Panola Cajun Hot Sauce Salsa Picante

I got this Panola sauce as part of a gift pack which came with a total of four sauces, and was surprisingly quite cheap for imported sauces (£4.99).  Panola Cajun Hot Sauce Salsa Picante seems to be the ‘Original’ variety in the gift pack so I thought I would review it first.

The sauce comes in a 177ml plastic bottle, and has a liquid/splash consistency to it.  The colour of the sauce is blood red, and imparts strong colouring on most foods you add it to, however the sauce is 100% natural.  Just four ingredients make up this sauce, the key being the ‘Aged Pepper Mash’ which is used in sauces such Frank’s Red Hot and Tabasco.  Combine the pepper mash with vinegar and you have a straightforward Louisiana Hot Sauce.

The sauce has great depth of flavour from the aged peppers, with a rich backbone and a floral finish.  I’m a big fan of vinegar sauces, but this has a slight unpleasant acidity to it which I can’t put my finger on.  On foods the flavour tends to get a little lost, so I’d perhaps keep this sauce for adding to blander items such as nachos and eggs.

Not bad, I’d imagine this sauce sits on a lot of Louisiana cafe/diner tables, but it’s not one I’d bother with having at home.

Crazy Bastard Sauce – Tomatillo & Habanero

I was lucky enough to be sent this sauce by Jonathan O Reilly who lives in Berlin, Germany.

Crazy Bastard Sauce is a small-batch (15 litre) chilli sauce produced in a professional kitchen in Germany, and the website indicates that each batch may vary slightly in terms of colour and heat.  The recipe for Crazy Bastard Sauce has taken three years to perfect, and I can really see why.

On first taste the sauce is naturally sweet, with a rush of heat that catches your tongue after a few seconds.  Then, a strong hit of garlic follows, mellowed by a sweet tomato, and then complimented with fruity, citrusy Haberano flavours.  The sauce lets off a series of bass notes with the tomato and garlic, and the Haberano and vinegar sprinkle the tongue with high notes. Although this sauce has a simple ingredient list, it’s perhaps has the most deep and refined flavour profile I’ve ever had from a sauce using these ingredients.  Simple, but memorable.     Classy, not in-your-face.

The heat is fairly immediate, punchy, but not raw.  It’s a pleasurable heat which compliments the flavours of the sauce perfectly.  However, it you have the sauce in large amounts then it really does show it’s strength, this really is quite a hot and powerful sauce and I prefer it smaller amounts.

So far I’ve tried Crazy Bastard Sauce in a sausage sandwich, on cold roast beef, and alongside some pork chops – all fantastic.  I’ve also found myself putting blobs of the sauce on my finger while working at my desk, it’s really quite addictive, and I think the delicious flavour and balanced heat is the cause of that.

Crazy Bastard Sauce is clearly of handcrafted, artisan values, beginning at the packaging and following all the way through to the final taste.  The sauce comes in 100ml glass bottle with a nice sliver cap, kinda like an old medicine bottle.  The labels are brightly illustrated with iconic and fun graphics, and the typeface used is lovely.  The sauce has clearly been well thought out from top-to-bottom, and I’d say the hard work has been worth it since we have a standout sauce here.

Currently my favourite sauce of 2014 so far.

Snyder’s of Hanover Hot Buffalo Wing Pretzel Pieces

Artificially flavoured broken pretzel pieces, in a foil bag, seasoned with a slightly greasy coating.  You could say that Hanover’s premium snack sounds a little nasty, and proud could be right, but goddamn do they taste good.

The Hot Buffalo Wing flavour have an almost glowing orange tint to each pretzel piece, and seem to be coated quite heavily.  You can smell them as soon as you open the bag; tangy, sour, and garlic smelling.

They taste good, very tangy, with a raw heat not far away from your Tabasco or Frank’s Red Hot flavour profile.  The more you eat, the more the tangy heat impact lessens which is a shame, perhaps these need to be seasoned heavier…

Some of my favourite chilli sauce recipes

Making your own hot sauce or chilli sauce is extremely rewarding since you are in control of the heat, flavour, consistency, and sometimes colour. Making your own can also be very economical if you are using your own home-grown chillies, or reduced-to-clear chillies from a shop.

Usually I take a few chilli sauce recipes that I like the look of, and tweak them depending on how I want my sauce to turn out. There are thousands of sauce recipes available on the internet so it can be hard to find one that suits what your after, so once you find a good one start to build on that.

Don’t use exclusively dried chillies for a hot sauce, a lot of the fresh flavour from the chilli will have been lost in the drying process, and you will be left with more harsh heat than flavour. That said, you can combine dried chillies with fresh chillies which is useful if you’re looking to add heat from some dried chillies. I currently have a load of dried Naga chillies which are great for adding to other fresh chillies if I want to make a really hot sauce.

If you’re making a table sauce (thick consistency). you may want to consider using ‘Xantham Gum’, which you can buy online or get from some large supermarkets…  It’s a natural binder and will stop your sauces from separating when left to settle, and will also give you a thick, pourable consistency.

Here a few of my favourite Hot Sauce recipes:

Master Hot Sauce – A simple sauce to get you started

Make your own Tabasco

Make your own Franks Red Hot sauce

Slow cooker Bacon Jam

Chilli Jam – Amazing with cheeses and sandwiches

Flavourful mild and hot chilli sauces

Homemade Sriracha

A nice Mexican style sauce

And finally, how Making Your Own Hot Sauce Will Change Your Life

 

Let me know your favourite recipes in the comments below.

Photo credit

Pulled Pork made with Byron’s Butt Rub

Pulled Pork is one of those foods that I only first found out about after watching countless episodes of Man Vs Food, and then discovered that it’s quite hard to come across in the UK since it being primarily a US dish.  Pulled Pork has started to catch on in the UK and is becoming quite the trend, especially with burger restaurants adding it as a topping to gourmet burgers.