I’ve often wondered how food critics get their start. It seems many are former chefs, some are journalists, and some are hobbyists. I have no “earned right” to critique food, or even hot sauce, but I find both incredibly enjoyable. Often, I find myself searching for reviews on just about anything you can think of, hot sauce included. I struggle to find an informed opinion, and frequently find reviews such as, “This sucks”, “It’s really hot”, “I like Sriracha better”. Well, that doesn’t help me make a decision, and I’m sure it doesn’t help anyone else who would appreciate a few additional details before purchasing a product. To help my fellow hot sauce enthusiast, I’ve decided to share my love of the condiment and a few reviews to help you navigate the seemingly endless options available.
My love (more like infatuation) began at a young age. Somewhere around 5 years old, I found pickled jalapenos to be irresistible. Something about that tangy heat made me crave more. In addition to this, my family had a small vegetable garden and grew all of the ingredients for a homemade salsa, which they canned every year. Every year, two batches were produced: one regular, and one extra hot. Their idea of regular heat often gave normal folks a bit of a fire tongue and sometimes even a little sweat. Not me. I found it delightfully irresistible, and would chow down chip after chip loaded with the extra hot version.
A few years ago, I became bored with the large jugs of mass-produced hot sauce commercially available at every store and found in most restaurants. I decided to branch out and see what else I could find out there. Surely, there had to be other options for those of us who grow bored with monotony. One can only drain so many bottles of Tabasco, Sriracha, and Cholula before wondering if there’s something better waiting around the bend. I finally found the answer (by accident) at local street festivals and farmers markets. I discovered the joys of sampling a dozen or more local creations by various individuals, and my hunt began!
Over the years, I’ve discovered that small batch hot sauce lovers belong to a fascinating community. They make their own creations, get excited to try each other’s offerings, share, swap, and even advertise for each other. These people all found something they love, whether that’s making sauces, eating sauces, or selling them. These are my people. They don’t use hot sauce to cover up their food, they use it to enhance the flavor. They don’t (just) eat hot peppers and sauces for the shock value, they do it for the pleasure, the addictive pain, the flavor, the research, and the experience. I love these people, and I want to be a part of the community.
My contribution is simple. Read on for random musings and reviews about the spicy life. Follow me on my journey to find and eat the best hot sauces I can. I promise to give honest reviews and try to help you find your new favorite hot sauce.