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Really hot natural pepper sauces?

Most really spicy hot sauces seem to use pepper extracts, whose flavor I cannot stand. I greatly prefer the taste of real peppers and spices. I particularly like Purgatory's _Cat Scratch Fever_ and Habby Nero's _Slap Your Mama_, complex sauces with plenty of heat and flavor. No xanthan gum, either.

Anybody have some recommendations for natural pepper sauces with a punch? Tabasco's Habanero sauce doesn't count (lacks punch).

CaJohn's Talon and Sauce 10 look interesting. Would a chilihead with still-functioning taste buds be able to handle them?

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  1. CaJohn's has a really good hot sauce called H. D. H (Harold's Dangerously Hot) sauce. Its my favorite. Tastes great, no extract (chileheads say that tastes like burned cat) and plenty of heat. His buddy Jim Campbell makes a fine sauce called Ralph Righteous that he sells here http://www.wildpepper.com/Merchant2/m...

    Plenty hot too, just not as much flavor. Good luck

    1. This my friend is my all time favoring salsa picante.


      Once you try this, you'll be hooked.

      8 Replies
      1. re: bkhuna

        I love this sauce and the regular red sauce from El Yucateco. The green one is hot, but the color freaks me out.

        1. re: srr

          The green one is my favorite! I bought a bottle from my local Hispanic grocery, and the man at the counter looked at me suspiciously and asked, "You like this?"

          I make a mean egg salad with diced fresh jalapenos in place of celery and a few dashes of the green El Yucateco.

          1. re: savina

            Agreed, the green El Yucateco is good stuff - and for some strange reason, found as a table sauce in any number of suburban Boston Mexican restaurants! Still, although it's comparable heatwise, it's not as flavorful as Melinda's.

            1. re: BobB

              Different flavor, not habanero based. That color is crazy, but the flavor and heat level are really good.

              1. re: prunefeet

                No, it is habañero based, it even says Green Habañero Sauce on the label.

                From their Web site (http://www.elyucateco.com):
                Red contains "fresh red habañero peppers, tomato, and select spices and seasonings" pungency 5790 Scoville units.
                Green contains "fresh green habañero peppers, garlic, select spices and seasonings", pungency 8910 Scoville units.

                1. re: BobB

                  Sorry, my mistake! The color threw me I guess.

          2. re: srr

            I have the red and the green El Yucateco sauce in my fridge, at home, and like them alot despite them containg sorbic acid I believe, I checked the label last night while I was cooking dinner. I typically prefer the sauces with no artificial ingredients, but I do like the heat of El Yucateco.

          3. re: bkhuna

            I tried it today. It was real good.

          4. Melinda's XXXX Reserve. All their sauces have a lovely fruity habañero flavor, and this one is the top of the line in terms of heat. It's no Dave's Insanity, but has a respectable burn.

            Check it out at http://www.melindas.com/

            3 Replies
            1. re: BobB

              I don't need Dave's Insanity levels of heat. A respectable burn sounds good, though. I see Melinda's also has a Red Savina sauce that looks interesting.

              1. re: aynrandgirl

                It does indeed! I've never seen that one before, hopefully it will start showing up in the same stores that carry the other Melinda's.

                1. re: aynrandgirl

                  A drop of Dave's can cure the common cold.

              2. Take a look over on www.hotsauceblog.com and www.fieryfoods.com.

                Do you ever make your own sauce?

                There used to be "F*ck off and Die" - a hot sauce that was made from currants and assorted goodness. I don't know if they still make it but that was a wicked high.

                1. I currently have a bottle of Talon. It is fairly hot. Krakatoa is also very hot and tasty. Definitely check out hotsauceblog.com though. They have lots of great recommendations.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: ubuwalker31

                    How hot is "fairly hot"? Any idea what the approximate Scoville Heat value is? I tried Dave's Insanity once. Nothing but pure pain. It's what, 50k SHU? I've also tried Endorphin Rush (an extract sauce so it tastes awful), which if one online retailer is to be believed is ~35k SHU. That's about my current heat limit. I usually want to back off a bit from that, though, since if the sauce is good I like to use plenty of it. I've read a fair amount of stuff on hotsauceblog.com, but GoonieNick is so off the charts in his capsaicin tolerance that I'm not sure I can trust his reviews regarding the heat level of the sauces. Talon and Krakatoa do look tasty, though.

                  2. Not super duper hot but respectible is Cholula. It's made from dried peppers so it has an earthier flavor than a habanero type sauce, but it's really delicious and loaded with flavor. And it has a very decent kick without being just stupid. I also like yucatan sunshine, but I'm willing to bet is has xanthum gum. let me also second Melinda's.

                    6 Replies
                    1. re: prunefeet

                      Cholula does have xantham gum as an ingredient.

                      I really like Melindas as well.

                      1. re: swsidejim

                        My bottle of Cholula lists as 'edible food stabilizer', which could well be xantham gum. With vinegar as the first ingredient, it may be hard to produce a sauce that does not separate without something like this.

                        Salsa Huichol lists vinegar last, and does not list a stabilizer. Yet it has a thicker, stable consistency. While I don't want to put too much trust in the labels (and the convention that ingredients are listed in proper order), it is possible that Huichol is relying more on pepper puree for body.


                        1. re: paulj

                          You might want to read all about Salsa Cholula; it's made about half an hour from where I live.

                          Click on the link below and go to the article called "From That Little Beginning".


                          Link: http://mexicocooks.typepad.com

                      2. re: prunefeet

                        If you like Cholula you might want to take a stab at Valencia. It's cheap - less than two bucks for a bottle - and has a particular taste that appeals to me. It probably has chemicals though - it's the hot sauce I discovered when I asked for hot sauce at a Jalisco-style restaurant and they grabbed a bottle of Valencia for me from the back.

                        1. re: hooliganyouth

                          Salsa Huichol is another in the 'earthy' category. Ingredients are listed as chili peppers, spices, iodized (chemical :-)) and vinegar. Not as hot a Cholula though.

                          I was given a sample set of Marie Sharps. The hottest, Belizean Heat has the oil. The next step down does not.


                        2. I love Marie Sharp's Fiery Hot Sauce. It has a great fragrant boquet from the Habaneros and a perfectly potent, lingering heat. The ingredients are listed as: Select red habanero peppers, fresh carrots, onions, key lime juice, vinegar, garlic and salt.


                          I've also enjoyed the El Yucateco's sauces for which bkhuna has provided a link.

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: Big Willi

                            Agreed on Marie Sharps. The entire product line is amazing and the Fiery Hot fits the OPs wants exactly. It would be hard to find something better.

                            1. re: Big Willi

                              Interesting - the ingredients are practically identical to Melinda's: "Choice red habanero peppers, fresh carrots, onions, lime juice, vinegar, garlic, and salt"

                              Has anyone here compared the two? Are they possibly related? Or is this some traditional Caribbean recipe they both share? Melinda's is produced in Costa Rica and Marie Sharp in Belize.

                              1. re: Big Willi

                                I couldn't stand the Marie Sharp's. Tastes too much like carrot juice.

                                1. re: aynrandgirl

                                  Please let us know what you think after you have a chance to try Melinda's. As I said earlier, these two have basically the same list of ingredients, but that doesn't mean they'll taste the same.

                              2. Other than the el Yucateco, there is a small mom and pop brand out of San Diego called Ring of Fire. They have a XXX Habenero that is all natural, hand made and bottled, and isn't all that hot. No where near insane.

                                Hell, you can even call up the company and talk to Mike, the owner. It has to be the most flavorful salsa picante I know of.

                                My "ketchup" is Tapatio. I must go throw a bottle a week. I swear kids in Mexico must be weaned on this stuff. Again, not hot, but good on everything.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: bkhuna

                                  I'll throw in a vote for Tapatio.

                                  Sometimes the "good on everything" factor outweighs the "will melt paint off a truck" heat factor. Not always but sometimes.

                                  1. I just made an order at Peppers.com: Talon & HDH from CaJohn's and Iguana Radioactive Pepper Sauce. If only I didn't have to wait for shipping! The El Yucateo Extra-Hot Habeñero looks good, too. The local Mexican grocers must have some, so I'll look there. They probably have the Melinda's 4X Reserve, too, which I'm sure the chain groceries around here won't carry since Pace Hot salsa is too much for them (they do have the regular Melinda's that's about as hot as Tabasco).

                                    5 Replies
                                    1. re: aynrandgirl

                                      I don't know where you're located, but here in Boston, Whole Foods carries several levels of Melinda's, sometimes even the 4X.

                                      1. re: BobB

                                        yes, most 'upscale' markets seem to have a decent hot sauce selection here in FL also. hate to sound like a broken record with my marshall's recs -- but marshall's, tj maxx, ross stores etc often carry a few interesting brands of hot sauce as well.

                                        1. re: hitachino

                                          They carry hot sauce?!? I always thought of them as clothing stores.

                                          1. re: aynrandgirl

                                            oddly enough they have all kinds of gourmet salts, chutneys, jams, chocolates, coffees, teas and i've seen a few different hot sauces (not a large selection, but different from what grocery stores carry)

                                        2. re: BobB

                                          Tampa, FL. No Whole Foods, but we do have a Wild Oats. Not much in the way of upscale markets. Sweetbay wants to be, but fails.

                                      2. Just got my order of Talon and HDH. HDH had an immediate, intense heat that went away fairly quickly. With its piercing heat I couldn't readily distinguish the spices that accent this sauce.

                                        Given its ingredients, I thought Talon would be much hotter than HDH but it isn't, at least to start. It has a smooth, even heat that builds as you eat and lingers for a while after you stop. I couldn't taste the vinegar, which IMO is good. I thought the Fataliis overshadowed the flavor of the Red Savinas.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: aynrandgirl

                                          Coming from Africa, I've spent a year thus far, sampling every possible spicy sauce I've come across - and thus far, it seems that what constitutes 'very spicy' in the US, in Africa would be considered 'mild' or 'medium' spicy. Realized I have to hunt down birds eye chili and make my own chili oil for cooking, if I want to get the levels of burn that's normal for me..

                                        2. I just got my order of Melinda's 4X, Melinda's Red Savina, and CaJohn's Sauce 10. Both Melinda's were as tasty as the poster's here said. I liked the Red Savina better than the 4X; about the same heat but the Red Savina has less carrot flavor and lately I'm liking Red Savinas more than regular habañeros (both have far less carrot than Marie Sharp's sauces; carrot is evil). Maybe it's the Thai I had for lunch, but Sauce 10 wasn't as hot as I thought it would be. Still significantly hotter than the Melinda's sauces, but for me Talon seemed quite a bit hotter than Sauce 10. Sauce 10 has better flavor than Talon, though, and the burn did build as you ate more and more. Fortunately, recovery was quick. Btw, anybody have a ballpark estimate of the Scoville rating for Sauce 10?