13. Valentina Salsa Picante
Like Goya, this isn’t the spiciest hot sauce in the world, but it does have great flavor. Sprinkled on fruit like watermelon or mangoes, the hot sauce stands out since it has a pretty good vinegar to salt ratio. Still, nothing to write home about.
8. Louisiana Hot Sauce
The “perfect hot sauce” may be a bit of a stretch, but Louisiana Hot Sauce is still a legit condiment. Yeah, it may lack some heat, but put enough on and it’ll get the party started. And by ‘party’ I mean ‘burning butt’ the next day.
In high school, my friend’s dad made coctel de camarón — or, shrimp cocktail — and loaded it with Crystal. He let me try and my tastebuds danced like the Rockettes on blue meth. Unfortunately, I’ve chased that taste for years and never once was able to relive it. So, sorry, Crystal, but you’re just better in my memory.
6. Frank’s Red Hot
Any sauce involved in the creation of the buffalo wing is aces in my book. Tangy, with a good amount of heat, Frank’s Red Hot is great not only on wings but on other stuff as well, like… OK, it’s best on wings and fried chicken, but still.
5. El Yucateco Chili Habanero
If you’ve never tried El Yucateco, well, then, I don’t know what you’ve been doing with your life. This hot sauce definitely has a kick, so you don’t need to douse your food with it in the same way you do with some of the other sauces on this list. Not for the faint of heart, yet neither for the truly hardcore, this sauce is a good choice when you need some oomph in your mouth.
There are classics for a reason, and Tapatío is a shining, sombrero-wearing example of that. This sauce goes well with everything like the little black dress of the spicy world that it is. Never overpowering and always satisfying, Tapatío is on the Mt. Rushmore of hot sauces.
The wooden top beckons me from afar, tempting me with it’s hot sauce-y goodness. Like Tapatío, Cholula is a staple. The right amount of heat and not too watery, it charms the tongue in every bite. Also, am I the only one who totally ships the Cholula lady and the Tapatío guy?
2. Huy Fong Sriracha
Like kale, Sriracha seems to have appeared out of nowhere a few years ago and has taken the world by storm, and with good reason. And for many, there is only one brand that matters: Huy Fong, the one with the rooster. I have to admit, it took me a while to make the leap, and now I always have a bottle on hand. Great on pizza, eggs — basically anything you can eat — the garlicky, tangy goodness is almost perfect. Almost.
The Coca-Cola of hot sauces. Often imitated and never duplicated, this is the Louisiana hot sauce all other Louisiana hot sauces aspire to be. Peppery, vinegary, full of punch, it is and will forever be No. 1. I love you Tabasco. Will you marry me?
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