Gene Expression

7 days of hot sauce

Regular readers know that I’m really into smokin’ hot sauces. I mean real hot. I’m the guy who the chefs at the local Thai restaurant know well enough to get their habanero paste ready for the medium rare steak flank. I’m the guy who checks out the local organic or Mexican grocery store for habanero sauce that’s not very debased with tomato extract and other vegetable additives to make it palatable for mortals. Well, I got tired of this. I’ve decided I’m going to try and obtain a wholesale quantity of really spicy hot sauce to last me for years, I’m tired of running out, I’m tired of having to run to the store to restock on my cayenne powder. So a few weeks ago I ordered 7 hot sauces from Hot Sauce.com. They just arrived, and the image is below. In the near future I plan to use each of these hot sauces during a meal, and I’ll blog it as “7 days of hot sauce.” I’m going to select from these brands my hot sauce for the years. I am looking for suggestions on what to eat to maximize my discernment powers.
i-d66535487c25e8a5d2cce746bb176ae3-hotsauce.jpg

Comments

  1. #1 John Dupuis
    March 26, 2007

    I like to mix a good splash or two (or more!) of hot sauce in a small bowl of white rice. You really get the pure flavour of the sauce that way. Scrambled eggs are good for that too.

  2. #2 MartinC
    March 26, 2007

    You plan to EAT it ? You wimp !
    Us real men chili lovers use it as contact lens storage solution!
    To be serious I like hot sauces too but often have more trouble with them the following day on their way out rather than when they go in!
    So then, whats the evolutionary advantage of having hot spice receptors up my arse ?

  3. #3 Mustafa Mond, FCD
    March 26, 2007

    I’m the guy who the chefs at the local Thai restaurant know well enough to get their habanero paste ready for the medium rare steak flank. I’m the guy who checks out the local organic or Mexican grocery store for habanero sauce that’s not very debased with tomato extract and other vegetable additives to make it palatable for mortals.

    Habanero? Whimp. Everyone knows the hottest pepper on the planet is the Ghost Pepper.

  4. #4 blf
    March 26, 2007

    I prefer trying sauces (or chilies) in three different ways:

    1. As a condiment on the prepared dish.

    2. Added as an ingredient during the final stages of cooking.

    3. Added earlier in the cooking (e.g., an initial ingredient).

    Having said that, I don’t, weirdly, have a favourite or recommended dish for sauce/chili-tasting.

  5. #5 Aerik
    March 26, 2007

    On the first day of hot sauce my true love gave to meeeeeee, a bottle of dave’s insanity.

  6. #6 Roy
    March 26, 2007

    If you can find manzano peppers (like habaneros but bigger and with a thick soft fruit body) you can cook them and puree them for an instant hot sauce with zero additives and more flavor than pureed habaneros.

  7. #7 Geoff Wozniak
    March 26, 2007

    I can vouch for the Dave’s stuff being incredibly hot. Use with caution. :-)

  8. #8 Zed
    March 26, 2007

    Oysters on the half shell.

  9. #9 Dylab
    March 26, 2007

    I voted fried rice.

  10. #10 Agnostic
    March 26, 2007

    Does being a non-taster affect your ability to perceive other taste profiles? Like sweets? I ask cuz the only person I’ve known who could rival my sweet tooth is a brown dude who also had a high tolerance for spicy stuff. The popularity of gulab jamun would make sense if the creators couldn’t taste just how rich it was. Most Euros I’ve seen eat it can’t take more than one “dollop” or whatever they’re called.

    That’s the good part of being a super-taster — I can’t tolerate even small amounts of beer or chili peppers, but the quality of sweets is even more orgasmic.

  11. #11 razib
    March 26, 2007

    Does being a non-taster affect your ability to perceive other taste profiles? Like sweets? I ask cuz the only person I’ve known who could rival my sweet tooth is a brown dude who also had a high tolerance for spicy stuff.

    i don’t like sweet things, and have never found them interesting. non-taster does have a generalizing dulling effect from what i though, though only bitter sensitivity has been well studied.

  12. #12 John
    March 27, 2007

    They have a thing in Thailand which just looks like an ordinary innocent pale green bean. I unknowingly got them twice in Thai fried rice made with the shrimp paste in Bangkok before I made the connection. You crunch them up, swallow them – nada. Nothing. Bland and harmless.

    Five minutes later, suddenly your mouth starts to burn, and the intensity keeps increasing until you are on fire like you wouldn’t believe.

    I asked a Thai guy what they were and he said “Oh you mean ‘time bombs'”. Then he laughed a lot.

    I still don’t know what they are. I only know I need to search my fried rice before I eat it.

    That’s my answer Razib – Thai dishes. Or fresh crab in the shell cut into quarters and stir fried with the sauce and black beans and eaten with steamed rice, with more of the sauce for dipping the crab and mixing with the rice and black beans.

  13. #13 ken
    March 27, 2007

    That delayed-effect Thai cuisine must be a local thing, because my Bangkokian friends have never heard of it.

    Having picked up a selection of those sauces on excursions through the Southwest, I can drink most of them from a tablespoon (if not the bottle). Most of them are liberal with vinegar, sugar, and barbecue-flavoring, so there’s a sameness to them that you wouldn’t expect based on the creative labeling. For culinary enjoyment, use them on grilled chicken. For science, you could methodically dilute the crap out of them, sample them with a spoon, and see what you can still discern.

    They can tout their “Scoville rating” all they want, but the pain doesn’t compare to a hard-core dish of Thai “som-tum”. I suspect the ability of a dish or sauce to freak out (and continue freaking out) your taste receptors is fairly complex, and simply measuring the capsaicin content can be misleading.

  14. #14 Nick
    April 23, 2007

    Only 7 days of hot sauce? Granted, over half of the sauces you bought contain capsaicin extract and are considered extra-hots, but if your really into hot sauces your going to need to get some full flavored stuff! Try Marie Sharp’s – but you’ll have to buy a full case to last you a year, it’s a great sauce with a mild heat that causes just a tingle on the tongue.

  15. #15 razib
    April 23, 2007

    thanks for the recommendation!

  16. Thanks for doing this review — I found this page on a google search for “hot sauce” — seeing as you’re pretty passionate about hot sauce, you might want to consider opening up your own hot sauce store. I started one recently called The Hot Sauce Collector as a way of keeping track of my favorite hot sauces for my friends, and have started to get some sales going on. You can start your own at Zlio.

  17. #17 RAM
    August 25, 2008

    One that you hear little mention of is the Hatari pepper. It is arguably the hottest pepper out there (yes, considerably hotter than the Habanero). Unfortunately, one company bought all the land that they have been found on, so they are also the only company with access to them. That can be a positive (no competitors can get their hands on the peppers), or a negative (nobody really hears about the pepper). In any event, it’s dang hot!

The site is currently under maintenance and will be back shortly. New comments have been disabled during this time, please check back soon.