The purpose of this post is no other but a tribute to hot sauce.
Anyone who has had a meal with me knows my serious love for the stuff. Growing up in North Carolina, Texas Pete has always been my favorite, but this year I’ve decided to explore and expand my daily, rotating collection (see most current photo below).
After all, variety is the spice of life right? 🙂
A delicious meal reaches its full potential with some heat. Hot sauce, cayenne, chili oil, even some extra dashes of good ol’ black pepper–any means of obtaining some degree of spicy is fine by me.
And while any spice is better than no spice, there are of course ideal pairings of food and heat.
In order of the photo above:
- Texas Pete. My go-to, all-time favorite. Perfect for anything. What I like my hot sauce to taste like, and the standard I compare all others to. I usually use on chicken, eggs, mac n’ cheese, collards, biscuits.. basically anything. Grits, bbq, cornbread.
- Valentina. A Mexican hot sauce, introduced to me by many friends. One of my new favorites. Definitely more flavor than others. Has a certain tartness that almost tastes like there is lime in it (but there isn’t). Thicker consistency like Cholula. I’d put it on tacos, eggs, potatoes, any Mexican or Southwestern dishes.
- Louisiana Hot Sauce. The hottest out of all my current hot sauces, and also the saltiest. I probably wouldn’t buy this one again, but I’ll use it when a dish needs more salt. Other than salty, there isn’t much going on with the flavor.
- Frank’s Red Hot. Classic buffalo wings hot sauce taste. Would use this to make wings.
- Valentina, Extra Hot. I bought this because I liked the original Valentina so much. Couldn’t tell that it was much hotter, but still great flavor.
- Crystal Hot Sauce. I like this one. A good all-purpose hot sauce.
- Lao Gan Ma Chili Crisp Oil. Find this in your Asian supermarket. Old Chinese lady on the front. Amazing flavor, especially for Chinese food (dumplings, tofu, rice, noodles, etc). Crispy chili flakes with Sichuan peppercorns, fermented soybeans, prickly ash (aromatic herb). Great crunchy texture and heat. I would probably only use this for Asian dishes.
- Chili Powder. Not really spicy, more just a smoky flavor. I use this to add depth and a bbq-like essence to meats. Need to combine with cayenne for actual heat.
- Cayenne Pepper. My go-to spice for lots of burning heat. If I really just want to add heat to a dish, I go for a sprinkle of cayenne. Good, spicy, plain ol’ hotness. Oh this is also the perfect spice to jazz up fruits such as watermelon or mango–try it!!
- Ground Red Pepper. Basically just like red pepper flakes, but ground into the consistency of a powder. I would use this similar to how I use cayenne. It is less spicy than cayenne.
- Red Pepper Flakes. You know how this tastes. You put it on your pizza. That is my main use for this as well. But sometimes I also throw some into collard greens, sauteed kale, spinach, or broccoli. Goes well with greens.
And there you have it– My tribute and detailed review of a subject so integral to my daily life.
Please let me know your favorite hot sauces, chili oils, or other sources of spicy heat in the comments below. I am always looking for recommendations! How do you live a spicy life?