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Hot Sauce for the Win!

Julia Bainbridge
Food Editor
January 29, 2014

Credit: Ritchie King

To be filed under News That Was Already Blatantly Obvious: America is obsessed with hot sauce. In all fairness to Quartz, who did the heavy lifting in order to produce the graph above, we didn’t know our country was this obsessed. The news outlet reports: “The US hot sauce market has grown by 150% since 2000, which is more than that of BBQ sauce, ketchup, mayonnaise and mustard—combined.”

Daaeeyyyuuummmmm. Times, they are a-changing! And we support that. Hot sauce adds zing to soup, it transforms rice into something that has, well, flavor, and can turn the most boring of egg dishes into a satisfying meal. Here are a few of the lesser-known hot sauces, if you’ve hit your limit of Sriracha

If you like Sriracha, try Yuzu Pao. 

This combination of yuzu citrus and Sriracha chili sauce is one of Bon Appétit Foodist Andrew Knowlton’s favorites. “The result is slightly sweet, with welcome floral notes from the yuzu and just the right amount of heat,” he writes. “I use it with abandon on eggs, rice dishes, and soups, as well as in marinades.” Buy it here.

If you like Tabasco, try Snake Oil.

This hot sauce, bottled at Woodberry Kitchen restaurant in Baltimore, Maryland, has a similar consistency to Tabasco—slightly thicker, but still drizzle-able—and uses only three ingredients: organic fish peppers, salt, and apple cider vinegar from nearby Distillery Lane. The peppers are ground by hand and the whole mix is aged for a year in oak barrels. That’s some next-level ish. Buy it here. 

If you like Frank’s Red Hot, try Pain Is Good.

Like Frank’s, Pain Is Good’s Louisiana-style Hot Sauce (batch 218) is loaded with cayenne peppers. This stuff is made in small batches by Original Juan Specialty Foods in Kansas City, Kansas. And while its retail site rates it as medium in heat level, let the screaming face on its label be a warning: this isn’t for the faint of taste buds. Use it on those hot wings this weekend. Buy it here.

If you like Cholula, try Jufran Banana Sauce.

Cholula hails from Jalisco, Mexico, and Jufran Banana is a Filipino condiment, but both boast a lightness of flavor. Cholula skews hotter and more vinegary than Jufran, but the latter’s thick, fruity quality makes it an excellent choice for cutting the intensity of rich foods. Buy it here.

Let the obsession continue!

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Or try making a DIY Vietnamese hot sauce: