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Sauce (Hot) Recommendations

I typically use Sriracha sauce as my go to hot sauce condiment, but was interested to get some other recommendations. I did a search on the topic and most prior posts are regarding sauces that pack a lot of heat. I am NOT looking for a sauce with a lot of heat. Sriracha has heat but also imparts a nice flavor. If anyone has a recommendation for a sauce that has a nice balance of flavor and spice and is widely available (nothing that requires me to fly to another country or attempt to import online, etc).

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  1. You'd probably like Franks, it is less than half the scovilles of Siracha with good flavour. They make several flavours, but the standard "Red Hot" is the standard sauce used in Buffalo wing sauce. recipes.

    1. I love Crystal, Texas Pete, Louisiana Original Hot Sauce and Valentina. Frank's Red Hot and DefCon are the only wing sauces I use.

      I leave the "insanity" sauces to the young folks.

      1. On another thread, some posters were discussing a hot sauce called Scorned Woman, and it was noted that it wasn't just 'hot', but had a nice flavor. I'm going to try to find that one for myself the next time I'm out at the markets.

        But, at the moment, when I'm not using Sriracha, I use Valentina's (the salsa picante, specifically, with the yellow label). It has a nice vegetable-ish note to it, and is not as hot as the rooster sauce. There is also a Valentina's with a black label, but I haven't given it a go yet.

        7 Replies
        1. re: onceadaylily

          Hot sauces are about the only condiment I routinely use (unless you count sliced chiles). I've tried a lot of them and agree that Valentina's is very good stuff (though, I like the Extra Hot, black label better).

          Scorned Woman is a couple steps up the heat ladder from Sriracha or Valentina's yellow label.

          1. re: MGZ

            Great responses, thanks! I am putting Valentina's at the top of the list to try and will go from there. Now I just have to find it. I am hoping it is at a local grocery store but will check the hispanic markets if a regular grocery doesn't pan out.

            1. re: Scott M

              The Valentina's sauce has a good, earthy flavors - with cumin perhaps the most discernible. One thing about "tasting" hot sauces, however, is that the more acclimated you are to the heat of the chiles, the more the rest of the flavors come forward. Thus, as you try more and more, where you find the balance between heat and flavor should shift and you may find yourself seeking hotter sauces.

              The following site provides the ability to search by heat levels. (Frankly, there was another I had thought I had saved that actually listed the Scoville units. Nevertheless, . . .)


              And, for what ever the hell it's worth (and anyone who cares to know), I've been quite fond of the Bone Suckin' Habanero Hot Sauce since I first tried it last year. It exhibits a balance point I enjoy (for now).

            2. re: MGZ

              Okay, you talked me into picking up the black label. I don't know why I keep holding off. I mean, it costs a WHOLE dollar.

              1. re: MGZ

                Valentina Black Label (AKA Valentina Muy Picante) is one of my favorite all purpose hot sauces.

                I've never been a big Sriracha fan, it's too sweet for my taste. I do like the Huy Fong Chili Garlic Sauce though.

              2. re: onceadaylily

                I can second Scorned Woman. It is quite hot, about 15 times that of Franks but with very good flavour.

                1. re: Scary Bill

                  Scorned Woman is tasty, but years ago I moved on to Melinda's Habanero Sauce, which has a more complex flavor profile and is available in several levels of heat. Their XXXtra Hot is my everyday sauce, and I also keep their XXXX Reserve and even hotter Red Savina on hand for when I want the extra kick. They used to be hard to find but are in a lot of chain grocery stores these days.

              3. H.D.H from Cajohn's.

                Dang hot and really good flavor. It's my favorite hot sauce in the world.


                1. As far as bottled red hotsauce goes Tapatio is hard to beat.


                  1. Cholula has a good balance of slight heat with a nice flavor.

                    1. I'm a big fan of the El Yucateco line for my daily hot sauce. I keep the red, green and kubit-ik as a pantry staple. Along with Sriracha, I find that between the four, it'll fit almost any dish in my rotation. I also keep some Cholula and Tapatio for friends, I like those two, just prefer El Yucateco more. I pick up Frank's once in a while if making a traditional wing sauce.


                      15 Replies
                      1. re: Jase

                        I'll second these. I keep all three around, and find they go well with a variety of foods. Word of warning though - these sauces are much hotter than your typical Franks or Texas Pete, they pack serious flavor, but also serious heat.

                        1. re: Jase

                          I like El Yucateco - especially the green one, the neon color just looks so cool on a boringly beige burrito. But in that heat range I find Melinda's XXX and XXXX habanero sauces offer much better flavor, as I mentioned above.

                          1. re: BobB

                            The El Yucateco xxx and a small bottle of Sriracha is always with us in the cars for those times where we just need a kick on the road. The Melinda's to me just doesn't offer the same complexity and brightness as the true Caribbean hot sauces made with Scotch Bonnets coming out of Costa Rica,Trinidad and Barbados.

                            1. re: Duppie

                              Some names please? I know the original Inner Beauty was made in Costa Rica but it's been off the market for years.

                              1. re: BobB

                                Isn't Melinda's made in Costa Rica?

                                1. re: MGZ

                                  You're right, it is Costa Rican, I had forgotten that. But I'm curious which ones Duppie thinks are better. I'm always up for trying a new hot sauce.

                                  1. re: BobB

                                    A popular sauce in Costa Rica is Salsa Lizano, which is not hot at all.

                                    1. re: BobB

                                      I've had several conversations on CH about the subtle yet important differences between Habaneros and Scotch Bonnets and while I am of the opinion that for the combination of heat and taste the many verities of Scotch Bonnet wins hand down.I think ,however it's not which is better, but instead a matter of personal taste and heat tolerance.
                                      For me Tabasco,Joe's ,Texas Pete et al are best for mixed drinks and chicken wings and I'm now beginning to appreciate the complex taste structures and applications of Asian hot sauces but again... to each his own.

                                  2. re: BobB

                                    From Trinidad Matouk's has the market locked for decades with their pepper sauces, my favorite is the Flambeau sauce.
                                    Barbados has a lot of small manufactures but the best of the bunch IMO is Baron's and Delish pepper sauce and is a lot easier to find.Costa Rica's Lizano is simple and pretty hot and a special mention for Grace's Jamaican pepper sauce.

                                    1. re: Duppie

                                      Thanks, but can you get those in the States?

                                      1. re: BobB

                                        I'm able to get the Matouk's,Grace's,Barons and Delish in the NJ/NY area simply because of our large Caribbean population and their markets, the Lizano along with the rest are all readily available from numerous online vendors.

                                2. re: BobB

                                  I stepped out to run a few errands and, being hungry, noticed a bottle of Melinda's Extra Hot. "It's been a while . . . ."

                                  It made for an enjoyable snack on a few chips, but I'll get one of the hotter offerings next time. The episode got me thinking about a personal preference that I submit greatly effects the flavor of hot sauces - what temperature it is. I am of the firm belief that most things taste better at room temp, and hot sauces are no exception. There's just so much more nuance when it's not "refrigerator cold."

                                  1. re: MGZ

                                    That is so true but some of the smaller batch,uncooked pepper sauces that contain no preservatives and stabilizers are better refrigerated in order to prevent oxidation and eventual breakdown.

                                    1. re: Duppie

                                      I keep all mine at room temperature. The Melinda's never lasts long enough to go bad.

                                      1. re: Duppie

                                        I'll store certain sauces in the 'fridge, especially those I make at home. I just remove them a while before I use them. I often do the same thing with produce that I don't plan to eat the day I buy it.

                                3. Matouk's calypso sauce for a taste of the Caribbean, Not especially hot but very fruity and bright without a overwhelming vinegar background.

                                  1. my annual recommendation for Pico Pica, which is West Coast only for retail but can be ordered online.. This is not vinegar based, Addictive. Comes in mild and hot.


                                    1. Mare Sharp's Habanero Hot Sauce is my favorite all around sauce because it has flavor as well as heat. My second favorite is Guyank sweet hot pepper sauce. But depending on the dish and the cuisine I have several including srirachi, Frank's, Tabasco, Blair's Mango Habenero and for seafood I use Crabanero

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: ithimis


                                        Thought you were just joshin', googled it, now I gotta find some for my next trip to the coast and fresh oysters! Thanks!!!

                                      2. What's this thing called 'flavor'?

                                        There are Asian hot sauces (especially from the southeast) that have garlic, ginger, and sweet in addition to the chile. Some have a vinegar base (e.g. Tabasco), others temper/dilute the hot pepper with a carrot base (some from Central America).

                                        1. If you want one that is easy to find on grocery shelves, then I would suggest Louisiana brand hot sauce. It does not have the bitter back bite of some like Tobasco (which I do like too). It's a nice mellow hot kick. Using it straight and heavy, you can get a lot of heat. Tipping light or cutting it with butter (for hot wings for example) means a zip with heat but not the tongue scorching aftertaste of some hot sauces.

                                          1. I'll put my vote for a range of flavorful and well thought out hot sauces from Horsetooth. They can be found in throughout Colorado or ordered online which reminds me I have to put an order in.


                                            1. My favorite for a while has been "Trinidad Habanero Pepper Sauce". I like the extra hot flavor. It is one of the few really hot sauces that I can eat straight from the bottle that I can actually taste the pepper flavor without being tortured. It is distributed by Trinidad Traders, Jacksonville Beach Fl. (904)821 1105. Here is a review of the "Hot", I use the extra Hot. http://www.hotsauceblog.com/hotsaucea...

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: Sam at Novas

                                                Trinidad hot sauces while a local company does not use Trinidadian peppers but Habanero pulp imported from Brazil and Venezuela.A decent product but locals refuse to patronize the brand for the most part due to a certain national pride and the fact they use Habaneros instead of local Scotch Bonnets.

                                              2. Trader Joe's Jalapeno Pepper Hot Sauce has a nice flavor to it, and it has a kick but won't blow your head off.

                                                Tabasco Chipotle is really tasty and pretty mild.

                                                1. I know you said that you're not looking for a lot of heat, but there's a slightly entertaining (in a weird way) guy on youtube that "reviews" hot sauces.
                                                  The link below is to his review of the more common store brands.
                                                  Unfortunately, I can't remember which of his other videos got a "not really hot, but good flavor" review - but there were at least a couple.


                                                  1. I don't typically roam hat sauce stores so I end up with what can be found at the grovery store. I love this thread though and will seek out some of the ones that were mentioned. For a common, everyday Louisiana-style I've been diggin lately RED ROOSTER.

                                                    It has more heat, although a similar flavor, than Frank's and what seems to be more paprika. I love my paprika, maybe that's why I like it so much.

                                                    1. The tastiest "Latin" hot sauce I've ever had was from Marie Sharp's, a Belizean company. Someone upthread mentioned their habanero version which is available in Vancouver, but unfortunately I've been unable to find the one I loved so much again, possibly because the parentals brought it back direct from a trip. Still on my holy grail list...

                                                      My favourite Asian hot sauce is Koon Chun chili sauce. Ingredients are vinegar, chili, salt and corn starch. YMMV but no dim sum is complete without it for me. Relatively easy to get in Vancouver, and served at many Chinese restaurants with mustard on the other side of the dish.