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The Smoking Tongue

November 28, 2005

Day 130: Bee Sting Mango

Full name: "Half Moon Bay Trading Company Bee Sting Mango Passion Pepper Sauce"

On a whim, I went back to the little import store where I found the first Bee Sting sauce. I was completely surprised to find this very last bottle hiding behind all the other Bee Stings. The labels looked the same from afar, but upon close inspection I could see color differences in the font.

Today is Black Friday, so all the women are out shopping their hearts out. I weaseled my way into getting a few of the guys to eat lunch at the China Buffet. This way I could finally try out this sweet honey sauce. (I'm starting to realize that this is becoming a problem. My girlfriend has commented more than once that my lunches, and sometimes whole days, revolve around what kind of hot sauce I'm trying to finish that day)

Ulterior motives aside, the sauce went really well with the cuisine. In fact, it went much better than even the Dragon Sauce I used last time.

The flavor is sweet, and pretty mute. It simply added to the heavy sauces the restaurant was already using, instead of conflicting with them.

The smell, however, is amazing. It smells like my mom's spice rack. Sweet, sweet memories.

This fruity delight is a tribute to love... of world cuisine, vibrant latino culture and of course the human bond! Succulent tropical fruit melds with the fresh "killer bee" honey to create a sweet-hot sensation in your mouth. For kicks & hot licks, try it on anything you'd use syrups, glazes or jellies on (except sensitive areas of the skin or eyes silly)."

Wow, if that isn't a ringing endorsement to start your own company....

Bottoms up!
Wow! (Not the good kind of wow)
Wow, this was really mute! I'm surprised I enjoyed this during lunch so much. The flavor certainly starts out good, but then it just disappears. I've licked, and relicked the remaining sauce from the shot glass, hoping to pick up more. There's just nothing there.

This shit isn't hot sauce! I appreciate chefs trying out different things, but this crap has got to stop. Just because you can mash two different vegetables together, doesn't mean you have to slap a label on a bottle and start selling it as hot sauce! Ketchup is made from tomatoes and sugar mashed together. They're not selling it in a 5 ounce, 5 dollar glass bottle and calling it "Termater Pepper Sauce" !!

Tomorrow: Paisanito's Chipotle Sauce

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November 24, 2005

Day 129: Dave's Insanity Jalapeno

Full name: "Dave's Gourmet Hurtin' Jalapeno Hot Sauce"

I guess Hurtin' Jalapeno has a better ring than Jolty Chayote. I'm a little torn between the disclosure of this sauce, or just not giving a shit. On one hand, the main ingredient is chayote pulp, a native Guatemalan vegetable also known as "Vegetable pear" and "Mango squash". That's a far cry from the delicious pepper I drool about called, Jalapeno. On the other hand, it really passed as a Jalapeno sauce when it was on my food.

I guess maybe I would have eaten more broccoli as a kid if my parents simply would have called it green ice cream.

Happy Thanksgiving!

My girlfriend's sister had knee surgery last week, so she came up with the brilliant idea that the "men" would cook Thanksgiving dinner. Didn't bother me, I've done it all before, with success. And you can't go wrong with the classics. It also allows you to make sure that all your favorites are there. For me that could be summed up in one word. Stuffing.

I woke up at 6, made sweet Cajun love to the turkey, and cracked my first beer open by 9 a.m. Definitely a start to a great day.

Once the food was served, I ran upstairs to my suitcase and brought down the 4 hot sauces I was going to use for the next 4 days. Today I chose a jalapeno sauce. I already had great success with green chiles in Stove Top Stuffing before, and I thought it might also go weirdly well with the turkey.

After we said grace, I threw caution to the wind and poured half the bottle over the whole plate. I was so hungry, I didn't want to stop and shake more out later. It was a dark, off-green color. Before I even ate my first bite, my girlfriend's dad started laughing out loud and said, "It looks like your plate is covered in goose shit!"

Having raised a few geese on our farm as a kid, I whole-heartedly agreed. Luckily, it didn't taste like any goose poop I had ever eaten.

"So Green, It's Obscene!"

I could barely smell anything from the bottle. Hardly any smell, no aroma. Just a small hint of green chiles, lime, and fruit.

I thought it went well with the meal. Nothing I'd purposely pick again, but the green flavor worked with the turkey, and certainly added a nice juice to the stuffing and potatoes. The first few bites seemed to flood my mouth with heat, but after a while it wasn't a factor, and I finished the bottle in one meal.

Bottoms up!
This didn't taste very good alone. The not-really-jalapeno flavor is too muted. It's hard for me to believe that it falls under the Dave's Insanity label. The world renown label of being absolutely, positively not muted! I guess the only reason I didn't notice the lack of flavor during lunch was because I used a whole bottle. I can't imagine anyone putting a few drops of this sauce on some food and tasting it. To add insult to injury: the heat barely tickled my tongue.

This tasty jalapeno sauce is made with chayote, a Mexican vegetable. Try it on burritos, pastas, chicken, salads and in soups. Enjoy!
Warning! This product may be addictive to those with taste buds, but don't worry, we'll make more."

Hard to claim it as a Jalapeno sauce when jalapenos were listed after leeks, and after coriander. Maybe it's a leek sauce? Squash sauce? Disappointing sauce, for sure.

Tomorrow: Bee Sting Mango Passion Pepper Sauce


November 23, 2005

Day 128: Louisiana The Perfect Jalapeno

Full name: "Louisiana The Perfect Jalapeno Hot Sauce One Drop Does It"

I told myself long ago that I would never touch these thin, little, shitty excuses for hot sauces, ever again. And here I am with the full set again. Eating a hot sauce a day has depleted my collection, and my will power. After many months, I was just unable to ignore these 99 cent local purchases.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, and today is Shit-I-have-to-work day. I tried to get out early, but it just wasn't working out. Due to all the errands I had yet to run, and all the traveling, I needed something "easy" to eat today as a hot sauce. Matching hot sauces with unknown travel food is a logistics nightmare. So I picked a 3 ounce bottle, and I picked their Jalapeno flavor, since that sucks ass the least.

I lucked out and was able to eat cold, leftover Lasagna for lunch (Is it still lunch when it's 3:30 in the afternoon?) The sauce was dark, murky, and a depressing green color. Just the other day I was complaining about fake food coloring, and now I'm looking at something that really could have used it. Something must be wrong with me.

I guess I only care about the color when it tastes bad. When it tastes good, I never care about the color.

The flavor was like most green vinegar sauces. Tart, too much vinegar, and too runny. It has a green flavor to it, but nothing that any self respecting Jalapeno would be proud of. It's almost like this just came from the water that washed the jalapenos, before the peppers got shipped off to a REAL hot sauce company.

"Mild Flavor!"

Each one of the Louisiana sauces have a sticker at the top that have a different saying. Their main sauce says "Original", and for years I thought that was the company's name! This bottle says, "Mild Flavor", and I have to ask, why bring attention to a bad thing? Mild flavor sums this up nicely. It's so mild, you can barely taste any flavor.

Bottoms up!
Wow, this was tart!
When I got home from work, the first thing I did was pour myself a shot and take a picture. This way I could pack up the camera, and could safely finish the rest of the hot sauce no matter where supper ended up being tonight.

Tomorrow: Dave's Insanity Hurtin' Jalapeno

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November 22, 2005

Day 127: Longbranch Salsa Rio Verde

Full name: "Longbranch Trading Co. Gourmet Sauce - Salsa Rio Verde - Salsa Verde 5 Pepper Blend"

From Long Beach, California comes Longbranch Trading Company. Named after a grandparent's General Store, Curt & Pam Worthy recently started making commercial sauces for the same reason almost everyone else does: Friends and family kept yammering for more. Well, my momma told me I was good looking, and that was a damn lie. And we've all seen the disasters on American Idol where people were incorrectly told by friends that they had voices like angels.

So how did they do?

At their first competition, 3 of their sauces won a total of 4 awards. I remember back when they first announced it. I remember thinking what a great maiden voyage it was, to win 4 awards at Zest Fest! However, today I figured out that the competition was actually Zesty Best. Not Zest Fest. Big difference. Like winning a high school football game vs. the Super Bowl.

And of course when I grabbed the closest Longbranch hot sauce for lunch, I grabbed the only one that had not won any award.

The sauce smells pungent & fresh, with lots of lime. Although I wouldn't call it a thick sauce, I was surprised how thick it was considering the first two ingredients were liquid. The rest must have been some high quality pepper mash.

The flavor didn't sit well with me at all. Made my tacos taste pretty bad. The main problem for me is simply the vinegar. Apple Cider Vinegar, to be precise. I don't think I've ever had a sauce with Apple Cider Vinegar that I liked. It's just an overpowering flavor, and a flavor I don't like. Sadly, it looks like most of the Longbranch sauces have that as the main ingredient.

I'm pretty sure this is different strokes for different folks. There has certainly been some positive reviews for this sauce. One even took delight in the Apple Cider Vinegar ingredient. Yech!!

Also, the creator of this sauce has mentioned that it goes great with pork chops. Sadly, none were available to me today.

I'm still looking forward to the other three. It can only go up from here. Plus, I like a challenge. At least one of the others is suppose to be a lot hotter.

Bottoms Up!
Some how this sauce seemed to get thicker and get stuck while going down my throat. While it was camping there, it had plenty of time to start burning my esophagus.

Liquid Plumber cleaning a sink drain did come to mind.

Green, harsh, and pretty hot.

Salsa Verde 5 Pepper Blend. This Blend of Fresh Serrano, Dry Serrano, Jalapeno, Habanero and Roasted Green Peppers give this sauce a lively flavor that explodes on your taste buds and keeps them warm and happy."

Other Longbranch sauces:
Longbranch Trading Co. - Longbranch Original
Longbranch Trading Co. - Dorsey's Reserve
Longbranch Trading Co. - Hot Blonde

Tomorrow: Louisiana The Perfect Jalapeno


November 21, 2005

Day 126: Taste of Thai Garlic

Full Name: "A Taste of Thai Garlic Chili Pepper Sauce"

I like the shape of this bottle. It's squat, and actually flares out at the top before coming back in for the neck. Due to this, it can hold 7 ounces of liquid goodness inside. I found this gem in the Asian food aisle. The back of the bottle says it was made in Thailand for Andre Prost Inc.

"Real Thai - Real Easy"

I'm usually pretty leery of Asian sauces, because they are usually sickeningly sweet. Some shouldn't even have the word "pepper" in the name. Unless, of course, "pepper" in that language stands for sugar.

This sauce, however, was excellent. I think the reason I liked it so much is because I'm such a big fan of the Rooster Sauce. Taste of Thai is just like a runnier version of Huy Fong's Rooster sauce. It's heavy on the garlic, sweet (but not too sweet), and the great pepper flavor that must be Sriracha. If the Rooster Sauce wasn't already so cheap, I'd make the switch to Taste of Thai in a second.

As far as cuisine goes, today was pretty boring. First I had leftovers, and then later I had leftovers. I finished up the night with more leftovers. Luckily this sauce tasted great with all of them, and I was able to finish the bottle without any problem.

A straight shot of this verified how similar it tasted to Rooster Sauce. Leaves a nice little burn in the back of the throat that quickly disappears. The flavor of the sriracha peppers is very strong, and very good.

Even though this sauce is runnier than Rooster, it was still thick enough to stick to the sides of the shot glass. I gladly licked the rest out since it tasted so good.

Garlic Chili Pepper Sauce - Thais add spice to their food with this tangy hot sauce. It's hot, but not fiery, and has all that really good garlic. You can use it on almost anything. Ingredients: Red Chili , water, sugar, garlic, vinegar, salt.. Free Online Recipe Club! www.atasteofthai.com"

Other sauces by Taste of Thai:
A Taste of Thai Sweet Red Chili Sauce
A Taste of Thai Fish Sauce

Tomorrow: Longbranch Trading Co. Salsa Rio Verde

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November 20, 2005

Day 125: Busha Browne's Spicy Jerk

Full Name: "Busha Browne's Spicy Jerk Sauce"

This is definitely everything A1 Steak Sauce wishes it could be. It would win hands down if people did the Pepsi Challenge with it. The flavor is very familiar. I’m sure everyone has tasted something similar to it. In my mind, it seems to be a cross between soy sauce and Worchester sauce, with a very sweet, tart, tangy kick.

I wouldn't consider this a hot sauce any day of the week. But it seems to have been lived an awkward life in the hot sauce section any time that I see it, and is always listed in the big hot sauce catalogs - so what the hell.

I went through my whole fridge and all my cupboards today. I put this sauce on just about everything in the house. I had it on a single fried egg. One last remaining piece of cold pizza. Half a steak hiding in a Tupperware container. Spaghetti. There isn't anything this sauce wouldn't taste good on. It just goes great with everything!

"A Traditional Spicy-Hot Sauce. The Quintessential Taste of Jamaican Cooking."

No, I'm not eating a baby seal stuck in an oil slick. I had no idea when I took this picture it would look like motor oil. I guess the Rotini casserole looks like dog poop too. I guess I should have put a sprig of parsley in there somewhere.

Anyway, it was still pretty good, even though I didn't have much sauce left.

Back of the bottle:
Jerked Pork is unique to Jamaica. In the seventeenth century Fugitive 'Maroons' depended on this original practice of cooking.

Traditionally, jerked meat is coated with seasonings and cooked on a lattice of smoking pimento branches over hot charcoal. The mouth-watering aroma from streetside barbecues entices many a hungry traveller."

This was an excellent sauce. Just don't call it hot sauce.

Tomorrow: A Taste Of Thai Garlic Chili Pepper Sauce


November 19, 2005

Day 124: El Yucateco Jalapeno

This is a good, raunchy, jalapeno flavored hot sauce. It's like the uncle that tells racist jokes at Thanksgiving. The freaky ex-girlfriend with armpit hair. A dirty joke whispered at church. The heat level is surprising. The taste is a collision of pissed off ingredients.

It's a mean little fucker hiding behind a cute label, that's for sure. Whoever cooked this up probably watched their dog die that day. Most brands that sell many flavors use the jalapeno sauce as their wimpy sauce. Not this one. I have no doubts that this bottle sits in the back of many cupboards. A weekly reminder of their one failed excursion away from their normal Frank's Red Hot and Tabasco.

True hot sauce lovers should find this sauce enjoyable, with plenty of uses.

The food coloring is a little off putting. Does a crayola-green color sell better than other off-greens?

Eating a bottle of hot sauce a day has been getting easier. Today I finished most of the sauce during breakfast.

What to do for the rest of the day??

Bottoms Up!
I grew a couple chest hairs right on the spot. Drinking this stuff straight gave me double vision for a few seconds. My throat was stripped raw. I'm still talking like Barry White. Woah.

The first, the last, my everything
And the answer to all my dreams
You're my sun, my moon, my guiding star
My kind of wonderful, that's what you are."

Tomorrow: Busha Browne's Spicy Jerk Sauce

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November 18, 2005

Day 123: El Yucateco Caribbean

Full name: El Yucateco Caribbean Hot Sauce Salsa Picante de Chile Habanero"

When people ask me what my favorite sauce is, this is the sauce I tell them.

It has heat, flavor, availability, and it's cheap. And when you eat as much heat as me, you either need a cheap sauce, or an extract. For a natural sauce, this probably has one of the highest BPP. (Butane Per Penny)

In real life, however, I'm so anal retentive that I could hem & haw for 10 minutes as I try to wrap my nerdy little mind around the correct answer. If I don't care about heat, I think Rooster sauce is the answer. If I want the best extract, Z is the best tasting. There are at least 10 other sauces that are perfect for different occasions. By the time I'm done making a dipshit out of myself, the person will excuse themselves and try walking away. That's when I figure out they were just trying to be friendly and chitchat with me as we stood by my hot sauce collection at work.

So this is my simple, 90% correct answer.

Without a doubt, however, this is the best sauce El Yucateco puts out. Even though it's only their 2nd hottest, it's their best flavor. (And with El Yucateco, finishing second in heat is still pretty kick ass, let me tell you)

I remember years ago having my first bottle. I was putting a dab here & there on a Subway sandwich. I went through almost a whole box of kleenex as my nose ran like a leaky faucet. Damn, I thought it was hot. A real builder.

Now, I can eat a whole bottle in one day. What's that mean? It means your mileage may vary. Use with caution. Or use a lot, depending on where you fit in on the heatness scale.

Whoops. I was enjoying this sauce so much during lunch, I emptied it out before realizing what happened. What you see here are the last few miserable drops left for tonight.

My mom always used to say we should finish our plates because there were starving kids in Africa. I say finish your hot sauce, because there is a dry mouth here in the Smoking Tongue household tonight!

Tomorrow: El Yucateco Jalapeno Hot Sauce

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November 17, 2005

Day 122: Torchbearer #7 Sultry

Full name: "Torchbearer Sauces Super Fancy #7 Sultry Sauce"

I'm really sort of disappointed. I couldn't tell any difference between this #7 sauce, and the #4 sauce I had yesterday.

With the huge jump in heat I noticed from #1 to #4, I was really expecting another big jump in heat. Instead I found myself checking the label to make sure I wasn't eating another #4.

Despite this, I had one of the best lunches in a long time today. Our chef likes to mimic restaurants sometimes. Today was a new one: Outback Steakhouse Alice Springs Chicken. It has mushrooms, bacon, and a layer of cheese smothered over a grilled chicken. I don't know who Alice is, but she makes a damn fine combination.

I spooned this sauce on top of the chicken, where it hung on without even attempting to run off. Eat bite was a little slice of heaven, although I'm pretty sure the Alice Chicken was doing most of the work.

Number one ingredient in this sauce is Mandarin Oranges. Then the familiar carrots, onions and tomato concentrate found in almost all the Torchbearer sauces.

Let's see what their crazy label says this time:

We heard a tale about a Mr. And Missus with an affinity for #7 said she put it in his coffee for a wake-up call. He put it on her unmentionables for a wake up call, and they both ate it on fried chicken, and tahini with water cress, people say it kept the fire between them, that's just what we heard. "A darn good condiment enhances what you want it to."

Did I read that right? She puts it on her unmentionables? Well, that's a first. As a first hand victim of Hunan Hand, and a second hand victim of having accidentally shared my smoking tongue after a spicy supper, I can attest that no one would do that on purpose. I can still remember the curses my girlfriend screamed out at me.

A spoonful of hot sauce makes the medicine go down.
I have to admit. While eating this massive spoonful, I definitely tasted the extra heat. It wasn't a whole lot hotter, but it was definitely hotter than yesterday's. I'm getting anxious to get into scorching territory.

I'm also hoping that the next sauce in the Torchbearer line won't taste exactly the same. So far, I'd be hard pressed to tell which tomato & orange pasty-paste is which. If they're all going to be the same, why stop at 7 different sauces? Why not make 100? The words on the labels seem to be made from a random word generator, so what the heck.

Tomorrow: El Yucateco Caribbean Hot Sauce


November 16, 2005

Day 121: Torchbearer #4 Tingly

Full name: "Torchbearer Sauces Super Fancy #4 Tingly Sauce"

Wow, a big jump in heat for being merely the 2nd one in the line. We went from nothing on the radar with the first one, to "Incoming!!" on the 2nd one. I can't wait to see what's in store from them next.

An enjoyable sauce, and damn if the name Tingly ain't exactly what was happening to my tongue. And getting a tingling sensation on my worn torn tongue probably means normal people will feel the heat. The flavor was good, but just a bit too much on the tomato paste side. Not enough to complain, just enough to think about.

The flavor is like taking a sweet carrot type hot sauce and churning it into a thick salsa.

The sauce is extremely thick, requiring a spoon to scoop it out. The creators knew this, so luckily all their sauces come in a jar format. I spread it on sandwiches and on a lunch called "Paella". Our chef at work called it his Jambalaya without the spices. When I went through the lunch line, he said I'd have to add my own heat to it. I told him, "I always do anyways."

This sauce was way too easy to finish in one day. I wish they were all this easy and enjoyable.

Preacher's wife Dixie Earline never did do nothin but cook. Used the #4 in her potluck, plus paired it with extra lard for signature flavor on cover-dish Sundays. Most figured she cooked extra out of commitment to the community. Ones who knew better said she kept cooking to keep her husband eating. That way she didn't have to hear him running his mouth. "Let me Fix You a Plate"

Um.... Ok.

A spoonful of hot sauce makes the medicine go down.
Another case where I felt like I was wasting perfectly good sauce eating it straight. I still had dry naked food that was begging for more of it.

I would never, ever want to eat a spoonful of Huntz tomato paste. And on a much smaller scale, I had the same feelings with this.

Two down, five to go. How crazy can it get?????

Tomorrow: Torchbearer #7 Sultry Sauce


November 15, 2005

Day 120: Valentina Salsa Picante

This is a big ass bottle. 12.5 ounces of picante flavored hot sauce. I could have picked up a different sized bottle, but... I didn't think I could finish a 34 ounces bottle.

Yep, this is as small as it gets.

With a bottle this hefty, a special day had to be chosen. At work, we had our Thanksgiving pot luck today. They'd probably have it sooner to Thanksgiving, but I think the higher up mucky mucks are probably taking 7 days off around Thanksgiving. Better have it early while they're still here.

Last year when we had it, I sat by two skinny guys with voracious appetites. They went back 7 times for food. It was an amazing thing to watch. I figured if I sat next to them this year, their gluttony would rub off me and I'd have enough food to make it through this bottle.

While it was a good plan, I did run into one problem right away. When you open the top part of the cap, there is a nub inside blocking the hole. It's plastic and you're suppose to push it in, or pull it out, or some damn thing I couldn't figure out. My food was getting cold. The main cap is also glued onto the bottle. There's only one way in our out.

In the end, I finally pushed the knob all the way in. How I wish I had a needle nose pliers to pull it out. Because now the nub floated in the sauce and would always block the hole when I tried to pour sauce out. It took a hell of a lot of shaking to get any sauce out. Eventually, I ate enough of the sauce, that it was able to float into a different position instead of at the very top, and it started to pour out just fine.

The flavor of this sauce is pretty good, despite the heavy picante flavor. And let me tell you, if you like this sauce, you're in for a real treat. It's dirt cheap, easy to find, and comes in almost gallon size containers.

Although I could think of better sauces to use, this picante sauce went well with turkey, stuffing, ham, corn chowder, more stuffing, and more turkey.

For supper my girl friend brought home left over Chinese. I poured a ton of this stuff over the rice, and it soaked in all the way. Surprisingly, it still tasted great.

I never realized before that the label was all in Spanish. That explains the cheaply printed sticker on the back that lists all the ingredients, calories, etc, in English.

Bottoms Up!
This was so good, I had to have 2 shots! Actually, I just had so much left after supper, that the only way to finish it off was to drink it straight.

After a long day of eating too much, I just feel like laying down on the couch, pretend to watch TV, and fall asleep.

Valentina makes an extra hot version. Sadly, its flavor isn't very good, and the discoloration at the top is pretty bad. I do have it sitting in the basement for a rainy day, but I'm in no rush to do a whole 12.5 ounces.

Tomorrow: Torchbearer #4 Tingly Sauce


November 14, 2005

Day 119: Amazon Hot Sauce

Full name: "Rainforest Brand Green Amazon Pepper Sauce"

I'm not sure who used to make this hot sauce. The back of the label simply says "HVJ International, Houston, TX". And they're probably only a Distributor. It also says it's a product of Columbia.

I was pretty sure that it was made by Amazon Pepper company from Columbia. They have a green sauce that looks just like it, with similar ingredients (except more preservatives). The only confusing thing is that this bottle says "Rainforest Brand (TM)" which doesn't add up. Maybe they were bought out. Maybe Amazon Pepper changed their name. Maybe it's a completely different company that no longer exists.

Oh well. I guess this is what I get for buying discounted items online.

Despite its mysterious origins, the sauce was really good. It has a great balance between jalapeno and vinegar. It has a similar flavor to Panola Green Pepper Sauce, except a lot more muted. It was a lot thicker, but not as much zing. If I had to choose between the two, I'd definitely go with Panola's.

Bottoms Up!
I'm just happy that this bottle held up so well over so much time. I wish I had eaten this before Panola. Then I could focus on how good it is. However, now all I can think about is how much better Panola's was.

Tomorrow: Valentina Salsa Picante

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