Google sez it's been a few months since we had a hot sauce thread in Foo, and I've got hot sauce on the brain, so I feel like telling the world about my favorites.
Let me know about fantastic hot sauces you love!
Warning: anybody who leaves any comment like "I prefer to taste my food" WILL BE RIDICULED MERCILESSLY. And then we will find your house, break in, and make all the food in your fridge more interesting. If you don't like hot sauce, whatever, I don't need you cluttering my my beautiful spicy thread with your snideness. Just move along, create your own thread "What's your favorite bland food?" and you can snicker at us chiliheads on your own time.
OK, so here goes...
If I had to pick just one sauce for the rest of my life, it would probably be El Yucateco XXXtra Hot Kutbil-ik Mayan Style Habanero Hot Sauce (I won't hunt down and paste links for everything, but this one deserves it). Fiery hot, gotta be careful not to put too much, but DEE LISH US flavor. Typically will have this with shredded chicken tacos, or on a quesadilla, or maybe scrambled eggs.
It's been a long time since I ever used much Tabasco, too much pure vinegar for me; although once in a while I'll run across Tabasco's Chipotle hot sauce, which is really good.
I used to be a big Cholula devotee, I judged mexican restaurants by whether they had Cholula on the table (classy) or Tapa Tio (crappy) or something american (not a chance), mostly because Tapa Tio is cheaper and doesn't have a cool wooden cap. But then I tasted Tapa Tio, and not only is it cheaper but I like it a little better, so I switched. Good with any kind of mexican or italian tomato sauce. Makes spaghetti great.
Sriracha is the new big thing (please to enjoy this srilicious cartoon!), back in the day I would use it in Pho, but I didn't stock it at home; but now I'm getting into it more since I discovered there are other brands out there than the original rooster! Sky Valley (phoenix on the bottle) was the first alternative I discovered, it's awesome! A lot sweeter, probably why I like it. Trader Joe's not too impressive, Texas Pete's "Cha!" was OK, Crying Tiger that I get at the 99c store is my current go-to. "3-regions" I also got once from the 99c store, it's pretty good too, closer to the rooster, I prefer Crying Tiger.
For me, sriracha goes on pretty much anything asian, especially I eat a lot of ramen at work (I keep a ziploc of thai basil, and a big bag of frozen mixed veg in the freezer to make it delicious, and approximately nutritious). It's also great on eggs, or just straight up on white rice, or often at work when I've got the munchies, I'll just squeeze out a fingerful and slurp it up and enjoy.
I just rediscovered gochujang, the korean spiced bean paste. I had a korean roommate in college, and he introduced me to it. I've been seeing it pop up on the food network, so I've been looking for it for months (even at my usual asian market) but finally found it (a whole aisle of varieties!) at the korean-centric H-mart. It's kind of like sriracha in paste form, but sweet and smoky, kind of 20% of the way from sriracha towards bbq sauce. When I got it home, I mixed a big spoonful into a bowl of jasmine rice, ahhhh, memories.
Wings: ever since Rutgers, I have been addicted to Cluck U Chicken's Thermo-Nuclear sauce. Thick and sticky, more sweet, heat, and black pepper than vinegar. "18, Thermo" was my refrain back in the day. Made for a great night and a great morning. I wish I could find a clone of that recipe.
A few other randoms while I'm thinking about it...
La India Brava, Salsa de Chiltepin. Funny enough, googling for it,I found it on the personal blog of a framebuilder from Flagstaff, I wonder if he's a BF guy. My in-laws brought this hot sauce back for us from a trip to Mexico, I loved it to death, but have never been able to find it in the states.
Another great sauce the in-laws once brought back from a trip (this time Belize), is Marie Sharp's fiery hot habanero sauce. Its unique flavor comes I think from the vegetables used, I think primarily carrots. We also tried some of the grapefruit habanero sauce, that was pretty good in its own way.
A local sauce I had not too long ago at a restaurant, Chingon Maquina Verde, it's way hotter than I would have expected from a jalapeno sauce, and the flavor is amazeballs! So bright and jalapeno-y and, well, green!
I'll close with a few standout spicy recipes:
Jerk chicken from the BBC's Ainsley Harriot; you don't need to bother making thyme-infused vinegar, any old wine vinegar will do (we use rice wine vinegar).
Puerco Pibil from the DVD extra features of Once Upon a Time in Mexico. Johnny Depp killed for it, you will too.
Both of those recipes work great with kids if you hold out the habanero, divide the sauce in half, add habanero to just half of the sauce and marinate/cook separately.
One more recipe, which we bring to the family thanksgiving every year: Bobby Flay's chipotle sweet potatoes. What's better than sweet+heat? Sweet+heat+creamy of course! However, if you use 2c of cream like the recipe says, you'll have soup. It's more like 1/2 c I think. And you don't need to be so anal about stacking and layering. Here's my way: Peel and slice the sweet potatoes into a big bowl, 2T (plus or minus to taste) of pureed chipotle&adobo from a can with 1/2 c of cream, stir it into the slices, add more cream if everything isn't cream-juicy, dump into a baking dish/bowl, bake until a fork tells you the potatoes are cooked. Between Bobby's way and my way, you'll figure it out.
EDIT: another one more: make your own hot mexican carrots! Eat straight as a snack, or food-process into a relish. Great with anything with melted cheese: cook into scrambled eggs. Add to a quesadilla. Add to your nachos. PS make nachos with ruffles. Yer welcome.