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Favorite Hot Sauce?

I'm talking about a store-bought sauce that you use regularly. For me it's Melinda's - XXXtra Hot for everyday use, XXXX Reserve for special occasions. Great combination of serious heat with delicious flavor, and not as vinegary as Tabasco and its ilk.

What's yours? And while we're at it, what's the strangest thing you put it on? I'm probably pretty conservative, I just use it with foods like eggs, beans, soups, pizza, subs, hot dogs, sausage & peppers, Mac & cheese, and of course most anything Mexican or otherwise Latin American.

The one thing I don't use it in is hot & sour soup, for that I find hot sesame oil adds good heat while blending better with the original flavor.

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  1. I enjoy a sauce called Island Heat. The flavor and just the right amount of heat. I don't think there's anything strange I like it on. I really like it on popcorn and peanuts.

    1. Sriracha for asian food (specifically chicken and rice bento/ hot chili oil for dim sum)
      Cholula for hispanic food
      green and red tabasco for eggs, potatoes, pizza, burgers

      1 Reply
      1. Tabasco Habanero (not available in my local market, I order it directly from Tabasco) is my day to day at home. If I want to really kick something up, Dave's Insanity. But of course I have an even wider selection of hot sauces in the pantry, for use as the mood or cuisine suits me.

        6 Replies
        1. re: ChinoWayne

          Dave's Insanity--I'm impressed! I like my food hot, but a pinhead sized speck of Dave's hurt me badly!

          1. re: Marge

            To me, any hot sauce that lists capscium oil as an ingredient is no longer actually eligible to be considered a food product. Thats just wrong.

            More power to you though.

            1. re: Marge

              No kidding! I almost caused an international incident once with Dave's Insanity Sauce. I made some marinated grilled steak tips for a friend's pot-luck party using about 1 tsp of Dave's for 3 lbs of beef. I labeled the dish as "seriously hot," and my friends all know when I say that, I really mean it! But my host had some visiting Japanese guests, who apparently didn't understand the warning. Ouch! They could barely swallow it but were too embarrassed to spit it out. Not a good scene.

              1. re: BobB

                I think Dave insanity can cure the common cold.

              2. re: Marge

                Oh, I have learned to be very judicious in my use of Dave's Insanity, just a couple of drops in 16 oz of La Victoria Salsa Ranchera (which La Victoria touts as being hot) will kick it up very nicely. I did have a bottle of Dave's Total Insanity in the house, but after using it all up I decided that I didn't need to punish myself with that stuff anymore (don't want to shorten my life more than I have already).

                Oh, and just remembered, Stubbs Inferno Wing sauce, another awesome one, that will produce truly memorable Buffalo Wings.

                1. re: ChinoWayne

                  Much to my dismay I have learned that Stubbs no longer produces the Inferno Wing Sauce. At least not here in Austin and it is no longer offered on their website. Bummer.

            2. my cheapie standbys are sriracha and tapatio, sometimes cholula as well.

              my other two faves are 1) the "jamaican style" from original juan's, the "pain is good" people. its spicy but not too hot, with a great smoky flavor and a sweetness from pineapple jiuce, and 2) a sauce i make myself from a can of chipoltes in adobado sauce. the can is maybe a buck-fifty at any latino market, i simply puree it in the food processor with a little water, sometimes adding a dash of cumin.

              1 Reply
              1. re: andytee

                I'm with you on the cheapie staples Tapatio and Sriracha. I actually really like mixing them together. Add in some ketchup when eating fries and I'm in heaven.

              2. We like Tapatio and Bufalo for daily use
                LaYu for gyoza-ramen
                Sriracha-whatever else

                1. There is a brand called Valentinos - it's really cheap (around $1.00) for small bottle - with a red cap. It's found almost anywhere in the Mexican aisle - it's got a zing but it's not like Frank's or anything. When I am really craving a good snack -I actually put it over cheese doritos.

                  1. Frank's Red Hot for wings, Bloody Marys and homemade onion rings.
                    Marie Sharp's Hot added to Frank's for wings and on pretty much anything else. Amazing dashed on pork rinds.
                    Sriracha with pho, shumai and the infrequent frozen pizza.
                    Cholula and Tapatio for tacos, burritos, enchiladas, fajitas...
                    Tennessee Red Lightnin' on eggs and in breakfast burritos.

                    1. I knew there was a reason I like Chino Wayne...HOT STUFF!

                      I like the pain series, I think #47 is the garlicky one of preference.

                      We must have 70+ bottles of different things from all over. So
                      the fave is usually the du jour.

                      1. Frank's Hot Sauce is fantastic. I use it on all the usual foods - the only thing I do that may seem strange or unusual is that I like to melt butter, add some Frank's, then dip fried fish into it. Beats the heck out of tartar sauce.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: breadbox

                          Not unusual at all. Buffalo wing sauce in its basic form is just a jug of Frank's hot sauce and sticks of butter.

                        2. We have a poster from New Orleans which is a photo of a rack with about 40-45 bottles of hot sauce. My son, a food processing and packaging engineer, took one look and pointed out that there were only about five different bottles in the bunch, leading him to suspect that just a few firms did the actual manufacturing. Never followed up on this.

                          My wife suddenly developed an acute allergy to capsiacin, which has brought an abrupt end to our adventures in zesty food. Probably going to let my subscription to "Chili Pepper Magazine" expire, alas. Great magazinem by the way, for lovers of spicy foods.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: MikeLM

                            When I was in school I worked part time as a rent-a-cop. One of my assignments was at the processing plant for a major national packaged food brand. During the summer they would process 4 million pounds of tomatoes every week, producing tomato paste, tomato sauce, ketchup. They also processed lots and lots of strawberrys in to jam, etc. There was an area of the plant that was fenced off from everything else, it was called the "Label Room" and inside where shelves and shelves of labels for cans and jars, including this processor's own brand, and another large national brand, not to mention probably hundreds of "store brands".

                            So to a certain extent, yes, a lot of processed food comes out of the same "pipeline" and is easily marketed under any number of labels. But don't give up on all processed food, I can still taste a big difference between the dozen or so hot sauces in my pantry.

                            (Of course eating processed food is another issue altogether. I just finished reading "The Omnivore's Dilemma", very, very interesting.)

                          2. Love Cholula. Kind of creamy. Yum!

                            1. Sriracha - for Asian cuisine
                              Tapatio - for Mexican cuisine, chili, and to add kick to just about any pot of chow
                              Chipotle Tabasco - finished my bottle over the summer and haven't bought it again for some reason. MAN it's good. Nice and smokey.
                              And the finale - CRYSTAL. Better than Frank's, in my opinion. The original Louisiana hot sauce! We especially love it on gyros and pizza. Yuuuum.

                              1. #1 Tabasco (The king of all hotsauce, it's like Budweiser, you may not drink it but it is still #1 in the world)
                                #2 Tapatio (Great on everything, surprisingly shines on Pizza)
                                #3 Sriracha is goo but I like Chunky Sambal Olek
                                #4 Habenero Tabasco (It's rare a hot sauce has heat and flavor, this does)
                                #5 Tie between green Tabasco and Cholula

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: irishkevbo

                                  +1 with every rank irishkevbo did. I vote Cholula, however, over green Tabasco.

                                2. Franks because I like to add flavor vs just heat. Also because it's just good. I put it on all the stuff listed above, as well as cottage cheese with broccoli slaw- sounds weird, but try it!

                                    1. re: ciaobella

                                      +1 for Pickapeppa! Not just hot, it has a wonderful and complex flavor.

                                      1. re: ciaobella

                                        Pick-a-peppa? Original? I like it and use it in my jerk chicken but it's more like HP sauce of Jamaica than a hot sauce.

                                      2. Favorites that haven't been mentioned:
                                        Can't remember the name, but it's Asian chiles in oil, with fried garlic.

                                        Matouk's West Indian Hot Sauce: Made with papaya and scotch bonnet, it has a wonderfully full, sweet flavor while still maintaining a decent heat.
                                        The best balance of heat and flavor, IMO.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: SoCalMuncher

                                          i second matouk's...sweet/hot/addictive
                                          it can be found in west indian markets or online

                                        2. Crystal, Sriracha, and Sambal Oelek

                                          1. Datil-Do-Ya....sauce from the Datil pepper. While I like Cholula, Tapatio, and all the other things in the spectrum, this one is not too hot and has a different flavor that I love.

                                            1. My top three are (in no particular order)

                                              1. Frank's for a standard hot sauce
                                              2. El Yucateco for their habanero hot sauce (the one thats kind of brownish in color)
                                              3. Sam's Famous hot sauce sold at Waterfront Ale House in NYC for the be all, end all hot sauce. Incredible flavor and incredible heat.

                                              1. Smoked Tabasco, Sambal Oelek

                                                1. I just love Melinda's. Their XXXX Reserve is the best hot sauce I have had.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: RichK

                                                    I second the Melinda's -- I love it. On a trip to Corrado's supermarket in New Jersey I discovered that there are tons of other flavors of melindas, including mustard, and mango. None as good as the XXXX Reserve..

                                                  2. 1) Melindas XXX
                                                    2) Sriracha
                                                    3) Tobasco
                                                    4) Tobasco Habanero
                                                    5) El Yucateco (green & red)
                                                    6) Pain is Good Jamaican style
                                                    7) Dave's Insanity

                                                    I collect hot sauces, and buy 2 bottles of each one I see, one to use, and one to collect.

                                                    1. Have to agree with most posts here, but my alltime favorites are from Tabasco in New Iberia, LA. Also funning close is Maya-ik, a Mayan hot sauce, followed by Matouk's Sauce Piquante (particularly good dashed into pineapple preserves and served on cream cheese). Most of the Caribbean sauces are great with jams and preserves...particularly good with raspberry and apricot. And the list goes on!

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: austxtinker

                                                        Austxtinker - do you know how to obtain Maya-Ik? I bought several bottles a few years ago and my supply is now running out! Haven't been able to track it down anywhere.

                                                      2. Having worked in a "hot sauce" store part time the summer right after college and tasting almost every sauce we sold (I stopped once they got beyond 100,000 Scoville units) - I think my favorite would be Marie Sharp's Extra Hot. Also, as someone that has tasted a ridiculous number of different hot sauces I would say that the vast majority actually taste different, but that a few that are bottled more for their funny names than the hot sauce inside pretty much all taste the same (and not really all that good).

                                                        1. Lots of good hot sauces have been mentioned. I too enjoy the likes of Tapatio, Cholula, and Sriracha. One that I find particularly good for everyday use, however, is Smoked Tabasco (aka Chipotle Tabasco). It's excellent on corn chips dipped in hummus, crispy raw veggies, or to add just a little heat to southwestern/Mexican dishes.

                                                          1. Hazmat. Killer--literally--on pork rinds. The stuff is so fiery that everything else leaves me vaguely disappointed these days.

                                                            2 Replies
                                                            1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                              Wish I had some. I bought a whole chicharron the size of a saddle earlier today.

                                                            2. Franks
                                                              Marie Sharp's from Belize
                                                              Does Gojuchang count?

                                                              1. I am fond of Secret Aardvark Habanero Sauce, available in the Pacific northwest or from http://www.secretaardvark.com/

                                                                1. For me it's sriracha, sambal oelek, sambal badjak and Nali hot and garlic (from Malawi).
                                                                  I'm not a big fan of tabasco and frank's hot sauce.
                                                                  There are a lot of the other sauces mentioned that I never ever even have heard of...

                                                                  1. I'm just curious- what do y'all use on greens- particularly collards? I almost always use the hot sauce that has actual sport peppers in the bottle but I can't recall the brand!

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: Clarkafella

                                                                      Plain ol' Tabasco is great on spinach. Lots and lots of Tabasco.

                                                                        1. re: echoparkdirt

                                                                          Two years ago I was visiting Fortaleza, Brasil, and went to the Super Extra market in town.
                                                                          This is a large business, great selections, with 55 check-out lanes.

                                                                          Near the fresh fish department a large crowd of 50 or so people was crowded arouund a booth. My neighbor and I went over to see what the fuss was all about. It turned out to be a vendor with free samples of Louisiana Pimenta, or pepper sauce, red or green.

                                                                          I was thrown into the conversation, and asked if I also used the products. I'm Swiss, but having lived in North America I replied that yes, I knew the product, and liked using it with meals. The flood gates poured opened.

                                                                          Shoppers began grabbing for bottles, and in a short time the vendor was cleared out. I was embaressed, but my neighbor thought it pretty funny. The vendor thanked me and went to get more stock, thus closing his display stand.

                                                                          Today, whenever I have dinner with my neighbors, the wife always places a bottle of Louisiana Green sauce next to my plate, breakfast, lunch, dinner, or even dessert. Like a flag of another country at your table at a restaurant in Japan.

                                                                          1. re: SWISSAIRE

                                                                            Not exactly Brazil--Colombia, actually--but here's a pepper sauce that tastes very much like Tabasco. Really delicious stuff. I always keep a bottle on hand.


                                                                            1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                              What foods do you like to use your Amazon Hot Sauce on ?

                                                                              Do you then buy it by the case ?

                                                                              1. re: SWISSAIRE

                                                                                I slap it on pork rinds, use it in true Texas chili, sprinkle it on green beans. One of the very best medium-hot sauces I've encountered. Versatile and tasty.

                                                                                But no, I don't buy it by the case. Don't go through it that quickly.

                                                                                1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                  Thank you.

                                                                                  Your description sounds very good.

                                                                                  I'm going to get my son in California to send a bottle or two over here.

                                                                        2. Crystal.

                                                                          If I really want to blow the doors off something with ridiculous heat dave's insanity.

                                                                          1. Texas Pete. We go through it like water.
                                                                            Second is Sirracha and when I am lucky to get my hands on it--Tunisian Harrissa.

                                                                            1. this is an older thread, but I just wanted to give a +1 to Valentina's hot sauce and extra hot sauce. I prefer the extra hot, but it's still not blow your head off hot and it's got GREAT flavor