More of a Cholola guy myself...
Tapatio is for pussies, Schmader.

Anyone from Texas knows the best is the green sauce (not from those weak-ass hatch chilies) you get in those little plastic cups.
Actually Crystal Hot Sauce is better than either Tabasco or Tapatio.
Early lunch?
Thank you for giving Tapatio the respect it deserves. I am never without a large bottle of it. Used it for salad dressing in college once. Delicious.
Tapatio FTW.
Cholula is overrated
Crystal is not too much diffferent from tapatio.
Hang your head in shame for taking so long to figure that out, Schmader!

I know everyone has their obscure favorite hot sauce (I know I do), but I think we can all admire Tapatio's versatility and obvious superiority to other red hot sauces like Tabasco and Frank's.
Tapatio's good, but Iguana XXX Habanero is my fav. Has awesome heat and amazing flavor.…
saveur had a little article on the family that makes tapatio in last months issue…
Tapatio has acetic acid, xanthan gum and sodium benzoate. Ew.
Tabasco is tabasco peppers (Capsicum frutescens var. tabasco), vinegar, and salt, aged in white oak barrels for three years. That's it. No gums, no benzoates, just deliciousness. Of course, it's not perfect for everything. Really, it's best for american foods (pizza, eggs, crackers) or straight from the bottle. For tex-mex, cal-mex, or mex-mex, a habenero/scotch bonnet sauce is best, but let's not disrespect an American institution. Especially not in favor of xantham gum.
And don't put it on your burrito. They don't make burritos in Guadalajara. It goes on tacos, made with corn tortillas, preferrably with meat from birria. It also goes on a lonche (carnitas sandwich in a hard roll.)
Both of which are put to shame by Sriracha.
Crystal hot sauce pride!
I'm sorry that this void has existed in your life for so long.

Even the smell of Tabasco reeks of failure.
Schmads, even better than Tapatio: Valentina.…
Dude, Tabasco has always sucked. I've never liked that red vinegar juice, and understood its popularity. Poor excuse for "hot" sauce. Although the Chipotle version is good.

It's Tapatio or Cholula for me.
@8 I tried some of that xxx sauce at Bimbos the other night. Holy cow, that stuff has a bite. Good in small quantities.
Are you gonna' tap that?
hot sauce snobs are way worse than wine snobs
Tabasco blows, Sriracha is fantastic, but it's not as versatile and it's also not in the same category as far as I'm concerned. Tapatio is my favorite all-around hot sauce, period. I'm never without a giant bottle in our fridge.
I like different sauces for different things. Frank's on cheese pizza is amazing. Tapatio is good for tex-mex. Tabasco, however, is good for nothing.
I've NEVER liked Tabasco, and still don't understand its popularity. If I need vinegar on my taco, I'll go straight to the source. Sriracha is fantastic, but not as versatile. Tapatio has been a staple in our house for years, and we're never without an industrial-sized bottle in our fridge. There may be "better" sauces out there, but Tapatio is the best and most versatile.
Tabasco's popularity can be explained by the fact that it has FLAVOR. Most hot sauces do not; they just have a lot of heat. But Tapatio is no slouch.
Oh, tabasco is good for one thing: prairie fires
Ah, the very definition of Hipster Douchebag! You like One Thing and anything else that is similar, but not precisely, exactly the same is SHIT!!! There is no room for variations on a theme, subtle differences that can be appreciated, no, no, no-- It's that One Thing & that One Thing _only_!!!

(I can't wait for the post that elevates oregano to divine-like status & castigates thyme for being shallow & worthless.)
Tabasco sauce is great, it's from Avery LA and it goes well with Lousiana Cajun and Creole dishes.

As to whether it goes well on Mexican or Tex Mex food --

à chacun son goût, y'all!
Sriracha! Gotta love the cock sauce.

What are you talking about? You are aware that Tapatio was invented in a garage in Los Angeles, right? Thus making it ideal for burritos.

However, I would be interested in hearing your other silly food rules.
ay dios mio gavacho...get a real fucking food writer for your print edition please.

@19 And people who go out of their way to leave snide comments on blog posts where people discuss their favorite variety of a food, beverage or condiment are way worse than any kind of food snob.
Tabasco has value, as a vinegar condiment. It's better on hash browns, for instance, than any of the Mexican sauces. And the combination of Tabasco and brown sugar, used in small enough quantities that you can't identify "heat" or "sweet" in the flavor, makes all kinds of Southern food expand exponentially in richness (like collards, or corn bread, or sausage soup).

But only a crazy person would put Tabasco on any kind of Mexican food. Puke.

I like fresh-made salsas, fresh, cooked, or pickled, better than any bottled sauce, except for bottled habanero sauces. All of them. No other pepper has a tenth the warm, sweet, vegetal flavor of the habanero, if you can stand the heat. The best I ever had was a bottle of unlabeled green sauce from a restaurant in Playa del Carmen, which was so hot three drops would fell an ordinary person, and even I could only get up to six or nine. But oh, my god, the flavor. I've never found a green habanero sauce to compare with it, unfortunately, and while it took me over a year to get through the bottle, it eventually was empty. Melinda's habanero salsas are OK.

Thyme IS shallow and worthless, you old nobodaddy.
16: I know! And I always just assumed that's what "hot sauce" was supposed to taste like and steered clear of all of 'em. THE AWFULNESS OF TABASCO TANGIBLY DAMAGED MY LIFE.

Which brings us to 25: Hipster douchebag? I wish! Actually, I was aiming for "histrionic drama queen," getting all conclusive and pronouncey about something that's clearly a matter of individual taste. Put on your spectacles and give it another read!
Great, now I want tacos. Which would not ordinarily be annoying except for the fact that there is NO WAY I'll be able to get any tacos today.

@32: Gurrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrl, you a hipster.
I gotta go with the cholola stuff with the wooden stopper myself.
This kind of sauce and pepper sauces like Tabasco or Crystal are two entirely different condiments. That's like saying that Gulden's is superior to hot mustard. Both mustard-y, but two entirely different ideas.
Thanks for standing up for Tabasco, fnarf. Children don't realize.
That said, Crystal is better than Tobasco. Nyeeeah.
es una salsa...muy salsa!
@15: YES. Valentina is like what Tapatio is attempting, perfected.
Cholula? It's like Tapatio dilluted with Tabasco. Anyone who doesn't understand the Cayenne to Vinegar ratio isn't qulaified to speak on this topic.

Crystal, Tabasco and their like are ideal for Southern foods. Tapatio, Valentinos and their like are ideal for Mexican foods. Cholula is a waffling, fence riding safe bet with self-important packaging. To hell with Cholula.

And Schmader? Texas? Man, better late than never. Welcome to Tapatio, Hermano.
(41: I know, weird. I was born and raised in El Paso.)
Tapatio and Cholula are unpleasant alternatives to good Mexican sauces. I find that the thickening provided by the xanthum gum is off-putting and neither one has a flavor I crave, or even necessarily enjoy.

Tabasco has it's place: more for flavor than for heat and primarily for breakfast. It's vinegary-ness isn't bad at cutting through overly sweet barbeque, e.g.

Sriracha is good for certain things (though again it's more flavor than heat). It has industrial additives too, but for some reason they're incorporated better and don't bother me as much.
@42: Everyone knows El Paso is not a real Texan city. It's the only redeemable city in New Texico, but it isn't a true Texas city.
I agree with Baconcat.

My baby handprint on the Alamo affirms my true Texan need for the ultra-hot.
@ 10

Acetic acid + water = vinegar

As for the preservatives, they really could probably do without them since capsaicin is anti microbial anyway, but perhaps it was something the FDA required them to do or something. I'm sure the original recipes didn't call for them but at least vinegar isn't the first ingredient. The only time I've enjoyed Tabasco is on fries because I would be putting vinegar on them anyway.

By the way, the history of Mclhenny Co. and how they muscled every other tabasco sauce producer out of business is really interesting because it was a common recipe (incredibly simple) found in Louisiana. Sauces labeled as "Louisiana Hot Sauce" are the same as Tabasco but Mclhenny owns the copyright to "Tabasco Sauce" (despite Tabasco being a pepper from the Tabasco region in Mexico) so they made everyone else call their sauce something different. A good book for those interested in peppers is Peppers by Amal Naj

Additionally, I find the comment that hot sauces are nothing but a lot of heat and no flavor (unlike Tabasco) interesting. Obviously everything tastes a little different to different people and so this person might just have a little more sensitive pallet. I'd highly recommend Gary Nabhan's Why Some Like It Hot to everyone interested in cuisine and culture.

I like Tapatio for it's versatility. It also has a somewhat smoky flavor to it that I enjoy. Making your own hot sauce can be fun too. I made a habenero mango sauce once that was really interesting.
From a man once in uniform:

MRE's became vastly more edible when the Army began including tiny little Tabasco bottles in each. The bland, Chef Boyardee-ish spaghetti and meat sauce is improved greatly. So is the non-descript Tuna and Noodles.

But, yeah, Tabasco's not all that versatile. And Army mess halls usually feature some other Louisiana hot sauce.
@10 - if you're down in Louisiana, you really should do a tour of the Tabasco plant - they take you into the salt domes, and they have a really pretty garden on top.
@10 - you do know what "acetic acid" is, right?

(hint: it's in Tabasco, too. Because it's also called "vinegar")
If it's any consolation, I graduated from high school in San Antonio, then my parents spent fifteen years living in Plano.

Also, except for Austin, Texas sucks.
@50: What HS in San Antonio? This will reflect strongly upon you.
@10: Ain't nothing wrong with xanthan gum. As a diagnosed-from-birth celiac, it's my modern miracle food. Nothing else yet invented comes close to mimicking wheat gluten. It's introduction in the last ten years has completely transformed what I eat and what I cook. And it's just sugar fermented by a particular micoorganism ... kinda like how they make booze. What's so bad about that?
How indeed?! Also give Cholula a try, it has a slightly sweeter aftertaste.
@53: I can't find anything negative to say about Churchill except that it has the largest yearbook my journalism/yearbook professor had ever seen. And it had a larger ratio of student sponsored pages than Beverly Hills High School's yearbook.

Oh wait, the neighborhood sucks.
The problem with pretty much all bottled hot sauces served in restaurants is that when left opened and unrefrigerated they tend to lose their heat very quickly. So, unless the restaurant is swapping them out for fresh bottles on a regular basis - at least every couple of weeks, IME - then invariably you're dousing your food with something only marginally comparable to its intended flavor.

And although I AM a hot sauce collector, I don't have any aversion to FRESH Tobasco. As others have pointed out, it's best as an accompaniment to breakfast items such as eggs and hashbrowns, even grits, as I find the strong vinegar component to be a good contrast to the slightly sweet oiliness of pan or griddle-fried foods.

I prefer Sriracha more on Asian dishes (naturally), but it's also great on fried meats such as Buffalo wings or chicken tenders, and of course it's my favored dipping sauce for seafood, especially shellfish.

And Fnarf, I totally agree with you re: habanero sauces. While even the mildest may be far too strong for some pallets, there's nothing that beats it flavor-wise, when it's prepared with judicious care. I've owned several bottles of the so-called "super-hots" (Brain Death, Endorphin Rush, Da' Bomb, et al) over the years, and those are all well-and-good - if all you're interested in is heat and nothing else. Finding that balance between heat and flavor, however, is a true art, and probably one of the reasons why I'm more attracted to Caribbean products, due to their extensive incorporation of fruit bases, which creates widely varying, but invariably delicious sauces.

Dang, this is making me hungry!
@47 - I stand corrected. Those little Tabasco bottles absolutely do save MREs. But, normally, it's too vinegar-y for my tastes.
Franks Red Hot is the original buffalo wing sauce. Just sayin'. Tapatio is great, though. Each (including tobasco) as its place.
@ 37, hey, I stood up for Tabasco first. (sniff, sniff)

@ Fnarf, I'm kinda shocked to agree with a food opinion of yours, but thanks for your silly dis of thyme at the end. That's the kind of food opinion I expect from you.
Knows what kills? The chipotle sauce with the buffalo on the front that's like 89 cents and everywhere. I always assumed that it was bottom shelf, but no. It's awesome, especially incorporated into the cooking rather than doused on the plate. Has a sweet, molé-kind of taste.
Franks Red Hot is the original buffalo wing sauce. Just sayin'. Tapatio is great, though. Each (including tobasco) as its place.
Screw these double posts man...

but I gotta add, the only things good that I ever hearda to come from Plano were tackleboxes.
Tapatio on a potato chip. Granted, I know nothing about anything. But still.
Hey, here's a question for all you hot sauce folks out there. One of our "standard" dinners is a re-creation of a dish served at a lunch place here -- brown rice, black beans, cheddar cheese, tomatoes, sour cream, avocado, cilantro.

It needs a hot sauce for sure, but the best I have been able to come up with is a couple of drops from the "super hots" (as Comte called them) collection in our fridge. My husband likes this Thai Garlic Chili Pepper sauce or sriracha, but I like more heat. Despite the ingredients, it's not really a "mexican" dish, so the traditional mexican-style sauces don't really do it for me either. Thoughts?
62: Plano also had an impressive number of upper-class teenage heroin addicts. They got their own MTV special!
As has been pointed out, it is wrong-headed folly to compare creole hot sauces with Mexican hot sauces.
@60: I believe it's called Buffalo Sauce. Love that stuff.
Ok, there are different ways to classify hot sauces. Or different niches. Or functions.
One classification/niche is "super cheap generic spiciness." Like Under-$2-Spiciness. Which lumps Tapatio and Tabasco together. Some of you are poo-poohing Tapatio AND Tabasco, and suggest something else which breaks the $2 (and even $3 or $4) barrier.

Those "expensive" options are just way out of the SupercheapSpiciness league and sorta don't compare. They DO taste better yes. But you can't use your pocket change.

For me, the vinegary taste of Tabasco makes it a little less generic than Tapatio. So I vote for Tapatio.

Here's two unnamed ones I will now name:

Baconcat Green

4-6 large tomatillos (enough to fill a large cereal bowl)
8 piquin peppers
1 Jalapeno
1 clove garlic
1 half red onion
Olive oil

Boil tomatillos with about 1/5th a teaspoon of sugar for about an hour or until soft enough that the skin breaks when pressed by a spoon. Let cool to allow for extra mushiness and then cut up into small chunks. In large frying pan, add a drizzle of olive oil and the peppers, onion and garlic, minced. Cook until seeds begin to pop (or oil browns a little). Toss tomatillos in for about 2 or 3 minutes, tossing constantly until everything is well mixed. Add a sprinkle of salt.

Puree in blender

Serve at room temperature or warmed up, NEVER cold

And the other...

Baconcat Red

5 large red tomatoes
1 to 2 Habaneros (depending on how tolerant you are)
generous handful of equal parts shelled sunflower and pumpkin seeds
handful of cilantro
canola oil
1 quarter yellow onion
soy sauce

Boil tomatoes until soft, as above. Cut into chunks and mash a little bit to save yourself some time.

In large pan, cook seeds in canola oil until oil turns dark brown and smokes lightly. Remove from heat before it smokes too much and let settle for a few minutes until cool. Remove seeds/oil from pan into sturdy metal bowl or mortar. Preferably you want to mash them up in a mortar, but using the underside of a large sturdy spoon works, too.

Heat pan again with fresh oil, add onions, some cilantro and diced habaneros, let cook lightly until onions start to turn clear. Do not let the steam get in your eyes. Add tomatoes, a tablespoon of soy sauce, cook for about 3-4 minutes.

Pour two shots of tequila, drink one.

Pour second shot of tequila into blender, add tomatoes, seeds, onions and everything else. Puree until liquid.

Best served room temperature or slightly warm, NEVER cold

Baconcat Red is slightly sweet and not too hot and adds spice without overpowering that dish
Baconcat Green is pretty hot but very earthy flavored and adds spice and a new angle of flavor
@64, follow Comte's advice and look for Caribbean or Central American (including Mexican) habanero salsas. For a dish like that you may not want anything to fruity, like some of the amazing peach'n'habanero ones, but Melinda's salsas are fairly common and pretty hot. There's another one called "Belizean Heat" that's pretty fantastic. I avoid any of the "super-hots" that are just different ways to serve up pure capsicum in a kind of macho contest. Flavor is everything.

@59, are you this doggedly literal-minded in person? Can't you have a little FUN? Here's a hint: I don't really dislike thyme. I do, however, rise to the bait like a world-record bonefish.

@46, Amal Naj's "Peppers" is one of my all-time favorite books. I particularly like his eventual admission that despite his Indian background he had to admit that no nation uses chiles in as many and as varied ways as Mexico. I also really enjoyed the story of the tourist restaurants in Cancun that have to bring in burlap bags full of raw habaneros to get the Maya cooks to work there -- chiles that never find their way anywhere near the bland tourist food, but which the Maya eat like popcorn.

Baconcat @55, my yearbook from Warren Travis White High School in Dallas (sophomore year only) is the size of a goddamn phone book. But less interesting.
I'm glad you've come to your senses, Schmader. :)
CRYSTAL! Reee-speck!
Chipotle Tabasco. Just try it.
Thanks Baconcat -- Baconcat Green sounds very tasty...
Sambal Ulek>Sriracha>Tapatio>Tabasco
This may have already
Man, the registration link totally freakin' mislead as to what it was going to post. What I MEANT to say was...

This may have already been asked/mentioned, but do you all have "Aardvark" brand sauces up there in Seattle? It's a 2-man operation down here in PDX and the habanero style sauce is one of the best I've ever had (and I'm not even usually that into habanero based sauces, as they've generally got that kind of smoky(?) flavor that I'm not that into -- but this stuff is wonderful and highly recommended. Really spicy, but with a totally satisfying flavor.
Yes yes....Tabasco is for the simple minded American masses....while only hipster foodies can appreciate the fine variety of hot sauces out there. Go fucked yourselves. For all the talk about organic, natural, and local hipsters sure dont practice it. ALL Tabasco comes from one small island in Louisiana and is made with local products.
Tabasco is the ONLY hot sauce I like in my Bloody Marys. Other than that, I don't use it.
Mr. Schmader--

Sir, I stand corrected. Histrionic Drama Queen it is!

& Alright Fnarf! Let's get some thyme-hate goin' here!
Another Tapatio fan here. Not so much 'hot sauce', as 'Mexican ketchup'.
This is wrong and a lie. Chalula is the way to heaven. Spicy, delicious heaven.
All of you original Tabasco bashers need to understand that it was created for and is really only best served on New Orleans, cajun and creole dishes. Like another poster said, it has NO place in Mexican food at all and really anywhere else except for maybe pizza and eggs. Red beans, jambalaya, shrimp creole, seafood po-boys, oyster sauce (Tabasco, horseradish, worcestershire, lemons), sauce piquante, gumbo, etc. This is the domain of Tabasco and nothing else fits as well for these dishes when you want to add heat. I go through aboyut 15 oz's a week of hot sauce myself between Tabasco and Marie Sharp's Fiery Hot and Belizean Heat. Stuff I would use Tabasco on I would never put Marie Sharp's on and vice-versa. If you think Tabasco sucks you have never had any really good and authentic Louisiana cuisine.
All of you original Tabasco bashers need to understand that it was created for and is really only best served on New Orleans, cajun and creole dishes. Like another poster said, it has NO place in Mexican food at all and really anywhere else except for maybe pizza and eggs. Red beans, jambalaya, shrimp creole, seafood po-boys, oyster sauce (Tabasco, horseradish, worcestershire, lemons), sauce piquante, gumbo, etc. This is the domain of Tabasco and nothing else fits as well for these dishes when you want to add heat. I go through aboyut 15 oz's a week of hot sauce myself between Tabasco and Marie Sharp's Fiery Hot and Belizean Heat. Stuff I would use Tabasco on I would never put Marie Sharp's on and vice-versa. If you think Tabasco sucks you have never had any really good and authentic Louisiana cuisine.

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