Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Caribbean Hot Sauce Reviews: Melinda's Hot Sauce

Melinda's Hot SauceI have called this Melinda's Original Habanero Pepper Sauce, but really, most if not all of Melinda's Sauces say Original Habanero Pepper Sauce on the Bottle -- this original sauce is really "Melinda's Hot Sauce", as distinguished from Melinda's XXXXtra Reserve, or Melinda's Mango.

Melinda's Sauces are produced in Costa Rica by Figueroa Bothers, Inc., headquartered in Dallas, TX.

If you like the Melinda's sauces you will be glad to know that you can purchase many of them BY THE GALLON from their company store, at quite a savings. So for instance, a gallon of the standard Melinda's Hot Sauce, available for $34.65 would make 25+ 5 oz bottles of the stuff, and at $2.96 per bottle, you would be saving more than $40.

Cool to have a gallon of the stuff at the table, huh?

Check out the website; it's got a lot of stuff listed. OK, now to the review.

This sauce was one of my first non-Louisiana style Pepper Sauces, and I have fond memories of discovering it, especially since it did not hit me over the head with major Vinegar.

Melinda's Hot Sauce
Ingdts: Carrots, Red Habanero Peppers, Onions, Lime Juice, Vinegar, Garlic, Salt

As you can see the acid/sour components come 4th and 5th on the list, so the major flavor contributors would seem to be Carrot, Pepper and Onion.

This sauce is thick and orange in the bottle with some visible chunkiness -- it coats the bottle well when shaken and I would expect it to stick to what it was poured on and add to the thickness of a sauce.

To the Nose there is a fairly mild and well balanced Lime/Pepper Garlic mix, but no hint of heat and just a little Vinegar.

The 1/4 teaspoon test to the tongue gives a strong Lime taste first, followed by a classic habanero pepper heat and flavor with Carrot sweetness, some Garlic,and a lingering Saltiness.

The finish is fairly long, beginning with a strong Lime and fading to a Salty Habanero Pepperiness, and finally to a mild Pepper Heat on the front and mid-tongue over a minute or 2.

The heat is fairly mild, and well within the range of common and familiar Hot Sauces, although with a longer finish and a little more intensity.

This is an unbalanced sauce in that it supplies a nice range of Sweet, Sour, Salty, Hot, and Complex Pepper flavors, but with a predominant Lime Flavor, and it would be good in quite a range of foods, from Seafood to Wings, or on a Burger.

I think it would make an especially good sauce for those who are used to basic Louisiana style sauces and it would add a level of interest beyond what they expect.

I personally have tried it on many foods, including, recently, chicken sausages and Mexican Style Pulled Pork, or Carnitas (my admittedly inauthentic version, gringo that I am), and it was great.

You have to be careful in that Melinda's Hot Sauce does add a fairly strong Lime flavor to foods, especially when you add a goodly amount to compensate for the mild heat.

Recommended, especially for fish, seafood, and more mildly flavored foods that respond well to the addition of Lime and/or sweet(ish) foods where the Sweetness balances the Lime.

I purchased this Sauce from The Carolina Sauce Company for $3.75.

Next time, I'll do Melinda's Mango and Melinda's XXXXtra Reserve, and I'm doing them together for a reason. Can you guess what it is?

Yours in heat and flavor,


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