Torchbearer Hot Sauces

Thoughts about food and technology by computer geeks who love to cook



September 11, 2006

Ordinarily, I’m very good with deadlines. I’ll stay up night after night, consume endless amounts of coffee, and push anything and everything out of the way to meet a deadline for a book or article. Sure, there are occasionally circumstances beyond my control, but I’m generally on time—and in fact I typically do my best work under time pressure. However, when I don’t have a specific or firm deadline, or when I have only a made-up deadline I created myself, I tend to procrastinate. In this case, there’s something I’ve procrastinated about for a full year, and it’s time to wipe it off my to-do list once and for all.

On September 1, 2005, I posted the following () on :

A couple of weeks ago, I received a large gift basket of hot sauces, which I agreed to review and write about as a follow-up to my Interesting Thing of the Day article on

and my blog post about . (Stay tuned. The wheels of progress are spinning slowly this summer.)

Yeah, they spun slowly all right. More twelve months later, I still hadn’t written it up. Don’t get me wrong: I’d certainly tasted the sauces. In fact, Morgen and I sat down for an elaborate tasting session, and I recorded the whole thing (on an analog tape recorder yet!), intending to write it all up the next day. But that tape recorder has sat on my desk, untouched, for many months.

I’ve just listened to the tape, and I’m happy finally to be able to say what needs to be said about . In short: they’re excellent, and please go buy a whole lot of them to help assuage my feelings of guilt over not having written about them earlier!

Morgen and I tasted their entire range of eight sauces, each of which has a number that (supposedly) corresponds to its level of spiciness. We tried each one first on a toothpick (for safety’s sake, and to avoid contaminating it with other flavors), and then with tortilla chips; we kept some steamed white rice and some olive oil handy to help get the capsaicin off our tongues between tastes. Here’s what we found:

Most of the sauces contained essentially the same list of ingredients, but in different quantities. I liked the mandarin orange and carrot flavors, which are a bit unusual in this context, and anything from #11 on down is (in my opinion) readily edible as a condiment. The hottest two (or perhaps three) would be best used as seasonings in other recipes, where they can be diluted a bit.

Alert readers will certainly note that #42 Slaughter Hot Sauce isn’t the world’s hottest sauce, though it may very well be the hottest natural sauce (as in, made without adding pure capsaicin or whatever). In any case, it’s certainly hot enough for me, and likely for just about anyone.

In summary: this is good stuff, and extremely serious heat. Get yourself some of #7, #11, and #23 for a good range that’s actually usable, and if you need unbearably intense heat, you can’t go wrong with #42.

Posted by Joe Kissell in


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