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The Smoking Tongue

October 31, 2005

Day 105: Boulder - Smokey Serrano

Full name: "The Boulder Hot Sauce Company Smokey Serrano"

WOW! This whole time I thought this was just "that other sauce" that Boulder made. Having to hide in the shadows of the glorious Harry's Habanero sauce. But this sauce can stand on its own. This sauce is excellent in its own right. I think the only reason this sauce doesn't quit the band and start a solo career is from the lack of heat. Not that burning your arm on a frying pan isn't hot, it's just that falling into a pit of lava is hotter. And so is Harry's Habanero.

Even if not spelled correctly, this sauce is definitely smoky. (But it's okey dokey if you spell it smokey)

I had this on baked manicotti for lunch, and had to hold back at the very end so I wouldn't use it all. It soaked right in, and was an excellent flavor. I really wished I had a pint or two more.

It's hard to believe this sauce has so much flavor, and comes with so many chunks when the first 3 ingredients are: Purified Water, Vinegar, & Red Ripe Serrano Peppers. The only way to pull this off is with pure talent & care. If some corporation with a big factory had made this, all we would have ended up with was watered down crap the color of whatever food coloring they added. I've said it before, I'll say it again, I wish this guy would make more sauces.

When I fire up the grill, you just know some Poblano peppers are gonna get charred to perfection. They are mellow on heat but have a remarkably complex flavor. I have teamed them up with a red-ripe Serrano pepper and all fresh veggies to bring you this taste sensation. You gotta get into this bottle!"

If I had to find any fault with the sauce, it would be the consistency. It was a little bit runny, which of course looks funny in a chunky sauce. I had to shake the bottle up, and even then it looked like runny relish. Luckily it tasted much, much better.

Bottoms Up!
Wow, here's where the heat went! I guess sometimes the cheese, sauces, and noodles of a meal can soak up some of the heat. There's no hiding behind that now!

This left a gritty little burn in the back of my throat and tongue for a few minutes. This is also a seriously chunky and seed filled sauce that faintly reminds you of relish. This wasn't very much fun eating straight, but I did find the heat. As my mouth stayed open, ventilating air in, I could smell and taste the lingering smoke.

Tomorrow: Cajun Power Spicy Garlic

Topics: ,

October 30, 2005

Day 104: Panola 10 Point Hot Sauce

"Panola 10 Point Hot Sauce is made much like our Gourmet Pepper Sauce, but has some different seasonings. It is specially blended for the outdoorsman - big game meat or grilled burgers - watch out! It's easy to indulge."

Watch out is right, you crazy mountain men. If only I had this sauce last week, I could have tried it out on the 2 grizzlies, 3 elk, and 7 mountain lions I shot. Better luck next time, I guess.

I was half expecting "Blood of the deer" to be one of the ingredients.

Add to all this the fact this comes in a plastic bottle. Plastic. There aren't many hot sauces out there that come in plastic. Needless to say, I had extremely low expectations. Toxic expectations.

With my last will and testament updated, I cracked open the tiny plastic heat shrink and started shaking out the sauce onto my pot roast.

It was good. Real good. Well, it was better than dying. This is a super runny sauce that comes out black. It's flavor reminds me of a cross between Worchester Sauce, Soy Sauce, and a ton of spices that make it something a little more unique. I wouldn't say there's much heat here at all, but the bold flavor will keep your tongue busy. I also read online that the reason it comes in plastic bottles is so that it won't break like a glass bottle might for those active people hunting or hiking outside.

I guess I stand corrected. The company's description for this sauce matched the contents perfectly and accurately. I give this the Underdog Award. Now we can evil kill and eat that dog, and use this sauce on it.

Bottoms Up!
I was pretty hesitant to drink so much of this at once. However, even the shot didn't taste bad at all. It was tangy, sweet, and went down just fine. It's definitely a unique flavor. I'm not really sure if it qualifies as a hot sauce yet, but I survived!

While looking for this online, I found that they do make a bottled version. However, look at that color. Either we have fake pictures on their site, or we're dealing with a whole different recipe.

Tomorrow: Boulder - Smokey Serrano


Day 103: Dan-T's Cayenne

Full name: "Dan T's Inferno Spiced Cayenne Pepper Sauce"

From Mississauga, Ontario, comes Dan Taylor and his Dan T's Inferno Hot Sauces. What a great name. Not only was he able to use his own name, but able to base it off of Dante's Inferno, a subtlety that surprisingly was not lost on me.

A thick, brownish red sauce. It has a unique smell and flavor, but not very bold. It'll mix in well with most foods. My biggest problem is that I'm not a huge cayenne fan. And unlike the name infers, there was no inferno going on in my mouth or stomach. There was absolutely no heat in this sauce, making me wonder what to do with it. I'm sure a sauce this big (8 ounces) is screaming to be used as a marinade or grilling, but to be honest, I'd rather use my tried and true BBQ sauce for that instead.

It was just too bland.

Bottoms Up!
I was a little afraid to drink this straight. I figured it might have an empty, raw flavor to it. However, it tasted just fine. A little bland. Well, a lot bland. Sorry, but this sauce just doesn't do anything for me.

It revokes no response.

For any of you hard core collectors out there, you can find some French labeled sauces, thanks to Quebec.

Other sauces from the Inferno....
Dan T's Whitehot Cayenne Pepper Sauce
Dan T's Smoked Cayenne Chipotle
Dan T's Spiced Cayenne Pepper Sauce
Dan T's Dark Soy Pepper (a.k.a. Asian Cayenne?)
Dan T's Balsamic Herb Marinade
Dan T's Three Pepper Grilling Sauce
Dan T's Honey Mustard Sauce
Dan T's Mustard Cayenne Pepper Sauce
Dan T's Peanut Soy
Dan T's Raspberry Chipotle Grilling Sauce

Tomorrow: Panola 10 Point Hot Sauce

Topics: ,

Day 102: Paisanitos Sweet Papaya

Full Name: "Paisanitos Sweet Papaya Spicy Sauce"

This sauce was much better than the first Mustard one I tried by them. It actually had a decent amount of heat, especially when compared to most Papaya sauces in general. Sadly, instead of the green papaya flavor I experienced from Frenchman's, this was more of a curry or Caribbean flavor that is so popular nowadays. However, it was one of the better Caribbean flavored sauces I’ve tried in a long time.

Since today was the Friday before Halloween here at work, our chef had this on the menu: Worm au Gratin. It was a cross between hash browns and scalloped potatoes. Whatever they were, I used almost the whole bottle on it. A coworker was unable to finish his, but I was able to eat all mine, probably due to this sauce.

I'm surprised by the heat from the sauce, considering how far down the ingredient list, "Habaneros", was. It just goes to show that some hot sauce companies are willing to use the good stuff. And anyone that chewed a complete raw habanero knows what I'm talking about.

Without a doubt, this is also the first hot sauce that I've noticed that had Cucumbers as an ingredient. (My tongue didn't notice, just my eyes reading the label)

Bottoms Up!
I actually had this shot glass in the fridge for a while, waiting to down the shot at a later time. It fogged up the sides. Otherwise, you could see how the sauce piled up high in the middle because of how thick it was.

It's got some kick.

Tomorrow: Dan T's Inferno Cayenne

Topics: ,

October 27, 2005

Day 101: Frontera Habanero

Nice, but not very hot considering the pepper it's touting as its name. Maybe it should have been called Frontera Carrot. When I poured most of this sauce on my potatoes for lunch, it barely made an impact in flavor. I could have done that for free with my imaginary hot sauce bottle.

"There's no denying that the Yucatan peninsula's sun-gold habaneros have a tropical sting. A beautiful sting. A thrilling, delicious sting. Flavor-packed, can't-get-enough sting. Come on, bask in the glow."

Sometimes you can really smell the bullshit in the air. You know that the more crap they write on the back of the label, the more they're compensating for what's inside the bottle. Usually, the labels that yammer on about hand-crafting the sauce, family recipes, friends, family, and real people are the ones that might taste good. Notice how this sauce couldn't talk about how they made the sauce. Who would want to hear about the factories and large machinery making this sauce in bulk?

They really shouldn't be writing a check their butt can't cash. They might as well have been writing about the silky smooth skin of a penguin's ass for as much as it has to do with this hot sauce. The only thing golden about this sauce is the carrots, and I think Rick Bayless might have forgotten to buy any peppers last time he was vacationing at the Yucatan's Peninsula. Or maybe he only has time to do Burger King endorsements.

There has been 3 major label changes in as many years. If only they spent the time it took to come up with the perfect label on making the perfect sauce.

Bottoms Up!
Wow, this was something else! It was like someone gathered up 12 gallons of orange juice, poured them through a strainer to collect all the pulp, and then said, "Hey, let's make a hot sauce out of this!"

This was pulpy. I almost pulled a muscle grimacing so hard when I swallowed it. Then I had to go floss. The flavor was practically non-existent.

Tomorrow: Paisanitos Sweet Papaya

Topics: ,

Tour de Hot Sauce: 100 Days

Well, that picture doesn't look like 100 bottles to me, but I counted them all. Haven't lost one yet. They look a lot more massive in a box, and the box is getting heavy!

I've done the math, and the total volume of hot sauce comes to 556.35 fluid ounces.
That's 4.34 Gallons (17.1 Liters)

There's been a rumor going around that I was stopping at 100. I'm not sure where that originated from, but I can safely say that isn't the case. I'm just getting started!

So crack up open a spicy one, and let's get smoking.

October 26, 2005

Day 100: Bat's Brew

When I first moved to this city years ago, one of the first grocery stores I found was a quaint little specialty store. It felt like a food co-op, but it really wasn't. They had organic foods, but it wasn't exclusively organic. They had an amazing selection of micro brews there, and 50 kinds of cheese. We used to shop there a lot until we figured out we were throwing away our money on the overpriced stuff.

However, before we quit going there, I stood mesmerized by the hot sauce shelf. They had a heart-quickening display of about 10 different sauces. As I started to study them, my smile turned upside down. They were all by Panola (which isn't the bad thing) but they all looked like they had been there since the mid 1980's. Faded labels, thick dust on the tops. Even the contents had separated and congealed so badly, they looked like broken lava-lamps. I actually walked away without buying even one. They were that upsetting.

Three years later, I'm back and am desperate enough to buy them. All. Ironically, I'm probably looking at the exact same bottles, a little more dust, and 3 more years added past the expiration date. They still look as unappetizing as I remember them.

So today is HOT SAUCE #100!

I had visions of doing something special on Day 100. Maybe a super hot sauce. Maybe 2 sauces. Maybe just a great sauce. But surprisingly, when I woke up this morning, the calendar still didn't show my day to be a national holiday. I still had to go to work. I'm still swamped with shit to do.

I chose a crappy hot sauce, knowing that no matter how bad it was, I'd have to finish it as #100.

In the spirit of Halloween, the green coloring fits in well. It's extremely runny, and the first thing you taste is the overwhelming flavor of vinegar. When the aftertaste comes, you wish you were back to tasting the vinegar. The aftertaste is horrible. It's weird. I have no idea if it's because the bottle looks 20 years old, or if it's just a brilliantly shitty recipe using Bat Piss. Either way, stay away.

I've often thought about ordering Panola items online, bypass the obviously expired local bottles. But every picture I see online looks the same. They look like Panola made 4 billion bottles in 1985, and decided they could retire on the beach and let the inventory sell for the next 25 years.

Chef Han's green sauce has a run for his money for worst green vinegar sauce. Drinking this shot took a lot of nerve. I could have really used a shot of whisky to calm my nerves before diving in. My face contorted as I withstood the tartness, vinegar, and nasty aftertaste.

Wow, I really can't wait to try their other crap.

Panola carries other items besides hot sauces, and I just have to mention their Jalapeno Jelly Beans, and Pickled Quail Eggs. The world definitely needs more pickled quail eggs!

Other sauces by Panola:
Panola Gourmet Pepper Sauce
Panola Jalapeno Pepper Sauce
Panola Cajun Hot Sauce
Panola Cajun Jalapeno Sauce
Panola Garlic Hot Sauce
Panola Extra Hot Hot Sauce
Vampire Hot Sauce
Panola 10 Point Hot Sauce
Panola Clearly Hot Sauce
Panola Spicy & Sweet Mango Sauce
Panola Green Pepper Sauce
Panola Red Pepper Sauce

Tomorrow: Frontera Habanero Sauce


October 25, 2005

Day 99: Tabasco Chipotle

Full Name: "McIlhenny Co. Tabasco Brand Chipotle Pepper Sauce"

To be honest, I was up pretty late last night and had a post-midnight snack. I thought to myself, "Hey, today is tomorrow!" I can open a new hot sauce and get a head start on it.

Even though this sauce was picked because I thought it would be a tough one to finish, it's not because it's a bad sauce, just a different kind of sauce that would be tough to have so much of. Starting at midnight gave me the confidence to finish it off in 24 hours.

For lunch I had spaghetti and meatballs, which is one of the all-time best foods to have any hot sauce soak into. You can just see it disappear between the noodles and sink into oblivion, requiring even more sauce.

You know, I've had a hell of a lot of chipotle sauces lately. I know it's the new black, but come on, it's not that great is it? I used to really despise the flavor of most chipotle sauces, including this one. However, I think I'm being trained now to neutrally accept them. Even so, I never really felt like this Tabasco sauce was a directly consumable sauce. It just didn't go with foods the right way. So it wasn't with too much surprise that I see this article today explaining how he followed the instructions and used the sauce as a marinade. As suggested. I bet you were the teacher's pet, weren't you?

Ok, so I didn't marinade any of my food with this, although a casual observer may have thought that's what I was doing as I poured most of the bottle on my food.

This egg sandwich now has some chipotle soaking deep into the bread. I didn't have too much left over for supper, so this was an easy meal. I definitely made sure I had nothing left for a shot. That would have been too much to handle.

This sauce did nothing for my meals. It did attract itself well to the meatballs, though.

Tomorrow: Bat's Brew

Topics: , ,

October 24, 2005

Day 98: Viper Venom Hot Sauce

My coworker took another trip, and when he promised he would bring me back another hot sauce, I told him to pick me up quite a few. And I would pay him. I might have taken that back if I had known he was going to get me the most expensive sauces in the whole damn world, and duplicates (even with the list I gave him).

However, I was quite pleased he found this one. Anything that resembles a local hot sauce is gold. With thousands of hot sauces out there as is, available at any mail order site, I bet there are thousands of tiny hot sauces few have heard about. Sure, it turns out that this sauce was already listed in the Hot Sauce Bible, but I'm never going to find it on my local grocery shelves.

That being said, it pretty much sucked ass. Water is the first ingredient. Vinegar the second ingredient. The flavor had a heavy picante flavor, which of course is not one of my favorites at all. The consistency was runny, with gelatinous chunks. Did I mention water was the first ingredient?? Listen, the day habaneros start dripping out my faucet instead of water, THEN you can put water first. Until then, give me peppers, man.

Beats me why there's a different label out there. When I was searching for the creator of the sauce, I tried to look up T.G. Greenfield, the only name on the back of the label. I found them listed on only ONE Arizona listing next to Mama Roses Gourmet Foods. It seems like she may be the creator. She has Viper Venom listed, but under a different label. A very uninspiring label. Their store looks cool, and I love seeing pictures of the kitchen of anyone putting the time & effort into making hot sauces. They seem to have a great attitude about how they make their food, so perhaps one of their other hot sauces will be a better fit for me.

Bottoms Up!
Dunked my tongue into the shot of hot sauce before drinking it. Surprisingly, it was hot to the tongue. I kept dunking it in there until my girl friend told me to quit playing with my food.

It was the only time I felt any heat from the sauce.

Other Mama Roses sauces:
Jalapeno Hot Sauce
Mango Mango Hot Sauce
Sergios Revenge

Tomorrow: Tabasco Chipotle


October 23, 2005

Day 97: House Recipe Hot Sauce

I took my sister out for breakfast today, and I was going to order a Belgian Waffle. It comes with strawberries, whip cream, and ice cream. I was curious if I could get her daughter jealous once she saw my plate, and I made fun of her boring pancakes.

However, while we were waiting for our seat, I remembered that they carried a brand of hot sauce there that I've never seen anywhere else. (Not that anyone would want to carry it). So, I thought hell, I eat a hot sauce bottle a day, I need sources wherever I can get them. And since I don't put hot sauce on Belgian Waffles, I switched my order to a Portabella Omelette, and then asked the waiter if he could bring a brand new bottle of their hot sauce.

It was a good choice, and believe it or not, I was actually buzzing a little from it. I used almost all the bottle, and there was plenty of coating for each bite. There is definitely no watering down in this vinegar sauce.

Sysco is a huge company claiming to sell 400,000 products to companies all over. They seem to be a supplier for restaurants big and small. Their "House Recipe" line ranges from hot sauce to mustards, to fancy ketchup (Fancy!). And congratulations to the dip shit that created the most boring label ever.

Right before supper, I filled the shot glass up so that I knew how much to pour on my food. When I knocked this shot back, I got a stomach ache for about 5 minutes. Argh! You'd think I'd learn by now never to take a shot on an empty stomach, but I thought that only applied to extremely hot sauces, not a red vinegar one.

I must be getting old in my old age. Or maybe my mom is right, maybe I am rotting out my stomach!!

Tomorrow: Viper Venom Hot Sauce


Day 96: Boulder - Harry's Habanero

Full name: "Boulder Hot Sauce Company Harry's Habanero"

For lunch we ate at a great Italian restaurant, and I ordered their sausage and peppers. I put this sauce liberally on their sausages, and it was an extremely spicy meal. I'm sure they both complimented each other's spiciness just right. I couldn't tell where the food ended, and the sauce began. THAT is the ultimate meal!

It's been quite a while since I've had to grab multiple napkins and blow my nose over and over. I was buzzing in a sea of wonderful endorphins.

For supper the fusion wasn't quite there. I could taste both things separately, but it also gave me a chance to purposely taste the hot sauce by itself. It has a consistency of a relish, but it only slightly tastes that way. There is a hint of sweet dill flavoring, lots of habanero goodness, followed by a very nice wave of heat.

I've been telling people (who bother to ask) that this is one of my all time favorite hot sauces. I like how I found it in the dungeon of a Food Co-op. I like the grocery sack type label. I like the heat level. And I like the habanero flavor that just makes you want to rush out and grow an acre of habaneros.

They have another sauce that I like only slightly less than this one. The guy has hit a home run with both sauces. It's just a shame he doesn't make more! Why in the world do we have hot sauce makers that have a whole SET of crappy sauces, each one worse than the next? Then you have this guy who only has 2, and you wish he had 20.

My name is Harry Robertson and I am the owner of The Boulder Hot Sauce Company. I set out in 1998 to create the best tasting hot sauces in the world. Certain only of my devotion to great food, I sat down with over 100 fresh ingredients, a bag of chips, and a large towel. I measured, I chopped, I roasted, I cooked, I tasted, and yes….I sweated a lot. After months of ritualistic pain and pleasure and a soaking wet towel, Smokey Serrano and Harry’s Habanero were born. I cried openly at what had transpired. I had in my possession two flavors destined to set the world on fire."

I need to send this guy another 100 fresh ingredients, another towel, and another bag of chips. Because we need more sauces from him, and we need them now!!

Welcome to the worst picture in the world!
Unfortunately, the room was too dark to get an accurate shot of this hot sauce. It actually doesn't look like a turd floating on a turd chicken.

The consistency of the sauce isn't quite as smooth as the last time I had it. It's not quite as appealing. I'm guessing things change from batch to batch. Not quite as good as I remember from my dreams, but still good nevertheless.

His only other sauce... please make more!
Boulder Hot Sauce Company - Smokey Serrano

Tomorrow: House Recipe Hot Sauce

Topics: ,

October 22, 2005

Day 95: Art of Chipotle Smokey Red

Full name: "The Art Of Chipotle Smokey Red Sensation"

Knowing that I was going to Qdoba Grill for lunch, I brought this monster sized bottle. 14 ounces is a lot to swallow in one day. I was correct in using it, because I poured and poured and poured this sauce on my Fajita Burrito, allowing me to get through half the bottle just during lunch. The fact that the burrito is 50% rice really helps a lot, since it can soak up quite a bit of the sauce. It was a lot of work though, keeping my food steeped with sauce 100% of the time. By the end of the meal, the bottom container was so soggy, it had ripped right through. Amazingly, I only spilled once on my white shirt.

For supper I ate out again, so I had to lug this bottle around one more time. It doesn’t' fit in a pocket, let me tell you! You always get weird looks when you walk into a Mexican restaurant sporting your own bottle. "But sir, we have a wide selection of sauces you can use."

Indeed, but is it my "Sauce of the Day?"

Supper wasn't the perfect food to add this sauce too, because it already came with a creamy sauce on top. However, I almost finished the bottle. My girlfriend had leftovers, which I ate later that night. I probably would have saved it for lunch tomorrow, but this gave me an opportunity to finish off the bottle.

The sauce itself is very smooth, without any lumps or pulp. It has an appealing dark brown color that makes any food look appetizing. However, it was way too mild. For heat, there was nothing there. For flavor, it barely changed the food's taste. This is definitely another “why bother”, and unlike the first one I tried by Pfleider’s, this one is too lame to even use as a marinade.

Bottoms Up!
Drinking this shot straight tasted just like taco sauce with a faint, smoky chipotle overtone. Very smooth consistency. The flavor was really muted, however. I would rather of had more "Art" of the chipotle power coming through. After all, I can get taco sauce any day of the year.

Tomorrow: Boulder Hot Sauce Company - Harry's Habanero

Topics: ,

October 20, 2005

Day 94: Iguana Chipotle

Full name: "Half Moon Bay Trading Co. Smoky Iguana Smoky Jalapeno Chipotle Pepper Sauce"

At first glance of picture on the bottle, I thought there was a defect on the label. However, upon closer inspection I see that it's the Iguana smoking! Ha ha! Smoky Chipotle, of course!

I've had many ups and downs with the Iguana sauces. It seems like they hit and miss. Their deuce sauces are still some of my all time favorites. Unfortunately, today was a big miss. Can't hit the broad side of the barn kind of miss. You throw like a girl kind of miss. Don't piss on my leg and tell me it's raining kind of miss. And in this particular case: Don’t shit in a bottle and call it Chipotle.

This sauce was very bland. When I mixed it into my meals, the sauce seemed to disappear without a trace. For instance, when I put a third of the bottle into my hash browns, I could tell something was added, but couldn't pinpoint any particular flavor, only a slightly smoky aftertaste. The fact that I started jonesing for some ketchup means the hot sauce has failed.

I put some on a turkey sandwich, completely soaking the bread. It tasted so dry, I had to add mustard.

Thanks for nothing, you lazy iguana.

Bottoms Up!
YUCK! Here I was complaining all day that I couldn't really taste the flavor in my food, and now I'm counting my lucky stars that I couldn't. It was really bad. My breath might smell like smoke, but it didn't really taste that way. A little lost for words, but it was a little pasty. Kind of like eating raw dough: It tastes all wrong until you bake it into bread.

This stuff, tasted like raw ingredients. Very, very bad eaten straight.

Tomorrow: Art of Chipotle Smokey Red

Topics: , ,

Day 93: Paisanitos Mustard Habanero

Full name: "Paisanitos Hot Mustard Pepper Sauce"

I've been wanting to stop at the Food Co-Op downtown for quite some time, but when I'm dropping my girlfriend off at work, it's just too early in the morning, and they're not open. Also, it's facing the wrong way on a one way street for me to simply and easily pull over. However, today we had an appointment to go to, and I got to drive by the store at a later hour.

I know this store holds 2 excellent sauces, and a handful of some crappy hippy Organic sauces. However, in the interest of science (and restocking my stash) I am not choosy. I was well rewarded with today's trip, because not only did they carry what I expected, they also had a whole new line of sauces in by Paisanitos.

This company was very recently started just 2 years ago by a couple graduates of Earth University. I'm not sure if their majors were Tree Hugging, or Shrubbery (just kidding) but their accredited college, located in a tropical paradise, looks like a lot more fun than mine was!

One of the goals for this company is working close with the farmers in Latin America that grow their ingredients and giving them a fair price, instead of exploiting them. For us, this means that we're receiving sauces with original recipes - no relabeling!

Unfortunately, I didn't really care for this mustard sauce. I've had plain mustards with more zing! The consistency of the sauce was pretty gelatin, and this is the first sauce I've ever run into that has left a residue on the inside of the bottle even after washing. The flavor was pretty bland. I don't taste anything from the habanero side, and we've lost that nice little zing normal mustard gives. We've got the worst of both sides, leaving us with an unsatisfying sauce.

What should have been a great sandwich just turned out to be a bland sandwich. I was actually tempted to go get the normal mustard bottle out of the fridge to salvage the meal. Only after I was done with the sandwich, did I feel some heat.

There are too many excellent habanero mustards on the market already that bring more heat, more flavor, and better taste to bother with this one.

Hopefully, better luck next time with:
Paisanitos Mango Spicy Sauce
Paisanitos Chipotle Hot Sauce
Paisanitos Papaya Spicy Sauce
Paisanitos Crushed Peppers

Tomorrow: Iguana Chipotle Pepper Sauce

Topics: ,

October 18, 2005

Day 92: Tabasco Green Pepper

Full Name: "McIlhenny Co. Tabasco Brand Green Pepper Sauce"

I remember the first time I had this hot sauce years ago. Probably when it first hit the market. My notes on the subject say: "Why fucking bother!". The shortest review ever.

Over the years I've known people that actually love this hot sauce. And every single one of them followed that statement by saying the red Tabasco was too hot for them, but this one was just right.

Well, I think that's great that these full grown men can now finally come play in the big leagues with a hot sauce that rates at around 1,000 scovilles. I guess we're all god's children and we shouldn't discriminate by tongue.

Today we had a chili competition at work as a fundraiser. I've actually been boycotting it for years because of what happened the first year I entered the competition. I had painstakingly created an expensive chili made from cubing steak, using a recipe straight from Terlingua. I brought my crock pot of chili in the morning, plugged it in, and went to check on it 3 hours later to see how it was doing. Turns out the crock pot wasn't even plugged in! I asked what the heck was going on? They were having power problems and unable to plug everyone in. Thanks for telling me! There's only like 400 plug-in in the whole building, hell I could have plugged it in on my desk upstairs and smelled chili brewing all morning.

I had a meeting to go to, so I stormed off expecting them to solve the problem. I came back an hour later to find the bitch microwaving my chili! Damn, I was pissed. As you can see, I'm completely over it, though. Ha!

This year, after many jokes of how hot we could make our chili, I decided to make one to blow the doors off anyone foolish enough to try it. I added 12 habaneros and 12 serranos. However, while tasting it, I didn't feel like it was very hot at all, so added a 1/4 bottle of Z...Nothing Beyond. I started tasting it again, and I could hear wind blowing out my ears. Perfect.

Sadly, I got a lot of compliments on my chili, and a few telling me they thought it would have been hotter. However, I also noticed these same people never had a whole bowl of it, just a tablespoon. I even saw some people using my chili to spice up the heat of some of the other chilies they purchased. Does that make me a chili extract? In the end, I got 3rd place. Whoops! One judge didn't even taste it, so I lost her votes. Next year, I'm going to work a little harder and get that coveted LAST place. I won't bother to remove the habanero seeds next time. That was definitely a waste of time, and a loss of good heat. I'm also going to bump the habanero count up to 40. Next year: Smoking Tongue's Revenge!

I purchased my 3 bowls of chili at the fundraiser, trying out other people's concoctions. They weren't very good, or spicy, but it was a great opportunity to use most of the Tabasco Green bottle. I'm pretty sure that I only managed to COOL the chilies down with this sauce, but it was still a good match. My only complaint is that this sauce doesn't really have any jalapeno flavor to it. It's a just a mild, indistinct, generic green flavor.

Bottoms Up!
Tart, but not too bad. No epileptic seizures. A nice green taste. What does green taste like? Exactly.

This certainly belongs IN foods, though. But not necessarily my foods.

Tabasco on the internet is as prolific as porn. So here is only one obligatory link. I haven't actually read the whole article, but the pictures alone are worth glancing at. The first one is a shot of a hot sauce bottle in a guy's pant pockets. That's totally me. The rest show an amusing transgression to the extreme. Hot sauce addiction is cool. "A hot sauce addict is me".

Tomorrow: Paisanitos Mustard Habanero

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Day 91: Bulliard's Louisiana

Full Name: "Bulliard's Louisiana Supreme Hot Sauce"

I first found this sauce years ago in a Dollar Store, and it wasn't even a dollar. It's cheap, cheap, cheap. It's so cheap that it doesn't bother me that this is probably just a relabeled red vinegar sauce.

This particular bottle was given to me by a coworker that I don't even really know. She whizzed by, stopping at my desk, and said, "I don't know if you have this sauce yet, but someone I know gave me this sauce and blah blah blah blah blah blah! Blah blah!"

I felt like introducing her to Decaf coffee, but instead said, "Thank you so much."

Although I've had this sauce before, and it was sitting just a few feet from me in my display, I had not had this yet in the Tour de Force. But why oh why can't someone give me a $10 hot sauce instead of a 79 cent hot sauce. Oh well, I'm still ahead.

I poured most of this sauce in a bowl of clam chowder. It did the job. Without a name brand celebrity dumbass on the label, it did the job just fine, and without the celebrity's $4 price tag.

Tomorrow: Tabasco Green Pepper

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October 16, 2005

Day 90: Pain Is Good Jalapeno Wasabi

Full Name: "Pain is Good Jalapeno Wasabi Batch #66 Hot Sauce"

The creators of Pain Is Good had enough success with their 3 Sultans of Sizzle, they expanded out with their 3 Divas of Spice. I love the new faces on the labels. Somehow, I just picture the wife of the creator nagging him about equal opportunities, etc. "If you and your drunk buddies can put your ugly mugs on the sauces, why not us?"

When I first heard about the new Diva sauces and read their labels, I thought: No way, I'll pass. A full bottle of wasabi? What the hell would I use that on? Another one was labeled, "Honey Cayenne Hot Mustard", and I wondered if these were even hot sauces! Then one fateful day I was eating at a local Mexican restaurant with a basket of hot sauces to sample, and this one was in there. I said what the hell and tried it out. Turns out it was really good! When I saw this sitting on a shelf 2 months later, I snatched it up. I've been holding on to it for quite a while, because to eat a whole bottle, I figured I would need the right food. And this one is screaming Chinese Buffet.

This morning my girlfriend suggest we go to a Chinese restaurant today. I innocently said, "Good idea", and went to the basement and brought this sauce upstairs. Unfortunately, by the time afternoon rolled around, we both agreed we weren't in the mood (her) or weren't hungry enough (me) to go to the China Buffet. Instead, I picked up some egg rolls at the grocery store when picking up a missing ingredient for the chili I was making for work.

Turns out that the wasabi flavor isn't that strong. It wasn't necessary to wait around for Chinese food. In fact, I should have had this with steak! The flavor and smell was a wonderful creamy horseradish. If it had been white, I never would have guessed it had wasabi in it. The jalapeno flavor in the sauce was a great addition. It added a little zing to the tongue while the horseradish tickled the nose hairs. My previous concerns of whether or not this is an actual hot sauce are no longer valid. First, I don't care. It was delicious. Second, there was no mistaking the familiar jalapeno flavor. An excellent combination.

Breakfast of Champions!
The look and consistency of pea green paste that only a baby could love!

Thankfully, it didn't taste like peas.

Tomorrow: Bouliard's Louisiana

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October 15, 2005

Day 89: Pure Habanero

I'm still sniffing this bottle, even while empty! The aroma that still lingers has a deep and complex odor that has me forgetting to breath back out.

Where was I? Oh yes, The taste! That's right. This sauce is bursting with flavor. The flavor is smooth, bitter, salty, and very tart at the same time. Very surprising since this is the ingredient list:
"Habaneros, Salt, & Vinegar"

That's it. Not much, huh? I guess that's why they call it "Pure Habanero".

It's a thick sauce that clings to the walls of the bottle. The consistency reminded me of liquid clay. That might not sound appetizing, but hey, that's what came to my mind.

It's quite hot, with a lingering heat in every bite. But to be honest, I'm surprised it wasn't hotter considering the ingredient list. If this was pure habaneros, they couldn't have used very hot ones. I wonder if it's possible to soak habaneros in something for a while to leach out the heat, and then use the pepper afterwards. Maybe it's like that episode in Seinfeld where Elaine starts a business that sells only the coveted top half of muffins, except in this case, the sauce is made from only the tips of the habaneros (where the heat is the weakest). I'm just grasping at straws here, but I've recently had hotter habanero sauces that were hotter than this one. And their ingredients list was 3 times longer.

The bottle itself is one of a kind. Or three of a kind if you count the other two they make. A custom shaped bottle. Some leather and metal decoration wrapped around the bottle. A very small label that brilliantly allows full view of their pure sauce inside. A ten dollar price tag (assholes). And a cork on the top, to impress us with its wine like vintage.

Unfortunately, I'm now convinced that the cork is a serious problem. I got to thinking after reading Nick's theories and comments about my comments on the metal flavor I experienced with the Pure Cayenne sauce. First, his discovery of the salty crustacean buildup around the cork after a week was very interesting. I've never experienced it, partly because I usually refrigerate my sauces once they're open, and also because the last bottle I bought was finished in one day, not giving it time to build up. Then he mentioned the sludge he had to scrape out of the neck of the bottle when he first removed the cork. I also had to do that with all the bottles. And if there's one thing different about these sauces than the rest of sauces in the world, it's the cork.

I think the cork is either reacting to the sauce, or simply letting air in. After all, you can't pull a cork out of a wine bottle just by yanking on it. You have to use a corkscrew. The corks on these hot sauces, however, are half in, half out. Even a small kid could pull it out. Hell, the only thing holding them there during shipment was a small plastic heat shrink (which is also not air tight at all due to the shape of the bottle's top)

Luckily, the metallic flavor wasn't present in the Habanero or Jalapeno sauces. Only the Cayenne. And only when eaten in large quantities. I don't think it's a fluke, I had it for the first time 3 years ago, and it was present there. Nick's last theory about slow moving inventory due to its ridiculous prices brings up a good point. They need to use fool proof bottling techniques.

Breakfast of Champions!
A veggie omelette simmering by a pile of hot sauce. Coffee in my Tabasco cup. Pure Habanero Hot sauce within reach. Name one restaurant that could provide that.
This is a great tasting sauce, and will put a nice fire in most people's mouths. However, it's almost too expensive to eat. It is worth experiencing once, though. Especially the Pure Jalapeno, which is still my favorite.

Tomorrow: Pain Is Good Jalapeno Wasabi

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Day 88: Chef Han's Louisiana

This was better than the green sauce Chef Han makes. Thank God. I don't think I could stand another day of disappointment like that again so soon. However, this was still a typical red vinegar sauce, except that it was even more watered down & weak.

I thought today I'd go the extra mile and spice up my daily trudge with a little analysis. I took a few pictures while making a sandwich. I don't really put a lot of thought into it, but there is always a rhyme to reason for doing certain things. It all starts when I wake up, and decide what hot sauce to open. Do I have time for to make eggs for breakfast? If so, I should try a difficult sauce to finish (very hot or very big bottles) because I'll have 3 meals instead of two. Am I going out to eat for lunch? Going out for supper? If not, soup will be on the menu and I should stick to vinegar sauces. Out of vinegar sauces? I'll have to be creative.

Chef Han's sauce today was weak and boring, but for some reason I didn't get through very much at lunch. For supper I tried my clam chowder trick, but you can only turn a white soup so red before giving up. I decided to make a sandwich, an old trick to finish the rest of a hot sauce bottle.

Here is: "Smoking Tongue's Sandwich Strategy Guide" to finishing off a hot sauce bottle.

Step One: The Bread
Bread is where the magic happens. It's the single biggest ingredient of our sandwich that will hold and soak up the hot sauce. If you don't hit your quota here, you're not going to get it later.

White bread is the best for vinegar sauces. Although I really enjoy wheat and other flavors, they contrast with the flavor of hot sauces too much. Save those for other condiments. Boring white bread is actually our friend in this case.

Step Two: The Meat
I think any meat could work here. Corned beef and sauerkraut would have been great, but I don't really buy that for home. Today, it's turkey for me. I took this opportunity to unload quite a bit of hot sauce here on this layer. Each layer counts. Don't be shy.

Step Three: The Cheese
This is just for show, just for completion. Cheese won't soak any in, and if it's the last layer, you're only going to put hot sauce next to the hot sauce already put on the top piece of bread.

Lettuce is a big no-no. I love lettuce in my sandwiches, being a big fan of any vegetable. However, it's just an accident waiting to happen. Believe me and my previously ruined shirts. Lettuce is like a sieve. It'll be dripping enough already.

Step Four: Eat
The goal here is to eat the sandwich without dripping too much hot sauce out. Practice will make perfect. Also, it's time to figure out if a 2nd sandwich is needed to finish off the bottle, or if dunking the sandwich into more hot sauce is needed. I opted for another sandwich.

As you can see in the picture, some bleeding occurred where my fingers held onto the sandwich. This is the sign of the perfect maximum capacity.

If you've really done your job right, eating this is going to be like trying to juggle 4 pails of water. You're going to end up hunching 2" above the plate so that you don't spill all over yourself.

Tomorrow: Pure Habanero


October 13, 2005

Day 87: Habanero Hot Sauce From Hell

"The World's Hottest Hot Sauce"

So the label says.
I was pouring this into my soup at lunch, when a coworker sitting next to me said, "You've never tasted that sauce before, and you're pouring in that much without testing it??"

I said, "Sure, of course. How hot could it be?"

I took a couple first sips, and started coughing up a storm. Everyone laughed.

Sure, it was hot. But mostly my sore throat and coughing started to seize up! It was funny though, and it makes everyone laugh to see me hurting. Even the guy that bought this sauce for me had to walk across the cafeteria and see for himself if he burned me. After a while I was back to normal and was able to finish the soup.

The first ingredient of this sauce is water, but the sauce is hot. It looks and smells JUST like a normal red vinegar sauce, but the sauce is hot! It's very salty, but the sauce is hot. It's not very tasty, but you guessed it, the sauce is hot.

On the way home, I stopped at the grocery store to pick up some frozen pizza. I knew this sauce was hot as hell, so I needed a real food to usher it to my mouth. Let me just say...I ate the whole damn pizza, and barely could stand it!
It was work.
With hazard pay.
It was hot, hot, hot.

One of the things I noticed while eating this hot sauce, is how hard it is to eat a runny sauce on pizza. A thick sauce is easy, you can pour it on the top, and it clings in place. Runny sauce doesn't work that way. Well, unless you're just shaking a few drops on. But when you have to eat a lot of it, it's best to dunk your food in. That's why I use a container so often, as seen in the picture. The thin sauce will coat itself thinly and evenly over the food, and fall off. So you have to really dunk it. Like an evil witch. Thus, every square millimeter of each bite is completely covered in hot sauce. And when the sauce is HOT, then your tongue can not hide from its witchcraft.

Conclusion: Runny hot sauces seem hotter than thick hot sauces.

And by the way, don't be fooled by their link on the label.
BeyondHot.com just points to Southwest Specialty Food's Ass Kickin' site. (annoying music and all)

Tomorrow: Chef Han Red Sauce

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October 12, 2005

Day 86: Ass Kickin' Original

I've had this sauce once before, and remember finishing it off in one meal. So it can't be that hot, right?

Well, during lunch my whole team went out to eat lunch at a Smokey Bones BBQ restaurant. I ordered their pull pork with sides, and poured out a healthy dose. My first bite caught me by surprised and started to make me cough. I quietly mentioned that it was a lot hotter than I remembered, and a few of the people sitting nearest me started to laugh.

Then one of the guys piped up and asked if anyone wanted to try out the hot sauce that *I* didn't know was so hot.
No takers.

Half way through the meal I normalized (I'm getting over a cold), and it was easier to eat. Still pretty hot though.

This sauce has a harsh habanero flavor. Some sauces, the habs blend in nicely. Taste fresh. Sweet. Whatever. These guys, however, just taste pissed off. Having water and tomato paste as the first ingredients must be the reason. Also, the consistency is a thick runny sauce with too many seeds.

By the end of the meal, I finally poured the last of it on my food. Unfortunately, it was noticed by the others, and they made a big deal about it. Oh my gosh, you really ate the whole bottle? You are nuts. That is crazy. How can you even taste any food. How much did you waste on that sauce.

What can I say, eating a full bottle of hot sauce can turn heads.


Day 85: Big S Farms Tennessee Thunder

Lunch today was Taco Tuesday. That meant I shelved the shitty sauce I originally brought in from home, and looked around my work desk to see if I had something with more oomph. I easily settled on this sauce, since I had so much fun with their first one.

At Oh-12-Hundred, we had lunchtime lift off, and I poured 1/2 the bottle over my crumbled up tacos. No hesitation, no taste tests. When the faith is strong, miracles can happen. And yes, it was delicious.

This sauce really packs a nice amount of heat. It's not as hot as the first one, but surprising when you look at the ingredient list: Onions, Carrots, Vinegar, Habanero, Lime Juice, Garlic, Salt.

Habaneros is pretty far down on the list, yet is never missed in each bite. It just comes down to quality. If Tabasco's Habanero sauce says its number one ingredient is Habanero, but is much weaker than this sauce where Habanero is 4th, it's obvious to me which one is trying to make a buck, and which one is trying to make a good sauce.

This sauce is sweeter than the first one I tried, and will probably be most people's favorite if they try these 3 sauces. It's very light and fresh tasting. Refreshing. It's like the Gatorade of Hot Sauces.

Bottoms Up!
The picture doesn’t do it much justice. Although it is a little runny, there’s a thickness and pulpiness my crappy camera can’t catch.

HOT. I actually only had half a shot because I am feeling sick, and it put me into a coughing fit from the heat. I put the rest of the delicious stuff on my tacos.

Wow, I just realized I had tacos for lunch AND for supper.
What a loser.

Tomorrow: Ass Kickin' Original


October 10, 2005

Day 84: Sauza Hot Sauce

Full Name: "Imported Sauza Tequila Infused Fiery Hot Sauce"

The #1 Tequila in Mexico has taken their famous name and slapped it on a few other food items: Sauza Lime Chipotle Marinade, Sauza Mustard, Sauza Chipotle Lime Party Dip, and the hot sauce I'm holding in my hand.

I found this bottle in the back of a TJ Max department store, between a candle and a pink BBQ sauce. The label is a shiny, reflective gold that screams "BUY ME - I'M OFFICIAL!" (The fact it was a hot sauce was all I needed to buy it, though)

I treated this sauce like I would a normal red vinegar sauce. However, there were subtle differences. The flavor has a distinct picante flavor, one I've found in other direct Mexican imports in the past. I'm not really a big fan. There's just something sour and off in picante type sauces. At least for my palette.

The good news, in my case, is that I couldn't really pick up on that flavor when I poured this in my soup for lunch. I also couldn't really pick it up when I poured it all over my eggs for supper. Only when I tasted this by the tablespoon.

One flavor that I didn't pick up at all was the Tequila. I'm not really sure what food is suppose to taste like with tequila in it. I doubt it makes much difference. The manufacturer of this bottle is Haus Barhyte. Looks like they've been busy securing the liquor infused food market. They have mustards for Stolichnaya Vodka, Beefeater, Aviator Ale, Sauza, and others. A big gimmick if you ask me. Don't get me wrong, I don't need to fall down a flight of steps in a drunken stupor just because I ate a jar of "Beefeater Olives", but if I can't say "Damn, I can taste the liquor in this stuff, it's awesome" then what's the point? There are only 3 off-the-shelf items I've eaten in the past that have succeeded in this regard. Jack Daniel's Sunflower Seeds, a whiskey BBQ I forgot the name of, and Kosciusko Spicy Brown Beer Mustard (Which my sister has aptly described as smelling like a day old open can of Keystone Light)

Sauza's label was fancy schmancy, though. The guy that created that label should be trained as a chef to make their next hot sauce.

Tomorrow: Big S Farms Tennessee Thunder

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Day 83: Peppers Hot Sauce

I was feeling under the weather today, and not hungry at all since I had that midnight snack yesterday.

So I grabbed the weakest looking sauce I could find in my collection: Peppers.

A typical red vinegar hot sauce, it seems like this is the 3rd one I've had that was relabeled for Peppers.

Since there's nothing new to say about the sauce, let's talk about the store. An absolute gold mine if you live on the east coast, and a great resource if you can only visit them on the web. It's a lot of fun. My favorite is the I survived pictures they put online. Some look like a hellofa lot of fun.

Chip Hearn and family are the owners of Peppers. Their operation is a LOT bigger than I thought, with over 40 full time employees, sales in 100 different countries, and annual sales in the millions. Now that's a lot of Hot. They have a re-labeling business, which means you can put your own label on a hot sauce (like the one I ate today). And unknown to me until today, they also make some sauces! Georgia Peach & Vidalia Onion Hot Sauce, Predator Sauce, You Can't Handle This, and others.

When you go international where you might carry one or two or three cases of product, "Now you have to have fifty cases."

50 cases of each sauce? Sounds like dream. Now that is a warehouse I'd like to get lost in!

Tomorrow: Sauza Fiery Hot Sauce

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Day 82: El Yucateco Red

Full Name on Label: "El Yucateco Salsa Picante de Chile Habanero Red Hot Sauce"

Today won't be remembered by me as the day I finished El Yucateco's very hot, red sauce. I'll always remember it as the day I got so drunk at a local beer festival that I lit the circus tent on fire and ran around buck naked screaming "It burns, it burns!", chased by 4 police men spraying me with delicious pepper spray.

Ok, maybe not. 35 vendors, 75 beers. My brother-in-law and I barely made it to every vendor, and we came embarrassingly short of trying every beer. Since this isn't a blog about drinking a bottle of beer every day, I'll move on and talk about eating a bottle of hot sauce every day...

The festival started at noon, so I made a huge spread of beef tacos at 11. Everyone arrived right on time, and we dug into my masterpieces. My brother in law is in love with Hot Habaneros of Texas which I have quite a few leftover samples of. He also requested El Yucateco's XXXtra Hot, which I gladly obliged by opening a new bottle for. For myself, I brought out El Yucateco's RED sauce. Not quite as hot, but while he was pouring drops on his tacos, I was drowning mine in red.

This is only a 4 ounce bottle, but it was hot as hell. Normally this wouldn't be a problem, but I've been sick the last couple of days, and it's been hard enough breathing with one plugged nostril of snot. Now I have to navigate through a sweaty forehead, runny nose, and sickly snot. It was a napkin nightmare. I felt like a pro athlete that forgot to stretch before the game. I was crippled!

The sauce was only half empty when I left for the beer festival. It would take a very active supper to finish the rest of the sauce.

The first time I ever had this sauce was on Jambalaya made at work. It was Fate. The right sauce, at the right time, at the right meal. Absolutely perfect. Today's tacos should have been the Second Coming, but I was just too sick to enjoy it like I should have.

The smell is slightly harsh. The taste is only above average because if you look at the ingredients, water and tomatos are 2nd and 3rd on the list. The heat makes up (and covers) for this. My biggest complaint about this sauce (and the green sauce) is the food coloring that was added. Fakers!

Our wives picked us up after the beer festival, and wanted to go out to eat. Yea! I'm drunk! Sounds great!

When I got there I realized that I didn't have my hot sauce on me. Or in the car. I was basically fucked.

In a fit of strategy, I didn't touch my sandwich, and only ate the free French fries that come with the meal. My intention was to take the sandwich home in a doggy bag and finish it with the sauce when I got home. When we got home, we watched a horror movie and I fell (passed) asleep (out) on the couch. I woke up a little before midnight and suddenly remembered I had a half bottle of hot sauce to finish!

I wasn't hungry. In fact, I felt like the fucking Pillsbury Doughboy. But I unbuttoned my pants and took out that Ragin’ Cajun sandwich and ate the bad boy. Slathered in red hot sauce.

Eating a bottle of sauce every day is HARD work!

Tomorrow: Peppers Hot Sauce

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October 07, 2005

Day 81: Frontera Jalapeno Hot Sauce

God, this sauce smells so good. If there was a deodorant like this, I'd buy it. I'd smell so good, people would want to lick my armpits.

Sniffing this bottle (even now when it's empty) reminds me of what it smells like when you squeeze a lime over a sizzling plate of fajitas at a Mexican restaurant.

Overall, this sauce isn't very hot, but tastes pretty good. Not quite as tasty as how it smells, but pretty damn good. The lime is pretty strong, followed by a fresh, crisp jalapeno flavor that I enjoy. I don't see "lime" in the ingredient list anywhere, so what the hell do I know?

"Ingredients: Cider vinegar, filtered water, fresh jalapeños, pickled jalapeños (jalapeños, water, vinegar, salt, spices), onion, garlic, olive oil, salt, sugar, xanthan gum"

I'm surprised we have success here when the first two ingredients are basically juice. It would explain why there's not much heat.

The most famous Mexican street vendors sear meat over burning charcoal, lay it on warm tortillas and drizzle it with this tangy blend of roasted jalapenos and garlic. We bet you’ll think up uses that’ll make you famous, too. Serve Jalapeno Hot Sauce with eggs, in potato salads, over grilled fish and dashed into guacamole."

Bottoms Up!
Ah yes, drinking this straight was just as good as snorting it up my nose. Smells good, tastes good, IS good. The only thing keeping this sauce from being my all time favorite is that the flavor of the jalapenos just isn't strong enough. And, needless to say, isn't spicy enough at all. Something is just missing.

So far, this is the best Frontera sauce I've had so far.

Tomorrow: El Yucateco Red