Thursday, September 17, 2009

4 Hot Pepper Sauce Reviews -- Hot Sauce? Or Vinegar Sauce? Part 1: Tabasco

TabascoI am going to review 4 of the most popular brands of Hot Pepper Sauce, all of which are available in your local supermarket, to see what they are and what they’re made of, what they taste like, and how they taste with food.

Let’s start with Tabasco
, the granddaddy of the lot, around since 1868, 3years after the Civil War for goodness’ sake.

Heinz distilled vinegarMcIlhenny Co., the maker, says it is made of in order of principal quantity:

Distilled Vinegar
Red Pepper

Tabasco has a somewhat muted orange red color as if the color itself were a little aged.

Open the cap and bring to the nose, the first impression is of Mild Vinegar with a toasty undertone from the Pepper I suppose, and then a bit of brine and just a hint of pepper heat. It’s a very pleasant smell, and one mainly of flavored Vinegar with perhaps a little Pepper Sweetness.

The ½ teaspoon test on the tongue gives a strong Sour Saltiness with a mild Aged Pepper flavor developing a moderate amount of heat on the middle and front of the tongue. The Sourness that develops is almost Lemony for a while and the taste finishes with a diminishing heat mid-tongue. There is also a very mild Pepper Sweetness in the background

In short this is a pleasant, sour lemony vinegar presence with a mild briny saltiness and a mild aged pepper heat, also a tiny bit of sweetness.

This Hot Sauce should be mild enough to go with a lot of stronger foods that can stand a major boost in acidity, and more saltiness, but would not be a good match for already sour or acid foods with more delicate or simple flavor profiles, or those with enough salt already. Not for Moules Mariniere, more delicate fish simply prepared, but great with Stews, Hearty Soups, and a lot of Louisiana Food.

So the flavor balance is skewed to sourness and saltiness, with some aged pepper complexity, some heat, and just a little sweetness.

Crystal Hot Sauce will be next.

Yours in Flavor and Heat,


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