From the edge of reason…and sanity…

The purpose of hot sauces

[Yeah, its been over a year. New kid, looking for new job]

I like spicy stuff. Years of lunches at the Southeast Asian Restaurant in Lowell, MA has developed a tolerance for things on the spicier end. But is there really a need for the stuff that’s out there now?

My wife had found out about some hot sauce specialists, the W.O. Hesperus Company, specifically their Canceux Sauce, which makes a very simple but awesome dip called Fire in the Snow. We loved it (which reminds me – need to order more). It was a good blend of fire and flavor.

Several years ago (2000 I think) we attended a local BBQ event called the “Pig and Pepper” In Westford, MA (now defunct). They were there, and they had all their stuff at the time, with samples, except for one particular sauce. It was kept behind the table, and had a fairly plain white label with a skull and crossbones, called “Jolly Roger”. I asked why that wasn’t out for sampling – he said they didn’t want people to try it accidentally. He gave me a tiny amount – about half a dime on a tortilla chip, and I placed it in my mouth. I felt like I just had a teaspoon of Sun in my mouth. Why don’t they have milk or alcohol vendors on standby??

I bought a bottle. Still have it. Used it 3 times since, in VERY small amounts.

The secret of these ultra-hot sauces? The Red Savina Habanero – until recently the hottest chile known to man (there was a report of a hotter one found on the banks of a river in India, but no word if anyone has eaten one…) Alton Brown describes eating one like putting a “meteorite in your mouth”. It is over 10 times hotter (by Scoville units) than the typical Cayenne – probably the hottest thing most people have eaten.

Red Savinas now make their way into hundreds of hot sauces. Probably one the best known is Dave’s Insanity Sauce, produced by Dave’s Gourmet. There is also Dave’s Ultimate Insanity Sauce, which is supposedly twice as hot. I tried this once. Once. I think I started sweating before it touched my tongue. I don’t remember what it tasted like – I think the tongue went into shock while I tried to beg for some milk without a working tongue.

Recently, Greg Dean, the author of Real Life, one of my favorite online comics, got a job at Dave’s Gourmet. In a forum post on his web site, he told me they have this – THREE TIMES hotter than the original.

So, the question is – WHY? If its too hot to taste it, what good is it? Is it just for a bunch of guys to show who’s got the biggest chipotles?