When I gave my talk at the Farmer’s Market on Saturday I was asked, I believe by reader Crystal who blogs at Cafe Cyan, what hot sauces do I keep in my fridge. While normally easy for anyone else to answer, it was a difficult question for me to come up with an answer to so I answered with those that I end up replacing most often–Frank’s Red Hot and Sriracha, two of the most commonly used hot sauces on the market today.
My wife pointed out to me my failure as a hot sauce connoisseur by mentioning that these two mass market hot sauces are what I consider to be my go-to sauces. For the sake of time I decided it was a lot easier than going to great lengths in listing all of the ones that I have on hand at any time and use for any number of things including reviewing and/or just taking up space in the fridge because I’m a hot sauce pack rat.
I mean we’ve all been through the list of those that I’ve reviewed here including: Lucky’s, Blair’s Ultra Death Sauce 20/20, San Pedro Pequin, etc. In addition to those I also have Bossman’s Swamp Juice and Ron’s Nuckin’ Futs (both provided to me, following a trip down South, by UpWithTheMooses but I just haven’t gotten around to reviewing them yet).
Yesterday I went to the State Fair and stopped by both the Girvan Grille booth and Singh’s Caribbean Heat to check out what hot stuff they had to offer. Because of rolling power outages across the State Fair, Girvan’s booth was down and out but Singh’s was still open. He not only had fresh, homegrown Ghost Chilies on hand ($5/ea) but also his homemade ghost pepper sauce which he was selling for $50/bottle…
Now while I realize it’s the State Fair and everything comes at a premium, especially sauce made from chilies which do not grow well in Minnesota (I apologized and stood corrected when I told him that I didn’t know of anyone who could grow them in MN and he showed me his softening pile of ghost chilies which looked like they were picked off plants three weeks ago), I cannot see why you would ever pay $50 for his sauce. I took a taste and found it only slightly hotter than comparable habanero based sauces. He says he uses straight ghost chilies for the sauce and he really does need some work, either in the chilies’ strength themselves, or kicking the sauce up a notch.
After chatting with him about Girvan’s wings (I told him I hadn’t had them at the Fair yet, only at the actual restaurant) and how they were most definitely hotter than what he was selling for $50 he had the audacity to tell me that Girvan’s sauce was inferior because, “it’s a bunch of white people making our food.” I seriously stood there in shock, came to, shook my head and told him that was not cool. He gave me a smirk and turned away from me. That’s definitely not the way to sell hot sauces to someone who has no less than 10 of them in his fridge/cabinets at any given time and would happily pay a reasonable rate to get a decent bottle of sauce.
Even though I don’t have a bottle of Minnesota borne ghost sauce in my fridge and I still have $50 in my wallet, I still do enjoy a good hot sauce. Unfortunately with so many of them priced so high I have to stick with the cheap, yet still hot and flavorful favorites, Sriracha and Frank’s. I put them in or on just about everything including spaghetti, burger meat, pretzels, chips, or even my finger or a spoon.
I know that a bunch of you out there enjoy a little hot sauce now and then so why don’t you answer Crystal’s question about which hot sauces you keep in your fridge when you want a little kick? While I’m certainly you don’t go through the estimated 5 gallons I do a year of Frank’s, how often do you have to replenish your stash? Do you ever try new hot sauces or do you just stick to your tried and true favorites? Whatever you have to say about your choice in hot sauces go ahead and comment on as I’d love to hear your thoughts.