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What's your favorite hot sauce?

Should I get Tabasco? Frank's? Another brand? Do you use different ones for different foods?

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  1. Texas Pete. I love it so much I have the barcode tattooed on me.

    1 Reply
    1. re: friek

      Have you tried Texas Pete Extra Hot? It's amazing!

    2. I like Cyrstal, not as bitter as Tabasco in my opinion.

      1. I like a brand called Herdes. Very good.

        1. I mostly use Frank's or Crystal for food at table, and Tabasco for cooking. I used to buy one with papaya (?) called Atomic something or other, when I lived in NC, but that's been years ago. It was hot and fruity, both, interesting combo.

            1. re: alwayscooking

              Except (of course) Sriracha! So different than a hot sauce.

              1. re: alwayscooking

                I use sriracha a lot!!! But love Franks for everything else

                1. re: lexpatti

                  If you like sriracha, you'll probably also like sambal oelek (I'm assuming (probably incorrectly) you haven't already tried it). Sambal is sriracha without the sugar and garlic, and as important, with texture via its seeds. A flavorful and interesting hot "paste" (the description used by the manufacturer of the sriracha and sambal I use, Huy Fong Foods (the "Rooster" brand)).

                2. re: alwayscooking

                  I also like sriracha. I like to add it to my franks when I'm making my wings, gives it a different flavor. Also love spicing up oriental with it. Besides that i like franks, I like that franks is kind of thick.

                  1. re: djfrizz

                    HOLD the EFFIN PHONE -
                    there are so many varieties of sriracha!!!! who knew???

                    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Fly...

                    1. re: thew

                      I was SO pumped and jacked when I saw that wikipedia reference a few months ago but, unfortunately, the maker of Flying Goose sauces doesn't sell in the U.S. I found a distributor in the U.K. (scorchio.com) but they only ship up to 1 kg (about 1 bottle) at considerable price. I'm dying to try those other flavors. I will find a way.

                      1. re: thew

                        I did, but every time I mention it in a post I get pooh-poohed that only the one with the rooster is the real deal. Was at a grocery in Chinatown (Boston) the other day and saw 3 or 4 different brands.

                  2. re: alwayscooking

                    But which Melinda's? I keep three around: XXX Habañero, XXXXtra Reserve Habañero, and Red Savina, in ascending order of heat.

                    1. re: BobB

                      Exactly! and aren't they great? (altho Sriracha seems to me a different beast - am I missing someting?!)

                      1. re: alwayscooking

                        And along the same lines but quite a different beast: XO Sauce, but only the authentic one (i.e. not those cheap imitations that skimp on the good ingredients and made with MSG).

                        It happens to be my favourite "hot sauce" for the moment. Basically a concoction of shredded Chinese ham, conpoy, chilies, dried shrimp and dried shrimp eggs, it is highly addictive and goes well on many Asian dishes to liven it up. I even eat it with plain rice or noodles.

                        Just wondering if anyone else on this board shares the same sentiments.

                        1. re: tarteaucitron

                          I use XO Sauce when cooking most seafood dishes {steamed crabs with ginger and scallion,winter melon with dried shrimp soup, whole fried snapper with sweet and sour sauce} but balked at spending $ 24.99 for a 4 oz bottle for the good stuff. Is it that different/better than the bottle I buy for $9.99?.

                          1. re: currymouth

                            For that price, I think you are ripped off, even though it might be the only option where you are. Where I live in Toronto, I think they sell for about $12, and I mean the one from the brand LKK, the better version. I have looked at all the other brands I could find, and for less than half that price, I decided they are not worth it, looking at the ingredient list.

                            But oh, by the way, I am currently enjoying from a big jar of the home-made version, thanks to one of my aunts. Much more affordable!

                          2. re: tarteaucitron

                            I'm more of the minimalist type when it comes to chili sauces. Lee Kum Kee's Chiu Chow chili oil is my favorite in that category.

                            1. re: dpan

                              Actually that is the other kind of spicy staple I keep, and you are right, it's for the simple, minimalist needs.

                              But then, there is always the time when you have nothing to build a meal out of, and the XO sauce saves the day.

                    2. I use different hot sauces for different foods.
                      Texas Pete's is the one that lives on the kitchen table. Buffalo Chipotle works well with beans.
                      A habanero like Dave's, Dinosaur's or Melinda's is for when the situation requires a bit more punch.
                      Sriracha is for when food goes east (far east,) a must for bun and pho.
                      I make my harissa and new mexican red (which I label "mild.') I also used to make one that was rocoto chili based, but I haven't done that for a while. Add in the chili oils and the cajun chili's in vinegar and you begin to understand the level of my dedication.

                      1. I keep a bunch of different ones around for different moods and different foods. Tabasco is fine, but not very complex. The whole Tabasco/Pete's/Crystal/Frank's thing ignores the other 99.99% of available sauces, and those four are failry similar to each other in the grand scheme.
                        Sriracha type sauces are great. Flavor sauces like Tiger Sauce have their place too. I'm a big fan of the Dave's Insanity line and also the Original Juan sauces.
                        That said, it shouldn't matter to YOU what I like. Try a few and get what you like best.

                        1. Sririacha is the best! It has heat, but also flavor.

                          I also like Dave's Soyabi sauce in place of soy in recipes

                            1. re: madgreek

                              second cholula..... and the chili garlic one! I put them on everything...

                              1. re: kubasd

                                I should specify.... sambol oelek for cooking, cholula for seasoning after the cooking.

                            2. I have never cared for sriracha. Not very hot and too sweet for my taste. To be fair, I have only had access to one brand. Don't remember the name. I threw it out, but it had a rooster on it.
                              I stumbled on a hot sauce I really really really like. It was in the supermarket in the big box with the specials they were trying get rid of. Grace Scotch Bonnet Sauce from Jamaica.
                              Lovely stuff. Hot and nice flavour. Only $2 a bottle. Bought 3 and will go back tomorrow for more if any left.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: margshep

                                Once I discovered Grace's, all other hot sauces got relegated to the "meh" category. There are hotter sauces, to be sure, but they are so hot they just obliterate flavour. Grace's is hot enough to add real spice, but no so hot that it burns your tongue and prevents you from tasting the food it's served with. And a little goes a long way - when making hot butter sauce to go with wings, if I was using, say, Frank's, it would take 1/4 of a bottle to get any real heat and flavour. With Grace's, it's a matter of a few drops, and not much more.

                                1. re: KevinB

                                  Another fan of Grace Scotch Bonnet Sauce...when I want something with less heat I like Crystal.

                              2. 1. Cholula
                                2. Tapatio
                                3. Frank's

                                I loathe Tabasco. I'm so glad I moved out to the West Coast - it seems like on the East Coast Tabasco is all you can get (at least when dining out).

                                5 Replies
                                1. re: Cebca

                                  I hate Tabasco as well but I love chipotle Tabasco, especially on a giant burrito from Chipotle

                                  1. re: sleepyscience

                                    I could not agree more. The chipotle Tabasco is top notch for flavor. (Lacks a little in the heat department, but that makes it easier for me to slip it into the cooking without hearing complaints.)

                                  2. re: Cebca

                                    Not around here (Boston). Cholula is common, as is El Yucateco, both red and green. And I first encountered my beloved Melinda's XXX in a restaurant in Cambridge!

                                    1. re: Cebca

                                      Agree with Cholulo & Frank's. Ditto on the El Yucatero others have written about. Also have a bottle of Sriracha on my condiment lazy susan as a staple. There is a kick-ass recipe here on Chow for Buffalo Chicken Tenders & I use Frank's sauce for that. There is a version of Frank's with Lime, but I've only found it once in my local store.

                                      1. re: PattiCakes

                                        every little hole in the wall el salvadorean restaurant i've been to had the green yucateco..... so good!!

                                    2. Crystal. Flavor and some heat, but not tongue tingling Tabasco.

                                      1. For my palate, it's one of the many Tabasco products. I find them to be a good marriage of heat, flavor and tang. Many are hotter, and many are milder, but none offers ME the total package. However, I am from those environs, so I am biased.

                                        Hunt

                                        10 Replies
                                        1. re: Bill Hunt

                                          Since I read Amal Naj's book Peppers I've never been able to pick up a bottle of Tabasco without reflecting on the politics of the stuff. In a nutshell (or a pepper pod), during the first half of the 20th century the McIlhenny company basically bought a series of Louisiana politicians and judges until they were granted the legal right to prevent anyone else from using the name tabasco - which up until then was simply the name of a chili pepper from the eponymous region of Mexico - on a bottle of hot sauce, effectively putting a string of competitors out of business. It's as if the courts granted Tropicana the right to sue anyone else who used the term "orange" on a carton of orange juice!

                                          Nasty, interesting stuff. I recommend the book, it's full of chili anecdotes and trivia.

                                          1. re: BobB

                                            Buying a politician in Louisiana? I'm shocked! I once dated in Boston (early 80's) an heiress to the McIlhenny family business, with roots around New Iberia parrish. At the time, they were contemplating getting into the glass bottle manufacturing business, because the bottles cost more than the contents.
                                            As an interim measure, they increased the diameter of the dispenser hole by, I can't recall exactly, maybe 8 or 10%, so every drop or splash was quite a bit larger. Months later, sales went up wildly in the same proportion.
                                            And you are right about the questionable trademark. Tabasco is not just a variety of pepper -it is the name of a whole State in Mexico. It's like having private rights to the name "Oregon" or "Rhode Island".

                                            1. re: BobB

                                              That is why I purchase based on tastes and not politics.

                                              I'm with Veggo, in finding it almost impossible to believe that politicians in Louisiana could ever be bought! Perish the thought. Of course, there is the case of Gov. Edwin Edwards... [Grin]

                                              Hunt

                                              1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                My favorite hot sauce is El Yucateco, from Merida, the red. It is heat. No vinegar. They do a green, also, but it is nuclear. I can't fathom a useful purpose for it, beyond killing one's enemies with feigned kindness between Superbowl commercials.

                                                1. re: Veggo

                                                  For me, it's more about the "spices" and total taste. I do not mind heat, in the right places, but seek out flavor first. I think that is one of the reasons that we keep Tabasco products on hand. On the heat scale, they are about in the middle. On the flavor scale, I find them to be multi-dimensional.

                                                  Besides, with too much heat, I can't taste my wine!

                                                  Hunt

                                                  1. re: Veggo

                                                    I like the green on eggs or to flavour soups. :)

                                                    1. re: Caralien

                                                      And on many other things in my household (I tend to really load it up on my tacos, among other things, even on ordinary things like chicken cutlet sandwiches). To me the green El Yucateco exists within the perfect nexus of price, flavor (oh, yeah, it's tasty allright), and heat. I go through quite a bit of it, for myself and friends alike- that's why it exists, no? I can't imagine using just a dash of that stuff, you'd miss out on that unadulterated aggressive habanero taste. My enemies...well, they can have the Tabasco...

                                                    2. re: Veggo

                                                      I prefer El Yucateco green to the red - nice heat, and a most unusual (bordering on unnatural) color. I like to see my burritos glow in the dark!

                                                      1. re: BobB

                                                        I have noticed that the most popular El Yucateco seems to be the red or green but not so much the brown Salsa Kulbil-ik de Chile Habanero, To me this has not only the best fruity finish but can still offer the heat that goes so well with not only Latin but also West Indian and Asian cuisine. Also great in Bloody Mary's and Chicken Wings.

                                                        1. re: BobB

                                                          thanks... now i remember that is what a place in CA had on the table, it is an unusual color. wonder if I can find it here .... i really liked the green on fish tacos.

                                                          they have a nice website too
                                                          http://www.elyucateco.com/

                                                  1. re: filth

                                                    Agreed. The El Yucateco is my go-to hot sauce (all kinds-- green, red and brown). I like Tabasco on eggs because I think the vinegar tang really adds to them.

                                                  2. you should check out this recent thread on bottled hot sauces:
                                                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/286865

                                                    1. El Yucateco, both red and green are good. I also like the smoky heat of Bone Suckin' Sauce (Hiccupin' Hot) and the mild flavor of the Jalapeno/Green Tabasco on eggs

                                                      1. Just a quick note on Sriracha. Seems most people refer to it here as a specific sauce. Should be noted it is a generic term for a type of Thai hot sauce, although the most commonly available one is the Hoy Fong brand with the rooster on the label.

                                                        Anyone else concerned about potassium sorbate and sodium bisulfite being included as ingredients?

                                                        4 Replies
                                                        1. re: AHan

                                                          Sriracha is the pureed version, then there's "chile garlic sauce" (non pureed), and sambal oelek (sweeter), with the gold label.

                                                          I still need my fix of chile garlic sauce, but have been using fresh or home-preserved peppers recently. Not yet concerned about the preservatives.

                                                          1. re: Caralien

                                                            Actually, you seem to be mixing cultures. Sriracha is Thai, Chile garlic sauce is normally Chinese, and Sambal is Indonesian. Additionally, there are flavor and texture variations of all three. Hoy Fong makes versions of all, but many other companies do also.

                                                            1. re: AHan

                                                              It's likely that I confused the origin, as I always assumed that Chile Garlic was Chinese-Vietnamese, but found a lot of people to think it was the same as Sriracha, which I didn't see until the 80's. Sambal oelek I didn't become aware of until I lived in the Netherlands.

                                                              1. re: AHan

                                                                While sriracha is the name of a regional Thai hot sauce, the specific sauce people are refering to when they say sriracha on these boards is the roster branded one created by a Chinese Vietnamese refugee in the US named David Tran. It is based on the Thai sauce, but actually as American as apple pie. Here's a nice reprint of an article about the guy who created the roster sriracha sauce we know and love that appeared in Los Angeles magazine in 2001:

                                                                http://www.geocities.com/Tokyo/Island...

                                                                There's a reason you see this sauce in every Asian restaurant in the US, but don't ever really run across it when you're actually in Asia.

                                                          2. As one who makes a lot of his own hot sauce, it is my goal to someday produce a sauce as good and versatile as Crystal.

                                                            That having been said, I recently finished a bottle of Spice Exchange brand Cayenne pepper hot sauce, and was seriously impressed. I had tended to think of this brand as a 'gift shop' sauce, suitable only for putting up with rest of the collection, but I was 100% wrong about it.

                                                            1. Sriracha (Rooster)
                                                              El Yucateco (Mayan Recipe)
                                                              Krakatoa
                                                              Fatali Fire (CaJohns)
                                                              Matouk's West Indian Flambeau
                                                              Sambal Oelek
                                                              Orange Crush
                                                              Inner Beauty (the original is gone but there are clones)

                                                              Some of the more commercial sauces are way too salty or have too much vinegar for my tastes.

                                                              4 Replies
                                                              1. re: Dinsdale45

                                                                That's it, Inner Beauty, that's the one I used to buy when I lived in NC in the 90's. So, it's not available anymore? (I don't know where I came up with "Atomic?!?")

                                                                1. re: amyzan

                                                                  I think it was made for a while by NE chef Chris Schleisinger of the East Cast Grill but they sold the recipe or something. I've seen a sauce that looks very much like it with the word "Rasta" in the title.

                                                                  1. re: Dinsdale45

                                                                    Chris Schlesinger did develop it, and had it manufactured for him in Costa Rica. It's been off the market for several years now. But you can google the recipe and make a pretty close approximation.

                                                                    1. re: BobB

                                                                      The recipe is also in his book Big Flavors of the Hot Sun. I make my own Inner Beauty regularly.

                                                              2. Sriracha (to me, medium heat with good flavor)
                                                                Frank's (to me, very mild with good flavor)
                                                                Hot Sauce from Hell (to me, almost too hot and lacks flavor)
                                                                Tobasco (to me, medium heat but needs a little more flavor)

                                                                I like heat + flavor. If it's just heat I'll pass.

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: pgmrdan

                                                                  I'm not a fan of sriracha, just personally don't like that flavour in a hot sauce. I don't think garlic belongs in hot sauce in such a large quantity, and there's something else in there I can't put my finger on that just tastes off.
                                                                  What I use most frequently is similar to Sambal Oelek, another brand from the creator of Sriracha -- I found it on the link provided by huaqiao above; could not tell you the brand I actually buy but I findit in Chinese grocery stores and similar sauce is provided in [good]chinese restaurants - simply chilies in oil, no other seasoning except a little garlic, salt and sugar. Poured on your favourite rice or noodle dish instead of salty soy sauce, it spices up a meal and I believe enhances the flavours already there if you don't use too much. I also put it on my egg rolls or dumplings instead of [yuk] the ubiquitous plum sauce.
                                                                  For American food I use Frank's, I agree mild but I can eat my french fries with it.

                                                                2. I use a variety
                                                                  My favorite is Marie Sharp's Hot which is great on Eggs and in many dishes.
                                                                  A close second is a brand, Guyank, I found last year at the Bower's Hot Pepper Festival in Pa.
                                                                  For my wing sauce I use Frank's which I buy by the half gallon and tabasco as well as other spices.
                                                                  For refried beans I prefer green tabasco
                                                                  Years ago I had Crabanero which was made with Old Bay and was great on seafood

                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                  1. re: folprivate

                                                                    Oh boy, at my house it's D.L. Jardine's Texas Champagne Sauce or nothing.

                                                                    1. re: folprivate

                                                                      I really like Marie Sharp's hot too, although we keep Crystal around for those who like less heat.

                                                                    2. I love most of the Pain Is Good line: Batch #37 garlic and carrot, Batch #112 jalapeno harissa, Batch #114 jamaican, and Batch #218 louisiana style. Dave's Gourmet stuff is good too, as is Cholula for general tasks.

                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                      1. re: ATaleOfFiction

                                                                        I am a big fan of these, especially 90%-100%

                                                                        1. re: ATaleOfFiction

                                                                          That's good stuff! Ever try the PIG Smoked Jalepeno salsa? Mighty tasty - I have eaten it with a spoon!

                                                                          Also, the Mo Hotta Mo Betta Fire Roasted Habanero hot sauce is worth a mention.

                                                                        2. My favorite is Cholula, it has a wooden top. For a long time I had a hard time finding it, but Wal Mart has been carrying it lately and for way less than what I used to pay. It's more flavorful than super hot and I love it on anything Mexican. I also like Tobasco Chipotle, and I'll use Franks or Tabasco to spice up soup or chili.
                                                                          http://www.cholula.com/

                                                                          1. I usually have four or five active bottles, and at least a couple more in reserve. Just like wine, you can have good and bad pairings. Right now, I have open Nando's Peri Peri for things like pizza, Da Bomb for spaghetti or chili as it adds pure heat and not too much of a strong flavor, Sriracha for dishes that involve or could use a garlicky taste, Blair's Q Chipotle Slam as a salsa substitute for tacos, Morton's Hot Salt as a salt substitute with a kick. I'd use Tabasco, Texas Pete, generic store hot sauces when I want to dilute something like chili with a vinegar taste, or to douse pizza with. http://hotsauceblog.com is a great source of hot sauce reviews, new breaking products, festivals, etc.

                                                                            1. The current (March) issue of Chile Pepper Magazine arrived Monday, and it is a special hot sauce issue. Lots of extensive information on many, many brands. It is well worth picking up a copy if hot sauce is at all important to you.

                                                                              1. Lotties scotch bonnet is my go to hot sauce, great flavor and perfect heat.

                                                                                1. I have probably 8 different kinds, but my favorite is Frank's.

                                                                                  1. Different for different foods.
                                                                                    Inner Beauty (make my own)
                                                                                    Cholula
                                                                                    Koon Yick Wah Kee (Chinese chilli sauce)
                                                                                    Sambal Badjak (not really a sauce I guess)
                                                                                    are my favourites. But also have several others in the pantry.

                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                    1. re: cap

                                                                                      I'm so glad I searched the board before I posed this question. I was cleaning out my embarrassing amount of condiments Wednesday night and "reorganized" the fridge - a monthly task around here. Well, any way - I was thinking that I have WAY too many hot sauces but I see now that I'm "normal" - well, at least in CH circles regarding Hot Sauce.

                                                                                      My favorites:

                                                                                      Crystal - my every day "go to"
                                                                                      Louisiana
                                                                                      Texas Pete
                                                                                      Texas Pete Pepper Vinegar
                                                                                      Cholula
                                                                                      Buffalo Chipotle
                                                                                      Herdez Green
                                                                                      Tiger
                                                                                      Sriracha
                                                                                      Franks
                                                                                      Tarheels Hot Sauce (bottled by hotsauceharrys) a novelty
                                                                                      Cajun Sunshine
                                                                                      Thai Garlic Chili

                                                                                      I definitely want to check out Lottie's Scotch Bonnet and will have to give the Inner Beauty recipe a whirl

                                                                                    2. The green Tabasco. Red Tabasco is OK but I do not consume super hot sauces. They are ridiculous

                                                                                      1. My "everyday" hot sauce is Louisiana Hot Sauce. I like it because it isn't super hot and still adds some nice flavor. After reading all of these responses I'm thinking my choice is maybe slightly uneducated but that's okay.

                                                                                        7 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: Boudleaux

                                                                                          I don't think it's uneducated at all! I love Louisiana - I like the fact that it's thicker than Crystal or Tabasco and has more depth of flavor.

                                                                                          It's my 2nd favorite - right after Crystal

                                                                                          of course, I could be riding that un-educated bus with you :-)

                                                                                          1. re: chicaraleigh

                                                                                            Trappey's or the "just one drop" brand of Louisiana hot sauce do you like? Thanks

                                                                                              1. re: chicaraleigh

                                                                                                Thanks and I will get it next time.

                                                                                              2. re: gafferx

                                                                                                The "one drop does it." I've seen Trappey's but never tried it.

                                                                                              3. re: chicaraleigh

                                                                                                Oh good! Thanks! I totally agree about the depth of flavor. I use Tabasco sometimes when cooking but I find for everyday use it is just too hot for me and I can't taste anything else.

                                                                                                I need to try Crystal. I've always looked at it on the shelf but I've never used it.

                                                                                            1. Pamana (Thai) sweet chili sauce and Tapatío.

                                                                                              1. Island Treasure Hot Pepper Sauce, from Jamaica. It has a decent heat and a nice round sweetish, but not at all cloying flavor. It's a bit thicker than Tabasco, but not as thick as Cholula's with a bit more heat than either.

                                                                                                1. Franks
                                                                                                  Crystal
                                                                                                  Texas Pete
                                                                                                  Tabasco
                                                                                                  Sriracha

                                                                                                  1. Srirracha
                                                                                                    Tapatio
                                                                                                    and a great little sauce from Tucson, Poblano. Red & green.

                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                    1. re: mrbigshotno.1

                                                                                                      So is that "Mr. Big Shot" or "Mr. Big's Hot"? ;-)

                                                                                                    2. When you tire of sissy sauce, decide to shed your manties and step up to real hot sauce... Try this.

                                                                                                      8 oz Jalapeńos, chopped
                                                                                                      8 oz Serranos, chopped
                                                                                                      1 habanero, chopped
                                                                                                      1 quart water

                                                                                                      Cut chilies into quarter inch pieces, sweep, seeds and all into a sauce pan, cover with water and simmer for 30 minutes.

                                                                                                      Run chilies through a food mill, thats it. If this doesn't set off the fire alarms going in, it will coming out.

                                                                                                      1. My fave is a hot sauce I can't find anymore, and I can't even remember the name. It was Mexican and came in a squat little jar, probably made from chipotles. It was more like a paste you could spoon out. The dark peppers were flaked and had some crunch, there was a strong garlic presence, and no vinegar. Very rich and deep flavor. I bought it probably 10 years ago, when hot sauce was just beginning to be the rage, from a now-defunct hot sauce store in lower Manhattan..

                                                                                                        I'll probably never find it again, but since all you Hounds are on the case, maybe you can tell me if it's still available somewhere!

                                                                                                        1. Tried many, but I always come back to my favourite Aunt May's. Made in Barbados. I first tried it when I visited the island about 20 years ago and I still buy it anytime I can.

                                                                                                            1. Yi Pin, from Brooklyn. You can get it at almost any Chinese take out. Don't knock it until you tried it.

                                                                                                              1. I like the hottest one I have found.

                                                                                                                Crystal.

                                                                                                                Yummo

                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                1. re: thebomb

                                                                                                                  Is that really the hottest you have found?

                                                                                                                2. "Crystal" for pizza (Lousiana style, vinegar-based, not hot)

                                                                                                                  "Valentina" for Mexican/Southwestern/South American food (very flavorful)

                                                                                                                  "Srirachi" for anything Asian (sweet heat)

                                                                                                                  "Dave's Insanity" for when I'm feeling a little masochistic (pure heat)

                                                                                                                  Nothing compares with the compatibility of Srirachi though; it can be used on nearly everything. Also, I always keep Cholula and Tapatio around but I prefer Valentina.

                                                                                                                  1. If you are lucky enough to live near a sizable asian community(Malay, Thai, viet) there are two brands you must search out.
                                                                                                                    first is Shark Brand Sriracha. so, so, soooooooooo much better than the rooster brand.

                                                                                                                    second is a Malaysian garlic chili sauce that goes by the name Lingham's Hot Sauce with Garlic. This one is a recent find. perfect balance of garlic, sweetness and sneaky heat.

                                                                                                                    1. First of all, tabasco is not hot sauce. hot sauce is hot sauce. Tabasco is really hot and is good for your steaks or even on plain popcorn (it's great, try it).
                                                                                                                      And I've heard that you could really bring out the flavor of tabasco by leaving a fresh bottle on your window sill for a day so the sun can hit it.

                                                                                                                      Hot sauce for your fried chicken:
                                                                                                                      Franks, louisiana, and crystal are good. These are not hot, but do a great job for just adding tang.
                                                                                                                      Whatever you do, stay away from Paul prudhommes magic pepper sauce. I'm staring at 1 opened--nearly full bottle and 1 unopened bottle, right now.

                                                                                                                      For your asian:
                                                                                                                      I like sriracha and I also like Lee kum kee's chiu chow chili oil. That chili oil has some sort of black bean in it. It's so good on jasmine rice.

                                                                                                                      But if I'm bbq'ing I just make my own sauce with fresh peppers (serrano or jalapeno--seeds removed), lemon juice, salt, pinch of cumin, and good olive oil----grind and enjoy.

                                                                                                                      1. Among the 18 bottles of hot sauce in current rotation, my favorites are El Yucateco Kutbil-Ik, Tapatio, and Ring of Fire Tomatillo & Roasted Garlic.

                                                                                                                        1. Thumbs up:
                                                                                                                          Tapatio and Huichol are usually on hand. Medium heat, low vinegar like most good Mexican style bottled sauce. Cholula is very good but pricey. Pico Pica (hot version), for emergencies when homemade salsa runs out.

                                                                                                                          Thumbs down:
                                                                                                                          Lousiana style sauces - too much freakin' vinegar (and I like tart)! Tabasco brand sauces especially are unbalanced to my taste - too much heat and even tannic.
                                                                                                                          Any hot sauce obviously concocted for 'macho' appeal.

                                                                                                                          1. I like Tabasco, which is good, because it's the only thing that is sold in Japan.

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                                                                                                                            1. re: Orchid64

                                                                                                                              It's also the only hot sauce on hand in East Coast (US) diners, which is terribly unfortunate since I can't stand the stuff and thus have nothing to put on my eggs! I never used hot sauce on anything until I moved to California for college . . . what a wake up call!

                                                                                                                              1. re: Orchid64

                                                                                                                                I don't know where you live, but if you have a Kinokuniya in your area, you might find others.

                                                                                                                              2. Sririacha and I love Nandos Piri-piri. The garlic one. It has a lemony zing that is amazing. I dip everything in it. I keep meaning to try it as a wing sauce...hmm..

                                                                                                                                1. texas pete for a vinegary sauce
                                                                                                                                  cholula or green el yucateca for mexican
                                                                                                                                  sriracha for all asian and other randoms

                                                                                                                                  1. I judge based on color. The brighter neon shade of green the better for me. I don't know the brand name but I used to load up my enchiladas at the cadillac bar with this stuff when I worked in Houston.

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                                                                                                                                    1. re: Spends Rent on Food

                                                                                                                                      Could be El Yucateco green - great heat and flavor, blinding color!

                                                                                                                                      http://elyucatecohotsauce.net/

                                                                                                                                      1. re: BobB

                                                                                                                                        The one and only. Thanks Bob B. Never thought to order it online... this could get dangerous.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Spends Rent on Food

                                                                                                                                          I don't think you'll necessarily need to order it online, it's fairly common. Most Mexican market/taco stands should carry it, usually at around $2 a bottle. At that price, it certainly could get dangerous....

                                                                                                                                    2. Tabasco is definitely awesome. Sambal Oelek is good, Sambal Manis is very nice as well, it's not as hot and a lot sweeter. Other types of sambal are nice as well, such as Badjak and Udang.

                                                                                                                                      1. Grace's scotch bonnet sauce. It works for everything and is wonderfully hot & floral at the same time.

                                                                                                                                        1. Cyrstal in the reefer now, Cholula in the past. Now I look at the ingredients...peppers,vinegar, salt are all ok, but stay away from the polysyllabic ingredients.

                                                                                                                                          1. I like smoky Tabasco chipotle but I make my own from the leftover cayenne, bird peppers, Serrano's, tabasco and Thai dragon chilies that I grow.

                                                                                                                                            1. I've never tried - at least in the US - sambal oelek. How is it? Is it just another garlic chili sauce, or does it have fish paste too?

                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                              1. re: BuildingMyBento

                                                                                                                                                It's amazing but the chili garlic sauce is better. Sambal oelek is just chilies, no garlic.

                                                                                                                                              2. Just got some of this stuff. Decent heat, nice flavor.

                                                                                                                                                http://yellowbirdsauce.com/

                                                                                                                                                1. Ahhh...Hot Sauce-a subject dear to my heart and I mean dear to my heart. When I traveled a lot I would pick up all kinds of hot sauces and bring some to work so all could sample and enjoy. I have to laugh when folks say "Oh that is really HOT!!!!" I say "Hot" you don't know what really hot is. Tobasco and Franks are cool but there are so many amazing sauces out there. I travel with some of my fav's now as I know that most regions or restaurants will not have it. When I was a young child I remember my mother using 'Red Devil'-HAHAHA..that stuff is like water with red dye in it and I would not even consider using it now. The world went crazy with Sriracha and in 2009 it was voted ingredient of the year-it is also good but so many others out there to try. I have a friend who makes his own here in Bermuda and it is wonderful and when he has extra he gives me some. I also love Caribbean Hot Sauces-Matouk's being one of them. They make a variety and I love them all. The hottest sauce I have ever experienced is Dave's Insanity. When you get into these insane hot sauces it is all about the heat and not the flavor. I could go on and on with Hot Sauce Stories but my suggestion to you would be to experiment with many until you find one that suits your palate.

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                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Ottojr

                                                                                                                                                    And you are in the home of Outerbridges...not that hot...but a delight on so many things!