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Food & Entertaining

Some Like It Hot

Author: Susan Regan
Issue: September, 2009, Page 48
Photography by David B. Moore
In a blind taste test, Phoenix Home & Garden’s staff tried six brands of hot sauce. Here are the results:


1.) PAIN IS GOOD
Dark in color and with a thick consistency akin to barbecue sauce, this option was determined to be the spiciest of the bunch, with a heat level that started off mild and slowly intensified. One taster labeled it “seriously sneaky.”
 

2.) CHOLULA
Panelists liked the flecks of spice and chile aroma in this sauce, but it lost points for being watery and having only a subtle chile flavor.


3.) ARIZONA’S OLD WEST - BEST!
Offering a zesty kick, this hot sauce was favored for its smoky chipotle flavor, thick consistency and bits of chile. (Arizona's Old West can be ordered by calling Arizona Cowboy at 602.278.1427; arizonacowboy.net.)


4.) D.L. JARDINE’S
This acidic option was considered too watery and thin. It offered a mid-range heat level.


5.) ARIZONA GUNSLINGER
A tomato undertone was noted in this option, which most tasters thought had an increasing heat level that lingered on the tongue.


6.) TABASCO
An acidic vinegary smell and taste defined this entry, which was the only green jalapeño sauce in the bunch. Many felt its heat level was mid-range.



A WORD FROM CHEF ALLAN

When people are looking to add kick to a dish, they often turn to hot sauce. The basic recipe contains chile peppers, vinegar and salt; other ingredients, such as spices, may be added to vary the flavor. Perhaps the most recognized hot sauce manufacturer is Tabasco®, which was first made in the mid-1800s using Capsicum frutescens peppers. Since then, companies have begun using a variety of peppers to produce hot sauces, including pequín, arbol, cayenne, habanero and jalapeño, some of which are native to Mexico.

In general, the smaller the pepper, the hotter it will be, explains Executive Chef M. Allan Schanbacher. The best way to determine the heat level of a pepper is to check its Scoville unit, a measurement that ranks the heat of a pepper. (To view a Scoville Chile Heat Chart, log on to homecooking.about.com/library/weekly/blhotchiles.htm.)
 
Find Chef Allan’s recipe for Caliente Bloody Mary Mix at phgmag.com/food/recipe/200909/caliente-bloody-mary-mix/.


   




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