I know that I’m opening myself to challenges, criticism, and possibly even ridicule by posting a “Top 10” list of hot sauces. After all, it’s not a subject to be taken lightly. I’m putting it out there anyway. Besides, I don’t have any problem with a healthy, civil debate.
Here’s my take on hot sauces in general. There’s a lot of them out there. Many of them are very good. Some of them are not. The good ones enhance food in such a way that you enjoy it even more. The bad ones tend to mask the food’s true flavor because the person who made that hot sauce decided their mission in life was to hurt you somewhere in your digestive tract. More Scoville units are not always better. You know what they say: “Burn in, burn out!”
Of course, some people can handle more “heat” than others, but hot sauce should never be an unpleasant experience. Well, unless you’ve entered some sort of extreme food challenge and there’s a lot of money on the line. Then, by all means, grab that bottle of Professor Phardtpounder’s Colon Cleaner and pray for an empty bathroom stall.
I definitely like to taste some vinegar in a hot sauce. To me, that tanginess is key, especially on chicken. Here are my favorite everyday, all-purpose hot sauces that actually bring out flavor rather than obscure it. Think of this as Harris’ Hot Sauce Hall of Fame:
10. Tapatio Salsa Picante
9. Trader Joe’s Jalapeno Pepper Hot Sauce
8. Frank’s Red Hot Original Cayenne Pepper Sauce
7. Tabasco Pepper Sauce
6. Huy Fong Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce
5. Louisiana Original Hot Sauce
4. Valentina Salsa Picante
3. Texas Pete Original Hot Sauce
2. Cholula Original Hot Sauce
1. Crystal Hot Sauce