I always come back to the regular and then the Chipotle Pepper flavor.

                                              2. For all the posts below that talk about the hottest sauce there is only one that is the "absolute hottest hot sauce" on earth. It is Blair's 5 O'Clock and is priced appropriately at $129.00 per bottle. It is approximately five million Scoville units (not an exaggeration) and CANNOT BE EATEN BY ITSELF. One drop of this literally must be eaten on a food source. There are also numerous disclaimers on the bottle of this habanero "essence."
                                                As for the best tasting hot sauce I would nominate Original Juan.

                                                9 Replies
                                                1. re: Joe H.

                                                  Mo Hotta Mo Hotta's web site sells "The Source" hot sauce and says it is 7,100,000 Scoville units. Who is brave (or dumb) enough to try it?

                                                  Link: http://www.mohotta.com

                                                  1. re: Norm

                                                    Interesting that it was "marked down" from $189.95 to 99.95 for one ounce. Also their price for five o'clock was $250 for two and one half ounces. My guess is that the Blair sauce might actually be a better seller because of the appearance of the jar. At some point the race to have the hottest sauce is going to probably have a litigious end in light of decisions such as the McDonald's coffee incident. These two sauces and several others can really hurt someone if they are stupid enough to even try one drop on their tongue without some kind of dilution.

                                                    1. re: Joe H.

                                                      And if even a mili-drop gets in your eye, my oh my...

                                                      1. re: Joe H.

                                                        Dang! At those prices it sounds like you're talking about illegal recreational drugs. Buying hot sauce for Scoville Units reminds of the guitarist in This Is Spinal Tap whose amp went up to 11. What’s the point?

                                                        1. re: Joe H.

                                                          Tongue, hell. Public service message: when handling chiles, wash your hands *before* you go to the bathroom.

                                                          1. re: Tom Hilton

                                                            Uh-huh. And make sure you put your contacts in before you start cookin'. =ó-O

                                                            1. re: GG Mora

                                                              I was chopping Jalapenos once and a chunk popped right into my eye.

                                                              You cannot imaging the tears, mucus, suffering that followed.

                                                              I now where sun glasses whenever I chop peppers.

                                                              1. re: StriperGuy

                                                                The type of reduced essence that is in these bottles should only be handled with rubber gloves. On Blair's three alarm there was a warning to that effect. When you get into the kind of range of heat that these extreme reductions have they really are approaching a kind of potentially lethal area. I would suspect that sooner or later someone is going to take a teaspoon full of one of these and seriously damage their throat, stomach, etc. My guess is that several years from now these reductions will no longer be available.

                                                          2. re: Joe H.

                                                            BTW, what is the scoville on a can of police pepper spray?????

                                                      2. this is my favorite--not sure if it's the type of hot sauce you had in mind but i noticed people posting about sriracha below...so here's a chinese one. yank sing chili sauce is made by a restaurant of the same name in san francisco. it is only found in asian grocery stores (but not all of them--it's something to search for) but according to their website you can order it by e-mailing them.

                                                        it's a good example of a sauce that's quite spicy but not only about heat--there's alot of flavor. great for spicing up chinese dishes as well as for dipping dumplings! not sour like thai-style sauces (which i also like)...more of a red oil with chili peppers chopped into it. try it!

                                                        Link: http://www.yanksing.com/

                                                        2 Replies
                                                        1. re: Nancy

                                                          I adore Yank Sing's hot sauce, and since I live 1,000 miles away from the source, I'm delighted to learn that I can order it online. Thanks!

                                                          1. re: Abra

                                                            no problem! i was excited to find that too...it is pretty hard to find sometimes. i noticed the XO sauce in kam man foods in new york but didn't see if they had the hot sauce...

                                                        2. Some of my favorites are the two Mountainman sauces: Fire Roasted Habanero Hot Sauce and Roasted Corn, Garlic & Chipotle Sauce. The Habanero Sauce is very hot, but also deep and complex. Your tongue is tingling from the heat but there are other contrasting notes being struck as you savor it. The Roasted Corn, Garlic & Chipotle Sauce is not terribly hot, but it is terribly delicious (I love chipotles). The Habanero Sauce is for sparing use, but you can put a LOT of the Roasted Corn sauce on your dinner (or breakfast, or lunch). If you do a Google search on Mountainman Sauce it will yield a number of Internet vendors.

                                                          I also second the votes for Matouk's sauces. Their West Indian Hot Sauce with papaya and scotch bonnets is wonderful. I had to laugh at the poster who brought Matouk's back from a trip and discovered it was available at home...I once loaded my carry-on bag with Matouk's Hot Sauce, Sorrel Jelly and Guava/Pineapple Jam and brought it back to New York. A friend from Trinidad who lives in Brooklyn laughed when I told her -- all I had to do was go to Flatbush!

                                                          1. melinda's hot sauce is great, its made with carrots, onions, garlic, lime juice and habaneros. comes in a variety of heats and flavors. very good flavor without the vinegar taste.

                                                            Link: http://www.melindas.com/main.html

                                                            1. For a very large selection of hot sauces, check out Mo Hotta Mo Betta's web site.

                                                              Link: http://www.mohotta.com

                                                              1. Cholula has good heat, but doesn't overwhelm, and the flavor goes great on a lot of different foods. Most people I know here in AZ have a bottle in their fridge, along with every hole-in-the-wall taco shop, of which we have many.

                                                                1. In order of preference (with background/qualifiers...haha):

                                                                  1. My friend Art's hot sauce. He uses the perfect combo of peppers (mostly scotch bonnet in my favorite green version) for heat and flavor. He doesn't make it all the time, he makes very small batches and it was only available for purchase in one or two places. The last place I remember was Epicure, the organic store on 106th St and Columbus, and I think it's gone now.

                                                                  2. Cholula is my Tabasco replacement, much better flavor.

                                                                  3. Sriracha! It's funny, if you use Sriracha in a restaurant it's almost like the watered down ketchup in a diner syndrome, it's not as hot. If you buy it yourself, it's far more concentrated. I like to make a fresh pot of jasmine rice and make a few passes with the Sriracha bottle, grab some chopsticks and sit down and watch TV. Better than popcorn! Ha.

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. Mexican Pico Pica "hot" sauce for eggs and potatoes
                                                                    Heavenly Chef - A thick, oil based chili paste for chinese, thai and such.

                                                                    1. I have tasted most (not all) of the hot sauces named so far, and they are all excellent suggestions. But dollar for dollar, I dont think a person can do much better than Crystal hot sauce. It's easily available, it's cheap, plenty hot and yet still flavourful.

                                                                      El Yucateco hot sauces are also very good, especially the chipotle. If you can find it, Cajun Power hot sauce with garlic is another personal favourite.

                                                                      1. Tapatio, Sriracha and Crystal Hot Sauce top the list in our household. I'm a fan of the Chipotle-flavored Tabasco, too. It tastes more like BBQ than Chipotle, in my opinion.

                                                                        1. Crystal was my longtime favorite and I can't find it anymore. Huy Fong Sriracha is pure pleasure but it only goes with certain things. Louisiana is easy to find and quite all right. Tabasco is too hot and always tastes stale.

                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                          1. re: atheorist

                                                                            Crystal has always been my favorite as well.
                                                                            The Crystal plant on Tulane Avenue in New Orleans was severely damaged in Katrina and Baumer Foods, the manufacturer of Crystal Hot Sauce and many other fine Louisiana products, is opening a new plant in Reserve, Louisiana, in St. John the Baptist Parish.
                                                                            I use Crystal as a marinade for grilled meats. Have always bought it in gallon jugs.

                                                                          2. So many hot sauces...

                                                                            But I've always like Lottie's Traditional Barbados Hot Sauce. Scotch Bonnet-Mustard base. Good with eggs.

                                                                            1. Tapatio is a good household staple. The local Latinos must think so too, because my neighborhood mercado has it in all sizes, and very cheap. It's moderately hot, so you can slosh it on your beans and tortillas without endangering your health ;-)

                                                                              1. Keep it simple, baby. Cholula, and Suzie's.

                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                1. re: Covert Ops

                                                                                  Cholula adds "edible food stabilizer" that IMO gives it a cloudy look and taste.

                                                                                  I don't see that added in many other sauces.

                                                                                2. The hottest sauce may not end up being the best tasting, but...
                                                                                  Marie Sharp's Habenero sauce is best commercially availible sauce around. It's made by the original creator of Melinda's, and IMO is much better.

                                                                                  I understand it's going to be availible at Walmart soon, but you should be able to find it at a hot shop.

                                                                                  1. I am fond of sauces that have chipotle peppers, as opposed to habenero. I find the flavor more complex, since it is made with smoked jalepenos.

                                                                                    1. i like:

                                                                                      ground chili and fried garlic oil (mostly for chinese food)
                                                                                      sambal oelek (on anything)
                                                                                      sriracha (on anything)
                                                                                      frank's red hot (for fried chicken)
                                                                                      yucatan sunshine habanero sauce (for eggs)
                                                                                      tabasco (for hasbrowns)

                                                                                      1. I've noticed that habanero and scotch bonnet sauces tend to be loaded with carrots, pineapple, and other such things. Frankly, I don't like fillers in my sauce. Are there simpler sauces commercially available? Simple is why I like Tabasco: vinegar, peppers, salt, plenty of heat. Perfect.

                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: aynrandgirl

                                                                                          You are correct, but from another perspective - it's simply other ingredients to make the sauce taste a certain way.. Habs go well with the ingredients you describe.
                                                                                          Tabasco is a little different because they use a specific pepper that has a specific flavor - tabasco. I personally don't like that flavor, but it is popular. A Habenro sauce made the same way would be 100 times hotter than Tobasco. Dave's hottest Insanity sauce (which is mediocre in my book) might be only habenros, vinager and perhaps lime juice.

                                                                                          1. re: aynrandgirl

                                                                                            I disagree with the term "fillers". As with Walkerwood, the flavor is a broad spectrum that is wonderful. Sauces without "fillers" to me taste "one note".

                                                                                          2. I second the suggestion for Walkerswood Jerk Sauce. Not sure if the jar says "sauce" or what. It's a paste. It's very hot, but also a great, complex flavor. Just a touched added to most soups transform from ordinary to special. I often use just a little dab here and there.

                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                            1. re: scuzzo

                                                                                              Oooo I love jerk sauce. got a link for that?

                                                                                            2. Try these sauces. The guy is a fireman in Indiana and owns acres of habanero fields. I've been buying sauces and powders from him for years. Great flavor, heat, and value.


                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                              1. re: Dinsdale45

                                                                                                Putting this in perspective, crystalline capsaicin(100% pure) is 16,000,000 Scofield units. Pepper spray used by the police is 3-5,000,000 units. How on earth could any liquid that was 5-6,000,000 Scofield units purport to call itself a sauce? There can be no flavor to it! Not only that but it is dangerous with no reward for the risk. Why not just buy a can of Mace to spray on your food?