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Stadium Rat
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Cook's Illustrated Rates Hot Sauces, Disses Tabasco
Sriracha and Frank's Red Hot are top-rated, Louisian Hot Sauce was "recommended" and Tabasco was "not recommended".

"To find the best all-purpose hot sauce, we decided to hold a competition of our own and looked to sales figures to help narrow the field. We compiled a list of eight top sellers in the traditional Cajun or Mexican styles, as well as an outlier in a distinctly different vein: a brand of Sriracha. This thick, bright-red condiment not only boasts a cult following in the test kitchen but has been flying off store shelves at the rate of 14 million bottles a year. We then rallied our boldest panel of tasters and presented them with the hot sauces in two applications: straight up over steamed white rice and in a Buffalo sauce that we used to coat fried chicken tenders."


Huy Fong Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce
Despite its unconventionally thick consistency and sweeter profile, this squeeze-bottle condiment (which we threw into the mix as a ringer) impressed tasters with its “full,” “rich,” “bright” heat. We even enjoyed its heavier body in Buffalo sauce; several tasters remarked that it coated the chicken “perfectly.”


Frank’s RedHot Original Cayenne Pepper Sauce
“Hello, Frank!” said one taster, who recognized this ­familiar-tasting condiment as the base for the original Buffalo sauce ­recipe. In both applications, it struck a perfect balance between ­tanginess and “tomatoey sweetness,” with heat that “wasn’t too hot” and “added to the food rather than overpowering it.”


Original Louisiana Hot Sauce
Even with just three ingredients, this sauce had a “­complex,” “balanced” profile and “mild punch.” A few tasters even picked up on “smoky,” “roasted” notes with “a pleasant fruitiness.” Its sodium content was at least double or even triple the amount found in most other brands.


Tapatío Salsa Picante
Several tasters noted that this Mexican condiment ­delivered a “smoky” sweetness that reminded them of barbecue sauce or even Worcestershire sauce. Most of us agreed that the warm spice ­flavor is unusual for Buffalo sauce but not necessarily unwelcome.


Texas Pete Hot Sauce
When eating it straight up over rice, tasters found this bright red sauce “pleasingly hot and spicy,” with a burn that “builds and lingers.” A few tasters felt that the heat petered out a little once the condiment was mixed into Buffalo sauce, turning this hot sauce into a “milder,” more “ketchup-y” version of Frank’s.


Valentina Salsa Picante
For a low-salt sauce, this Mexican sample boasted surprising “complexity.” That’s probably due to the use of dried chiles and spices that gave it a “smoky,” “sweet,” “tomatoey” taste. However, lots of character meant that it lacked the “universal ­applicability” that some tasters preferred, and a few found it “dusty.”


El Yucateco Salsa Picante Roja de Chile Habanero
This habanero-based sauce was “mouth-meltingly” hot but also “sweet,” thanks to the addition of a little tomato. Those who liked it praised its “earthy, almost fruity” flavor, but others felt that it was out of place on Buffalo chicken.


Cholula Hot Sauce, Original
Some tasters appreciated this Mexican sauce’s “sweet” flavor and “mild smokiness,” but others were unimpressed. Criticisms revolved around its low salt content, which a few tasters felt rendered the sauce “washed out.” “I’m bored,” said one taster.


Tabasco Pepper Sauce

Thanks to its high amount of vinegar and skimpy ­measure of salt, this top-selling hot sauce sank to the bottom of the chart. Tasters described it as “flavorless,” “vinegary,” “out of balance”—even “vile.” Its consistency was off, too, saturating rather than saucing the chicken. (Tabasco also sells Buffalo Style Hot Sauce; we didn’t test it since we were looking for an all-purpose product.)

This post was edited on 5/20 at 1:18 pm



CT
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re: Cook's Illustrated Rates Hot Sauces, Disses Tabasco
quote:

Tabasco was "not recommended"


I agree with them.


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BluegrassBelle
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That's 2nd place popcorn farts, thx
Member since Nov 2010
64465 posts

re: Cook's Illustrated Rates Hot Sauces, Disses Tabasco
I admittedly like Tabasco's Green Pepper sauce, but rarely use their actual red/hot sauce. Frank's Red Hot is usually my go to when it comes to those things.

And I tend to almost never lump Sriracha in with typical hot sauces. Maybe because of it's sweetness? I just don't think of it as a traditional hot sauce. But it's like the nectar of the gods for me right now.
This post was edited on 5/20 at 12:29 pm


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NimbleCat
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re: Cook's Illustrated Rates Hot Sauces, Disses Tabasco
Tabasco is my least favorite LA sauce.


hobotiger
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Asbury Park, NJ
Member since Nov 2007
3713 posts

re: Cook's Illustrated Rates Hot Sauces, Disses Tabasco
They are basing it on hot sauce use in wing sauce, which I don't use Tabasco for. I use Tabasco on beans etc, not wings just for the reason they stated.


BluegrassBelle
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That's 2nd place popcorn farts, thx
Member since Nov 2010
64465 posts

re: Cook's Illustrated Rates Hot Sauces, Disses Tabasco
quote:

They are basing it on hot sauce use in wing sauce, which I don't use Tabasco for.


They used it in more than just that application:

quote:

We then rallied our boldest panel of tasters and presented them with the hot sauces in two applications: straight up over steamed white rice and in a Buffalo sauce that we used to coat fried chicken tenders.


Stadium Rat
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Member since Jul 2004
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 Online 

re: Cook's Illustrated Rates Hot Sauces, Disses Tabasco
I really like Frank's best for most things. But Tabasco seems to be good in gumbo or soup. I don't think the tasting methods were conducive to Tabasco's strengths.


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aaronb023
LSU Fan
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re: Cook's Illustrated Rates Hot Sauces, Disses Tabasco
ive only had tobasco, louisiana hot sauce, sriracha, and cholula. i keep all of them in my pantry except tobasco. which one i use depends on the cuisine im cooking but i really like cholula a lot. surprised it was on the bottom of the list.


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Kim Jong Ir
LSU Fan
Baton Rouge
Member since Jan 2008
38198 posts

re: Cook's Illustrated Rates Hot Sauces, Disses Tabasco
quote:

Tabasco is my least favorite LA sauce.


Same here. As the review states, it is too vinegary without much flavor.


Martini
LSU Fan
Baton Rouge
Member since Mar 2005
36601 posts

re: Cook's Illustrated Rates Hot Sauces, Disses Tabasco
I'm a Crystal Hot Sauce guy over all the above listed. Never been a big fan of Tabasco but I do like their new buffalo sauce.


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Kim Jong Ir
LSU Fan
Baton Rouge
Member since Jan 2008
38198 posts

re: Cook's Illustrated Rates Hot Sauces, Disses Tabasco
quote:

I'm a Crystal Hot Sauce guy over all the above listed


Same here.

quote:

Never been a big fan of Tabasco but I do like their new buffalo sauce.



I have not tried this yet.


Lester Earl
Chicago Cubs Fan
Buganation, LA
Member since Nov 2003
218334 posts

re: Cook's Illustrated Rates Hot Sauces, Disses Tabasco
I like Tabasco. It's the only LA sauce with any heat. And i find it is the only sauce that really amps up the flavor with whatever you are eating; i find it blends in well.

I enjoy the vinegar flavor too. Crystal also has a lot of vinegar too it. Just a little milder. Not much difference there.


Stadium Rat
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re: Cook's Illustrated Rates Hot Sauces, Disses Tabasco
For you Sriracha fans who also have too many peppers from your garden:

How to Make Sriracha from Scratch

Cook's Illustrated Version
This post was edited on 5/20 at 1:48 pm


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Cdawg
Mississippi St. Fan
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Member since Sep 2003
46791 posts

re: Cook's Illustrated Rates Hot Sauces, Disses Tabasco
quote:

I'm a Crystal Hot Sauce guy over all the above listed.


LSUPHILLY72
Member since Aug 2010
4845 posts

re: Cook's Illustrated Rates Hot Sauces, Disses Tabasco
quote:

I'm a Crystal Hot Sauce guy over all the above listed.


Extra Hot Crystal might be my favorite but....

Tabasco is GREAT to cook with. Add it to what you are cooking and the vinegar flavor cooks out and leaves the heat. Tabasco is NOT good to put on something you are gonna eat...Like Raw Oysters.

Tabasco is great for Mustard Greens while they are cooking.


RedHawk
Army Fan
Baton Rouge
Member since Aug 2007
6031 posts

re: Cook's Illustrated Rates Hot Sauces, Disses Tabasco
Only eat Tabasco if that is all they got. Much prefer Louisiana Hot Sauce, Frank's or Crystal.


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Caplewood
Penn Fan
Atlanta
Member since Jun 2010
27215 posts
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re: Cook's Illustrated Rates Hot Sauces, Disses Tabasco
I eat Texas pete on most things I put hot sauce on that aren't fried( hamburger, pizza, chicken sandwich etc. ). I like franks on things that are fried, it coats better.

Tabasco has always been my least favorite for whatever reason. I do like the green Tabasco fairly well.


Valentina or cholula for tacos
This post was edited on 5/20 at 2:26 pm


rutiger
New York Yankees Fan
purgatory
Member since Jun 2007
17509 posts

re: Cook's Illustrated Rates Hot Sauces, Disses Tabasco
Dont really like the regular tabasco, but the smoked chipotle is awesome. Its my favorite hot sauce.


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DanglingFury
VCU Fan
Living the dream
Member since Dec 2007
19565 posts

re: Cook's Illustrated Rates Hot Sauces, Disses Tabasco
I love Tobasco in LA dishes for the taste it provides, but I use Louisiana Hot Sauce on wings and most other stuff. I always have a bottle of Sriracha too...as much as I like it, I only use it when I'm just really looking to add heat.
This post was edited on 5/20 at 4:20 pm


andouille
LSU Fan
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Member since Dec 2004
7892 posts

re: Cook's Illustrated Rates Hot Sauces, Disses Tabasco
I like different hot sauces for different purposes, they each can have a place. But, I saw Christopher Kimball taste a hot sauce on the show once, is almost killed him. To take the taste buds of North easterners and apply them to Louisiana taste preferences is ridiculous.

Those results will save the people in Des Moines a lot of trouble.


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