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The love of hot sauce and all things spicy

I'm addicted to hot stuff. To me, many things are not worth eating if they don't make my mouth tingle and nose run a little. It's not just the heat that's important, but the flavors too. My vacations often revolve around trying and buying different hot sauces.

Some of my favorite hot sauces:

Marie Sharp's Hot (not Fiery Hot) from Belize is one of my favorite all-purpose hot sauces. It's made with carrots which I think impart a nice flavor. Marie also makes a grapefruit hot sauce which is nice.

Bello Yellow Pepper Sauce (from Dominica) is delicious on eggs or a breakfast sandwich. It's a scotch bonnet/mustard sauce. I have tried other West Indian brands of this type of sauce but this particular brand is my favorite.

Ass Kickin' Roasted Garlic Hot Sauce is quite tasty.

Of course I enjoy Sriracha sauce on anything remotely Asian (or burgers or hot dogs). I don't know if there are differences in brands but I usually buy the one with the rooster on it.

The other day I ate in a Portuguese restaurant and there was a lovely homemade pepper sauce on the table that was quite hot!

I just love hot peppers too -- in the summer I am throwing fresh ones in everything. When we make roasted tomato sauce we often include a whole hot pepper in the roasting pan to add some kick! I also like to roast larger ones on the grill, remove the skins and use to top burgers.

I'm looking forward to my upcoming trip to Mexico City and hope to find some delicious spicy things!

Does anyone else share my love for hot sauce? I'd love some suggestions for new things to try!

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  1. I coworker pickled about 6 different kinds of hot peppers along with garlic and onions. I took it home, drained off most of the vinegar and pureed it. It makes the best sandwich spread. My dad also makes his own hot pepper spread by drying a couple different kinds of peppers and then frying them up in a cast iron pan with oil. He mashes them into a paste and jars it. So good. It's takes about 4-6 months to make (b/c of the drying) but it's definitely worth the wait.

    1 Reply
    1. re: krisrishere

      Both of those things sound good. A coworker of mine dried a bunch of summer hot peppers, too, but then he just ground them up dry to use as pepper flakes throughout the year.

    2. It seems I spice up everything, but it has to have a balance of taste and heat. For example, habeneros have great heat, but I don't care for the taste. I prefer jalepenos, crushed red goes into just about everything...a little cayenne, some black...you can get the heat to kick in early or after a bite or two...hot lips or hot mouth. Fridge is full of hot sauces and I love cherry peppers straight. One peeve is when you order extra hot wings and all they do is pour so much wing sauce on that the vingar almost chokes you but the heat is the same.

      2 Replies
      1. re: BigSteve

        I totally agree -- balance of taste and heat is important. I'm not into those super-extreme hot sauces that only serve to make your mouth burn without much added flavor.

        I have to say though -- I have acquired a taste for habaneros. I think they have an interesting fruity flavor/aroma. If I use fresh ones, I remove the seeds!

        1. re: sadiefox

          I live in the SF/Bay area with a substantial hispanic population. So, hot sauces at hispanic groceries are abundant. I have eaten my way through a bazillion of these little bottles of hot salsa, and these are hand-down superior to the rest for flavor, complexity, freshness, and also heat:
          Salsa Huichol Hot Sauce
          Yahualica Salsa Muy Picante
          Funny thing: the little plastic bottles I get 'em are 6 oz, cost less than a $1 each, and last a long time since a little goes a long way.

      2. I like Dave's Soyabi sauce. It's much milder than his Insanity Sauce, but more complex in taste.

        And that Portuguese sauce was probably Piri-Piri. Great stuff but powerful!

        2 Replies
        1. re: FriedClamFanatic

          I've tried piri piri at a number of Portuguese chicken places in Toronto and found it very tame in terms of heat. Is this abnormal?

          1. re: Humbucker

            The ones I have had come directly from Portugal and they were pretty powerful

        2. You should give Tapatio a try. It's a mexican hot sauce that is ubiquitous in the taqueria's in the bay area.

          3 Replies
            1. re: Passadumkeg

              I actually dislike Tapatio...but maybe its an acquired taste. I'm originally from from the Delaware/ Pennsylvania area and its on the table of every Mexican eatery there.

              1. re: marietinn

                Hey, I grew up in NJ and there was no Mex. Learned to like it visiting my daughter in Austin. Prefer a fresh pico de gallo, though.

          1. Some of my favorite sauces:

            Habby Nero's: Slap Your Mama
            Purgatory: Cat Scratch Fever
            Csigi: Salubrious Savina
            CaJohn's: Sauce 10
            Melinda's: Red Savina
            El Yucateco: XXX Hot
            Brother Bru-Bru's: African Hot Sauce
            www.asskickin.com: Ass Kickin' Roasted Garlic Hot Sauce
            Galito's Habañero Peri-Peri Sauce

            1. count me in ! I go through hot sauces like kids go through ketchup, and I love any product or dish that is hot and spicy.

              Favorite spicy snacks include Dave's Insanity popcorn and Dave's Burning Nuts.....firecracker peanuts in general.....

              I am currently addicted to Sriracha and put it on everything..doesn't have to be Asian. I don't actually find Sriracha to be all that hot.

              I have these out in my cupboard but haven't yet tried:

              1 Reply
              1. re: im_nomad

                Ooh, those dessert hot sauces look awesome! i will have to get some! I love spicy chocolate things as well as spicy fruit -- especially chiles with mango and pineapple.

              2. I'm a big Melinda's fan: XXX Habañero, XXXXtra Reserve Habañero, and Red Savina. Nice balance of flavor and heat.

                1. Related to this post, I've been to Hot Sauce shoppes in both Key West FL and St Michaels MD.(Two different companies) There must be over 1500 different hot sauces on the market. Funy how many of us tend to go back to 4 or 5 "regulars"

                  One I tried a few years back and love now with fish and pork is Hoboken Eddies' Merlie's Magic Sauce. It's a blend of pineapple and orange as well as some heat. I've also been known to make my own version with cut-up pineapple slices, mandarin oranges, a bit of garlic, a bit of Chinese Plum Sauce, a good hit of Sirracha, and about a cup of Marsala that is allowed to simmer down to a paste (almost).

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: FriedClamFanatic

                    There was a time when I collected hot sauces and had a couple of dozen, but eventually I found that there were only a few I really liked, so now I just buy those. I'm always open to new suggestions, though.

                  2. I need a lot of heat on all but Japanese food.

                    I buy spices, including a lot of different chile powders, in Asia and Africa; buy dried chiles all over, but especially in Central America and parts of Asia; dry chiles and grind when I have stocks of fresh; and I travel with ground chile.

                    And, I make my own chile sauces - there isn't a commercial hot sauce that is just right.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                      I'm SOO with you on this.
                      I make my own giardiniera every year, and also my own bottled hot sauce. It's considered currency among those who know about it. I go for a nice balance of heat, but more for flavor. Not so much vinegar, but mostly garlic, and heat, with a touch of chipotle smokiness. I always layer the heat so there are about 6 different chile varieties involved, and you can really observe what each one does to your mouth when you try it. Of course, some chiles don't follow the normal rules that they are typically known for, but usually, they do, and I can typically figure out what chiles have been used in most things that I taste, by how the heat presents itself.

                      to the OP -
                      Has anyone mentioned kimchi? or Giardiniera? Being raised in Chicago, I was brought up with hot giardiniera which, in general, is a blend of chopped hot peppers, carrots, garlic, cauliflower, and celery in oil and vinegar. I make mine with habaneros, scotch bonnets, and serranos. I chop it finely enough so it spreads easily - very fine dice, and have it soking in a touch of vinegra and evoo with a generous amount of basil. You wanna take any sammich, pizza, or pasta dish to new heights? Come on by.

                      1. re: gordeaux

                        Thanks... yes I love kimchi too. I have never had a hot giardiniera like you describe. All the giardiniera I've ever had was not particularly hot and not chopped finely. It sounds delicious!

                    2. My Aunt who's a lurker on here and TOO AFRAID TO POST..sent me this great website. www.pepperfool.com They have recipes, resources to get fresh/dried chiles, even restaurant reviews for spicy food. Check it out.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: krisrishere

                        Whoa, Momma!, er, Auntie! That one is a keeper! The recipes are awesome. Thanks

                        1. I have a bit of a hot sauce fetish. I used to buy many different kinds, then started making my own.
                          Was in Belize about two years ago. Marie Sharp was on every table in every restaurant we were in (good thing too, as alot of the food was, to me, somewhat bland). Also stopped into Pepperland, the home of "Hot Mama's" on the Wetsern Highway - they're Belize's 'other' sauce company.
                          I liked the Belize stuff so much that I now make my own. (I posted the recipe here http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/559359 ).

                          I remember my siracha discovery a few years back - I ate it on EVERYTHING. I've since scaled back.

                          Piri piri is the 'national' hot sauce of Portugal, but I'm guessing the sauce on the restaurant table was not piri piri. Most portuguese I've been to plop a bowl (or even a small pitcher) of house-made 'sauce' with a brush in it. Its an oil-infused ground chili type of sauce and quite tasty (and sometimes very hot).

                          There's an Italian restaurant we frequent that has a really nice condiment on the table. Basically ground chili mixed with olive oil. I've tried to replicate it trying this and that. After a dozen or so tries, finally figured out 1. cherry peppers 2. grind with hand grinder 3. mix with olive oil and a pinch of salt (removed the seeds so the wife can enjoy). Delicious.

                          In a chinese restaurant, we'll spoon hot sauce on the plate and stir in some soy, a nice mix for anything. Or I'll ask for their house chili oil. Some places do a fantastic job, toasting the chilis and infusing the oil, others only do a mediochre job.

                          Bit of a problem I have is cooking. I'll season stuff and most people find its just too hot to eat. I scale back and its maybe the same as adding black pepper or something. Everyone is still sweating. Now, when cooking for anyone but myself, I do not add any heat component at all. I guess its a matter of tolerance and built up resistance.

                          1. I'm a hot sauce junkie as well. I actually try not to buy too many different varieties, and try to avoid the gourmet stuff, because I tend to like almost every sauce I've ever tried, and they can get very expensive. Pretty much my one exception is anything chipotle. I love jalapeno, but once it's roasted, it seems to me that something has gone horribly wrong.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: madgreek

                              I can understand your feelings I agree to a point. I'll use hot sauce on almost anything as a condiment, but the smoky chipotle seems a bit overpowering. However, used as an ingredient (either sauce or in adobe) can add fantastic background notes of silky smoke. Things like salsas, chili, soup, stews, etc

                            2. Raw, New Mexican style salsa. I make this quite frequently.
                              Plus we are adding chipotle powder, chipotles in adobo, red pepper flakes, cayenne, jalapenos or Asian chile sauces, like sriracha, all the time to our cooking. I think it is addictive.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Scargod

                                Love hot sauce.

                                Dave's Insanity
                                Melinda's Habanero
                                Valentina Black Label (not very hot but good on Mexican food)
                                Harry's hot sauce
                                El Yucateco Chile Habanero
                                Blair's Pure Death
                                Spontaneous Combustion
                                Endorphin Rush

                                I could go on forever. Love it to be so hot it hurts!

                              2. Currently on my hot sauce shelf:

                                Datil Do It Devil Drops
                                CaJohn's Fatalli Puree
                                Amazon Green Pepper Sauce
                                African Rhino Peri Peri Sauce
                                Tennessee Red Lightning
                                Matouk's Flambe'

                                And a few others I can't recall at the moment.

                                1. One of my favorite spicy things to eat: Hot pepper dipped in Gochujang. Koreans know how to eat their peppers. :)

                                  1. I am currently obsessed with chili oil. Delicious on vegetables, stir fries, noodles and eggs.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: sadiefox

                                      Also very good with egg rolls and Chinese dumplings.

                                    2. Go to your nearest Indian grocery store. Buy a few jars of Indian pickle. You'll like some better than others. Also buy packages of Indian snack mixes. These are the South Asian equivalent of Beer Nuts, Cheetos or Trail Mix. Both the pickles and snack mixes will give you taste sensations you've probably never had before. The pickles tend to be intense, so try little tiny bits with bland food such as potatoes or rice to see what they taste like. That's how Indians use them, as a condiment to liven up bland foods. I've developed a liking for Indian pickle and crunchy peanut butter on sourdough toast or toasted English muffins.

                                      There's also a spicy Indian ketchup-like tomato product called Maggi (that's the brand) Chatpat Sauce.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: emu48

                                        I've had Indian pickles from my local Indian restaurant. I do like them! I will have to dig deeper in the Indian Grocery, there is one not far from me but not particularly convenient so I don't make it there too often. Thanks for the suggestions!

                                      2. Like many I too love spicy foods. I prefer a balance between bitter, salty, sweet, sour and umami. I would rather taste what the sauce complements as well as the sauce.

                                        As others do, I also make my own hot sauces/spice blends (i.e. berbere, harissa, chili pastes)/rubs as I plain enjoy doing it and like to make things from scratch. Not to mention making exactly what I want and leaving out what I do NOT want. I grow my own peppers, etc.