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Oct 15, 2007 09:37 AM

Hot sauce - What do you have in the house

Been a single hot sauce man for the past 20 years, Tobasco. But I was running out so I went and got a few different bottles from the grocery. They were all so much cheaper. I got Texas Pete, Crystal, El Tapatio (sp?) and Tobasco. I ended up doing my version of the Test Kitchen and I got to say none could really hold a candle to Tobasco for me.

Are there hot sauces out there that I should try? I looking for one generally available? I know there are hundreds of boutique hot sauces.

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  1. I am Tabasco (1st) & Crystal man. I haven't found a boutique sauce that comes close. Look at the ingredients of Tabasco & Crystal: red peppers (tabasco & cayenne respectively, vinegar & salt. That's hard to improve on. So many sauces tout their heat level, but there's no flavor there. Can't beat the classics.

    1 Reply
    1. re: rfneid

      Gotta second Crystal's. Simple and great. Amazing in a wing sauce.

    2. While technically not a sauce, I like using sambal oelek, the Indonesian chili paste, or sriracha, a more sauce-like concoction of chili and garlic. I am not a big fan of tabasco because of the pronounced vinegar flavor...

      1 Reply
      1. re: linguafood

        i agree with yours. i love chili pastes rather then 'hot sauces' technically... and the vinegar in tabasco is a bit too much sometimes.

      2. I'm a Cholula guy for most things. It's got a good combination of heat and flavor. For some stuff, like fried chicken, I like Frank's Red Hot. It's got a bit less heat and a bit more sweet.

        5 Replies
        1. re: ajs228

          I have been hooked on Melinda's habenero sauce for years. I like it because it is not over garlic'd, and the acid is lime juice not vinegar. It can be hard to find locally and when I see I will buy a dozen bottles at a time. It is from Costa Rica

          1. re: jscott65

            Not that hard to find, I've bought it at various Shaw's and Whole Foods. I go through a lot of their XXX, it's my basic house sauce, and always keep a bottle of XXXX Reserve on hand for when I need extra oomph.

            I also keep Tabasco on hand for wimpy guests and certain recipes that need that vinegar kick, and El Yucateco Green for visual variety. Try alternating stripes of Melinda's and Yucateco Green on a burrito!

            1. re: jscott65

              I found that Melinda's is an excellent substitution for Marie Sharp's (Belize) carrot-based habanero sauce. I was highly skeptical at first and regarded the product as some lame knock-off (only because I was across the border where there was no Marie Sharp's) but have since reformed my opinion. I see it frequently in grocery stores (I'm in Portland).

              I also like Tapatio (for mexican food/egg tacos), Crystal if I have collard greens to season, and Sriracha for pho.

              1. re: TimeMachine

                I like Melinda's a lot more than Marie Sharp's because it doesn't have nearly as strong a carrot flavor. The Melinda's 4X and Red Savina are my favorites.

            2. re: ajs228

              Second Cholula. Also like Durkee's (or "Frank's) Hot Sauce. For a little sweet-hot, I like Tiger Sauce, too. Have also sriracha and mango hot sauce (from the Indian store). Oh, and the green Tabasco.

            3. I like that habanero sauce you get at the Mexican grocery--the stuff that's a shade of green not found in nature. A little goes a long way. We have a bottle of Tabasco in the refrigerator that comes out for things from time to time. And then there's the aforementioned "crack" condiment, Sriracha.

              4 Replies
              1. re: revsharkie

                If it's a habanero sauce, that green stuff would be Yucateco XXX.

                1. re: aynrandgirl

                  Actually, I think the XXX is a pale brown. There's a few different grades available according to their site. But the Red and Green are the two that's most commonly found. The XXX is a little harder to find. Heat level goes from Red to Green to brown XXX.

                  I tend to like the green for chicken and the red for beef or chicken. The XXX is for things like pizza or hot wings when I want that serious punch of heat and flavor.

                    1. re: Eat_Nopal

                      Yup. A gross color but best flavor.

              2. Pico Pica!
                Not Vinegar base, but a smooth, tasty, and HOT sauce.
                Only on the West Coast though.