I'd assumed that Mad Dog's Revenge Habanero & Chile Extract would be the spiciest "sauce" of the bunch. I put sauce in quotations because it isn't a hot sauce, it's a food additive. The label warns not to use this as a hot sauce because it is way too spicy. How spicy? The label says, "1,000,000 Scoville units Mad Dog's Revenge is 450 times hotter than Tabasco Sauce." If you don't know about the Scoville Scale, here's a sample:
2,500 - 8,000 JalapeÃ±o Pepper (which I chow down like Bell Peppers)
100,000 - 350,000 Habanero Chile
2,000,000 - 5,300,000 Standard US Grade pepper spray
Well, this is "Seven Days of Hot Sauce," so I decided to put a drop of the stuff into my pasta. It was spicy...but, I wanted just a little more. Unfortunately, I slipped in many, many, drops (I'd already decanted the extract into a hot sauce container). I tried it anyhow. I survived...it was spicy, and I've had worse, but it was serious shit. That said, it tasted like an extract, not a condiment. My problem cropped up again in that to get the spice that I want, that is sufficient for my palette, it seems that you have to drain a concoction of all its flavor! Mad Dog's Revenge Habanero & Chile Extract gets a 6 out of 10 because it is spicy, but it used "brute force" methods and lacks any subtlety or texture.
An acquaintance of mine from Guinea gave me a while back some homemade hot gunk that was super-hot, smokey, and (with age) rather fishy--dried or smoked fish is a staple in West Africa. All I can say is that it would probably blow all your sorry lot of candidates out of the water. It is a paste, not a sauce, and usually with a meal you get a 1/4 tsp of it on the side. You drag one tine of a fork through it, then through the stew, and that is nearly enough. One time in India, at a colleague's house I was given what looked like a string bean. Was REALLY hot! Then had a chat with her uncle about how he and his brother used to enter chili-eating contests. I never learned whether said brother is still among us. If I can eat Indian home cooking (and I have a reputation there of heated gourmandry), and think this Guinean stuff is teh HOT, it honestly is. I could get the recipe if you like.
Obviously, you've found your calling. Just learn to make Mad Dog Revenge for a base sounds easy) and then add the subtler flavors. You could call it Zeeb's Bengali Suttee Sauce or something ethnic, and put Bengali script on the label along with some erotic temple sculpture images. Quit all that laborious science shit.
One great thing about living is Louisiana is the Cajun food. It's quite frustrating to go out-of-state and see "Cajun" dishes or seasonings consisting of a burnt slab of meat with cayenne pepper thrown on it, or just a bottle of cayenne and salt.
There's more to a good spice than just heat. Flavor and nuance count for a lot. Good luck on your quest!
Just talked to my Guinean friend. A recipe is coming in a few days.
Why don't you add some of the extract to Hottest F-----' Sauce?
I wonder if capsaicin denatures under cooking heat at all. Things seems spicier when cold/raw to me.
Right now I get by my spice addiction with powdered cayenne, chili flakes, and the occasional habanero, or sometimes spicy potato chips. I have a poor sense of taste, I often eat food that most would find unpalatable that I prepare strictly with nutritional objectives, and the heat is what makes food stand out for me.
In the summers I grow a few pepper strains, and I trade seeds with some others, it's not quite as fun as the things I once grew in my reckless days.. but it's better than a flower garden.
I second the hotness of some African spice blends. If you can get hold of them (I buy a dry blend, not a paste), they have quite a flavor while fresh, consisting of up to 20 different spices. Just remember to keep the lid on, and use them often!
So, here's what you do.
In your blender or food processor, throw in a half-dozen good fresh green chiles, a couple cloves of garlic, maybe a slice of a sharp onion, along with the juice of a couple fresh limes and a teaspoon of salt. Maybe add some ground coriander too. Puree everything, then add your Mad Dog extract to the desired heat level. In a glass jar, should keep in the refrigerator for a week or two, maybe longer.
The lameness of a product is in direct proportion to the boasting of the name.
Razib, I think you want a more intense heat than is available in nature. You can try tricks like adding raw garlic so that the allicin sensitizes your heat receptors, but I think you're stuck with concentrates of capsaicin which necessarily lose the subtle flavors of real chilies.
What are your feelings about raw habeneros? Naga Jolokia in particular? It has about half the Scoville rating of the weakest pepper sprays.
A few years ago in a Stockholm restaurant named "Peppar" (you can probably guess what the name means), I had a shot they called "Rattlesnake". I believe it was made by steeping various chilies in a mixture of vodka and tequila for a week or so, then straining it and pouring small shots. These were to be downed in one gulp.
As I recall, it did have the combination you seem to seek: both intense "heat" and a depth of flavors. Sure, it wasn't a hot sauce for cooking, but it seems to fit in your theme...
razib, tried any of the Naga Morich, Bhut Jolokia, or Bih Jolokia peppers yet? They're supposed to naturally be over one million Scovilles - people are making hot sauces out of them that might have both the heat and the flavor you're looking for.