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The 10 Best Hot Sauces

Flavor, balance, heat and appearance. These hot sauces rock the house.

by
Bonnie Ramthun

Bio

May 29, 2014 - 8:00 am
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There are thousands of hot sauces to choose from today, and most of them are terrible. They’re novelty items designed with an amusing label and name. The sauce itself is inedible, with inferior ingredients and so much capsaicin from the peppers you’ll blister your tongue.  A good hot sauce is a combination of great ingredients and a balance of heat and flavor.

These ten hot sauces are filled with zest, spice and peppery heat. Dash enough on your eggs or tacos and you’ll find your eyelids sweating, but no matter how hot the temperature gets you’ll still get a mouthful of great flavor. Let’s start with a surprising number 10 on the list:

10.) Taco Bell Hot Sauce

tbhot

No need to squeeze the sauce from those tiny Taco Bell packets any more. The Taco Bell folks now provide bottles of their famous sauces, and the best is Taco Bell Hot Sauce. This is the Goldilocks of hot sauces, not as tomatoey as Mild Sauce but not as overwhemed by pepper as Fire Sauce. Don’t turn your nose up at Taco Bell just because Doritos Tacos are an orange abomination. Their Hot Sauce is delicious. Shake it on a homemade taco and enjoy.

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All Comments   (19)
All Comments   (19)
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Marie Sharp's Habanero Pepper Sauce from Belize is a must for every table!
9 weeks ago
9 weeks ago Link To Comment
I've never been a big fan of hot sauces, but I find the combination of sweet and heat in Sriracha irresistible, especially in stir-fry dishes and hearty soups.
9 weeks ago
9 weeks ago Link To Comment
Try mixing Rooster Sauce with ranch dressing and putting it on a meat heavy salad.

Mmmmmmmmmm.
9 weeks ago
9 weeks ago Link To Comment
My favorite Tabasco sauce is the "hot habanero" version. It's surprisingly tasty and has a real kick that my Thai wife actually thinks is a bit too spicy. Perfect for me, though; I keep several bottles around the house at all times and put it on basically everything.

I discovered El Yucatero habanero sauce (#5 above) about twenty years ago or so, in a little hole-in-the-wall Mexican joint in South Los Angeles. I love it and buy it whenever I can, but it can be a bit difficult to find, even in L.A.
9 weeks ago
9 weeks ago Link To Comment
9 weeks ago
9 weeks ago Link To Comment
The red standard Tabasco is my lease favorite of their sauces. I love the jalapeno on shellfish... the chipolte is great, and from hitting their web site, they have a haberno, which I will try. We grow haberneros, jalepenos, and I still have about 500 tiny tobasco peppers frozen from last year's garden... habernero pineapple jello shots are typically the hit at parties, too.
9 weeks ago
9 weeks ago Link To Comment
Melinda's makes great sauces. I like their naga jolokia.
9 weeks ago
9 weeks ago Link To Comment
Your assessment of Tabasco is spot-on. The other nine on your list are true sauces - they are supposed to be the dominate flavor e.g. used for dipping.

Tabasco is really more of a spice than a true sauce. It is without a doubt the best and most versatile hot sauce to used as an ingredient in recipes or added to soups, gumbo, or stirred into dishes. It's why it is the "Gold Standard"
9 weeks ago
9 weeks ago Link To Comment
I have a bottle of Tabasco Chipotle on hand at all times, and I also like Bufalo Chipotle when I can find it.
9 weeks ago
9 weeks ago Link To Comment
Tabasco really isn't the greatest Louisana-style pepper sauce. It's lots'a hot but not so much flavor. So very many of that genre are so much better... Crystal, for example.
9 weeks ago
9 weeks ago Link To Comment
Absolutely. I also like "Try Me" brand Tiger Sauce. It's more of a savory sauce but has a mild bite especially if not someone who likes a lot of heat. Excellent in small quantities on steak.
9 weeks ago
9 weeks ago Link To Comment
I don't know about the others, but I agree on the Tapatio-- I buy it and like it a lot.

I also like Bufalo -- if you use a lot, it's hot, and if you just use a little, in soups or stews or anything, it just adds a nice additional flavor to the food.
9 weeks ago
9 weeks ago Link To Comment
I love the Bufalo Chipotle when I can get it.
9 weeks ago
9 weeks ago Link To Comment
I was in the local place several years ago and asked for hot sauce for my chili,
expecting the usual bland stuff. The server brought DAVE's. The owner came running out screaming, "You gave him DAVE'S???!!!!!!!!! JESUS!"

I found out why.
9 weeks ago
9 weeks ago Link To Comment
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