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Hot Sauce. It’s Hot In The Mouth Of The Beholder

I like hot sauce. I don’t like it hot as a challenge. If it’s hot and flavorful, I’m down.  The problem with hot sauce is, you never really know how hot it is until you taste it….and sometimes that can be too late.  More after the jump.

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I recently received a gift set of hot sauces.  As a reference point, the first one was just a bit like regular Louisiana Hot Sauce (my go to brand).  They were labeled “Hot”, “Fire” and “Scorcher”.  I had opened the hot and it was quite tasty.  A REAL hot sauce fan then visited my house and I had an experience unlike any other one I’d ever had before.  Are you ready for it?  The “Fire” and the “Scorcher” weren’t any hotter than the “Hot”.  Now the upside is I have three bottles of hot sauce that I myself will now eat, but it brings to mind the question “what is hot”?

I went to a wings place a couple of weeks ago and got their “medium” wings.  I figured that should be right around the Louisiana Hot Sauce/Tabasco level, but no….they were so hot that I gagged a little if I breathed while taking a bite.

Then there’s Wasabi.  I am a huge Wasabi fan. I usually require about ten times the amount a normal person has.  The good thing about Wasabi is that it’s hot for about ten seconds then it goes away.

So how do we tell what is “hot” and how do we know what to expect?  I guess it’s all trial and error. There is the “Scolville” scale that judges peppers.  I kind of wish that some of the hot sauce companies would voluntarily turn in their sauces for a rating.  I think they don’t because “hot sauce” and “salsa” are almost seen as a “macho” thing and when you put the ratings on the sauces it would all then be about who’s was the hottest.

Lastly, I wish that all hot sauces had a ‘carry through’ rating.  I call it “carry through” because that’s about as tactful as I can get.  We all know that SOME hot sauces, for whatever reason, don’t break enough in your system and burn on the way out.  Yeah, I want a label that says “caution, this will make your bunghole burn”.

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