Hot Sauce

We thought Tabasco would win hands down—we were wrong.

As often as we use hot pepper sauce in the test kitchen, we've never given much thought to brand. Considering that most are made from a basic combination of red peppers, vinegar, and salt, does brand even matter? We rounded up eight supermarket samples to find out.

First, we sprinkled each sample atop a portion of steamed white rice. Across the board, tasters deemed one sauce a knockout: Frank's RedHot won points for its “bright” and “tangy” notes and potent heat. Tasters also liked La Preferida Louisiana Hot Sauce, which was a tad hotter. Surprisingly, Tabasco, the brand most often found in restaurants and on pantry shelves (including our own), came in dead last. Why? The searing heat masked any other flavor in the sauce, and most found the thin, watery body to be unappealing. “Bitter, like pepper skin,” said one taster.

To see how our winner and loser would fare in a cooked application–with other flavors in the mix–we pitted Frank's RedHot against Tabasco in a breakfast strata made with bread, cheese, eggs, onion, and hot sauce. The results were split. Some tasters enjoyed Tabasco's spicier edge, while others preferred the fuller, more tomatoey complexity of Frank's. For sprinkling on top of the cooked strata, however, nearly all tasters once again picked Frank's RedHot as their favorite for its fuller flavor and more “luxurious” body. One taster put it succinctly: “Tabasco is an ingredient, while Frank's is a condiment.” Save Tabasco for adding heat to recipes.

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recipes/notes/hot_sauce.txt · Last modified: 2016/12/19 12:38 by jmarcos
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