Thursday, October 8, 2009

Exotic Hot Sauces -- What are they, and are they good?

Exotic Hot Sauces
I call any hot sauce you can't buy in a supermarket -- exotic. Generally speaking they fall into the various categories of hot sauces that are well known. Even if you can buy some of them in some supermarkets, many are not well known, and due to lack of general availability, I still consider them exotic.

Jennifer Trainer Thompson, in her book, "Hot Licks", breaks down North American sauces into the:

Blair's Original Death Hot Sauce
1) Mild Louisiana Style, or vinegar based sauces with cayenne and salt,

2) Often quite hot Caribbean Style, with habanero peppers, tropical fruits and sometimes vegetables (often carrot), herbs, spices, some vinegar and/or vinegar (often cider vinegar),

3) Mexican or Border Sauces in which dried and/or smoked peppers such as chipotle, arbol, piquin, and others predominate, along with fresh pepper, onion, herbs, spices, and some vinegar.

She also discusses

5) Caribbean Piques, made with vinegar, dried and fresh pepper, garlic/onion, and some herbs or spices, which are like a spicier more kicked up Louisiana Hot Sauce,

Marie Sharp Hot Sauce
6) And Caribbean Sherries with sherry or rum (or other island alcohol) and peppers.

Trainer gives a bunch of recipes for making your own Hot Pepper Sauces, too, and points out that many of these sauces are basically home made in origin and continue to be so in their native countries.

Which means of course that you, too, can make your own hot sauces, if you wish.

And that's what happened in this country some time back, and is continuing to happen right now, with new hot sauces being introduced all of the time.
Benito's Hot Sauce
A lot of those are standard hot sauces with the same cast of characters as ingredients, and differ from each other only in balance and proportion, but some started to add Hot Pepper Extract, which is just another way of saying these sauces include short cuts to greater heat, sometimes crazy heat, for which there is an adoring and CRAZY public (not me), who like their Hot Pepper Sauces jacked up with Capsaicin or close analogues.

For me that just pushes the flavor into the background -- I mean peppers and the other ingredients in the sauce have flavor, but if you can't use more than a 1/2 a drop of the sauce, how much flavor are you going to get?
Melinda's Hot Sauce

I am interested though in those newer sauces up to about 50,000 Scoville Units (about 25X hotter than Tabasco FYI), without extracts and I'm going to review a few, starting with some Caribbean and Central American Style sauces, some made here in the US of A, and some from ... elsewhere.

Some of those with staying power and some of those which have attracted favorable attention include:

Ingdts: red and orange habaneros, vinegar, fresh cayenne, smashed garlic, chipotle, lime juice, cilantro, fresh herbs and spices

Ingdts: fresh carrots, choice red habanero peppers, onions, lime juice, vinegar, garlic, salt

Ingdts: hand-select choice red habanero peppers, fresh carrots, onions, lime juice, vinegar, garlic, salt

Ingdts: organic orange habaneros, fresh orange bell peppers, garlic, carrots and white onions

Ingdts: red habanero peppers, fresh carrots, onions, key lime juice, vinegar, garlic, and salt

Ingdts: organic bhut jolokias, organic orange habaneros, organic ginger, organic lime juice, fresh onions and garlic

Stay tuned for the reviews!

Yours in heat and flavor,


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