Somewhere along the way in our history as humans, we discovered the ability to season our food. It came slowly at first, as most things do with our species, likely occurring by accident, and almost certainly taking place over several generations. We probably started with combining one kind of fruit with another, or maybe wrapping meat in a certain kind of leaf to impart a flavor into the flesh. It wasn’t long after that someone discovered the bright green, yellow, red, or purple things growing off a skinny vine makes a tongue feel like it’s on fire. Spicy food has been with us for awhile.
Flash forward a few thousand years, and now there’s a million kinds of hot sauce. Do you like yours hot as hell, or prickly and flavorful? Should the consistency be chunky or runny? Vinegar or smoke? How about blending some fruit in with the peppers? How about blending peppers with other peppers? It’s pretty easy to get lost in the world of hot sauces.
We here at BYT aren’t about to let you go helpless, though– we got our hands on an unreasonably large selection of hot sauces, then tried them all. Rather, Jeb tried them all. Most of us tried ten or so.
The scoring scale is simple enough: Letter grade (A-F)for taste, numbered scale (10-1) for heat. We tried the ordinary staples, delicious new flavors, kitschy gift-set bullshit, and genuinely painful blends from the pros. This was easily the best way to spend an afternoon, however painful or cramp-inducing it may have been. Luckily, there was beer. It doesn’t always help the heat, but it does kill the desire to tap out.
If you’ve ever been curious about trying a super arcane hot sauce, or you’ve always been turned off by a well-known brand and you want validation, this taste test should help you.
If you’re considering playing along at home, we strongly consider you have a phone nearby to call paramedics as needed.
MARISSA RUBENSTEIN’S HOMEMADE HOT SAUCE