Huy Fong Hot Chili Sauce, Sriracha
If you like spicy foods or adding your own spice to dishes, chances are you are looking for the best hot sauce. Hot sauces can vary widely in flavor profiles, textures, acidity, and heat levels. There are literally hundreds of hot sauces on the market and many more homemade brands. A good hot sauce can really make a bland dish come to mind. And for the calorie conscious, hot sauces are usually very low in calories, so it becomes a great way to make food bearable for those on a diet. For those of you who don’t know, hot sauces and peppers have been around for centuries.
They were predominately used in the old days to hide food that has gone bad and the mask the flavor of food that is not fresh. These days, hot sauces are more used as a condiment for those who want a bit more kick to their meals. The substance that makes hot sauce spicy to the tongue is capsaicin and is found in the seeds of the pepper. A pepper’s heat index can be measured to give you a relative sense of how spicy it is. A hot sauce can be made with one pepper or a blend of peppers and other spices. Many things affect the final flavor of the hot sauce including the preparation. Certain regions of the world tend to prefer certain types of hot sauces over other variants. Please see our buying guide below for more information.
Best Hot Sauce Reviews
- Huy Fong Hot Chili Sauce, Sriracha (Top Pick)
- Mad Dog 357 Pepper Extract 5 Million Scoville
- Tapatio Salsa Picante Hot Sauce
Huy Fong Hot Chili Sauce, Sriracha
Sriracha has become an absolute phenomenon in North America and around the world. It is the best hot sauce if you are looking for something that is not too spicy but definitely packs some heat. In terms of scoville units, it has around 2,500 heat units, which puts it between banana peppers and Jalapenos in terms of spice level. Sriracha originates from Southeast Asia. Sriracha has become so popular that many recipes include it as an ingredient.
The recipe has remained the same since inception and includes chili, sugar, salt, garlic, and vinegar. There are mostly red jalapeno peppers in the mix with no added water, artificial colors, or preservatives. The hot sauce as a nice clear plastic bottle and green cap. The hot sauce is kosher as well, for those of you who care. We would describe the flavor as a bit sour and garlic. It pairs great with Asian stir fry, fried rice, and really any kind of food. You can even put it on your sandwich or inside pasta.
Mad Dog 357 Pepper Extract 5 Million Scoville
The Mad Dog 357 is the best hot sauce if you want the hottest possible hot sauce. The hot sauce does not have any flavor because it is pretty much pure capsicum extract. For those of you who don’t know, capsicum is the active ingredient in all chilies and is what makes things spicy. The capsicum is extracted from peppers through HPLC (High Performance Liquid Chromatography). At 5 million scoville units, it is one of the hottest things you will ever taste. It is 35% pure capsicum and is so hot that you need to warm the bottle to 140 degree Fahrenheit to turn it into a liquid tar.
It comes in solid form at room temperature inside the bottle. As a frame of reference, if you have ever heard of the infamous Ghost Pepper, it is only about 1 million scoville units. This pure 35% capsicum extract is 5 times hotter than ghost pepper, which is one of the spiciest peppers in the world. Why do you want this? First of all, it will last forever, since you really only need one or two drops of this in a huge pot to make whatever you are cooking spicy. Also, for those of you who want to make food challenges for your friends, this is the perfect hot sauce for it. You can’t get spicier than the Mad Dog 357, which is pretty much pure spice.
Tapatio Salsa Picante Hot Sauce
Tapatio Salsa is the best hot sauce for those who want a medium spicy hot sauce made in Mexico. It has about 3,000 scoville heat units, so it is around half of the spice level of Jalapeno peppers. Also, Tapatio is dark red in color and has a very smooth and liquid consistency. It is mostly made of water, red peppers, salt, and garlic. This blend produces a sharp and gentle heat that is suitable for most amateurs.
Tapatio is made with smoked red peppers so it has a smoky flavor. You can also taste a hint of garlic, although it is not too strong and a wonderful earthy taste. We recommend Tapatio Salsa for all types of latin or north America food. It works well of tacos, pastas, scrambled eggs, sandwiches, roasted meats, ribs, steaks, and burgers. We don’t think it blends well with Asian food, so if you want a hot sauce for that, we highly recommend Sriracha.
Best Hot Sauce Buying Guide
It is important to note that all hot sauces come from hot peppers of various intensities and they are all part of the Capiscum genus family. You should consider the heat level you are ok with when searching for hot sauce. Don’t get a hot sauce that you can’t handle just because it tastes good.
Next you need to consider the flavor profile and what type of flavors you typically prefer. Do you like hot sauces that are more sweet, pungent, garlic, thick, sour? Anyways, the list goes on and you can see that it doesn’t really get easy to hone in on one. We have listed some features below that you should be aware of before picking the best hot sauce for your needs.
Heat Index: Every hot sauce has a heat index. This is a scientific way to measure the amount of heat given off by a particular pepper. The world generally accepts two methods of ranking the heat level of peppers. One is by high performance liquid chromatography and yields the ASTA (American Spice Trade Association) units. This is the more scientific method and measures the concentration of capsaicinoid, which is the heat producing substance in peppers.
The generally accepted best way to determine the spiciness of a pepper is the Scoville Unit. Testers are presents with various concentrations of pepper until they can’t taste any more heat increases. You record the Scoville unit at this moment. To put things in perspective, Tabasco pepper is 30,000 Scoville units, Jalapeno is about 5,000, Habanero pepper is around 100,000 units, and the ghost pepper is upwards of one million scoville units.
Type of Pepper: It is important to understand the various types of peppers. Most hot sauces consist of a blend of various hot peppers. Each type of pepper has a distinct flavor profile and heat level. Some peppers tend to be sweeter than others, some are fruitier, and some are more earthy in flavor. If you really want to understand hot sauces, you should sample raw peppers of different types to get an understanding of the flavor profiles of each.
Preparing various chilies for hot sauces can also impact the final product. If you smoke chilies, it changes the flavor of the chili, giving it a rich toasty flavor. You cancel out flavors when you combine hot peppers. It is also important to note the difference between hot sauce and chili sauce. Hot sauce is usually an uniform liquid. Meanwhile, chili sauce is solid and has visible chunks of pepper and herbs inside. You can use these two terms interchangeably, for all intents and purposes.
Regional Variations: Although people have different preferences, it turns out certain regions of the world tend to have the same preferences. In North America, people tend to like Frank’s Red Hot or Tabasco. These hot sauces are not too spicy and thicker sauces. In Asia, people tend to like hot sauces that are very thick, sour, spicy, and sweet.
Lately, the hot sauce from Asia, Sriracha, has made a huge emergence in North America. In South America, people then to like thinner and sharper hot sauces and not too spicy. In general, Asians tend to consume the spiciest peppers.