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That Famous Sauce Mr. McIlhenny Makes

September 29, 2009

It feels like a long time since we have heard from the hot sauce librarian.  But there has been so much to talk about.

I remember a long time ago, when the Internets were new, a bunch of marketing folks were sitting around a table talking about which brands could realistically draw people to a brand based website.  I mean, why would you go to the Palmolive dish soap website?  For the recipes?

As you can tell by the above example, these conversations are clearly ongoing.

But at the time, we all agreed that it was the brands with a fierce and dedicated following that would generate traffic to their web sites.  Brands you could imagine people getting tattooed on their bodies.  Harley-Davidson was one that came to mind.  Tabasco was another.

Frankly I am amazed that I haven’t caught flack from the Tabasco cult for not mentioning their precious sauce earlier.  Number three?  It’s a freaking insult!

Let me be clear.  I love Tabasco sauce.  I love everything about it.  I just do not go through as much of it as I do Frank’s and Sriracha.  Mostly because when I use Frank’s I take off the lid and pour it onto things.  And when I use Sriracha, I squirt a steady stream of chili paste all over my plate.

Tabasco I use by the drop.

As I have been paying more and more attention to the flavor profiles of the panoply of pepper sauces, one thing has really become clear to me.  Tabasco sauce has a unique brininess that is very pleasing.

Recently, I had a bottle open, and Mrs. Fussy wondered if I had been eating olives.

To that end, I am now using Tabasco in situations where an added shot of briny depth would complement the dish.  And that has led me to pasta sauce, minestrone soup and lentils.  It is also the only pepper sauce I would consider using on eggs.

Yes, Tabasco is a vinegar-based sauce, but given its concentration of heat and the small amount used, the vinegar isn’t overpowering.  And the heat is so intense that I use Tabasco to increase the bite of buffalo sauce when Frank’s alone won’t get me to where I want to go.

The McIlhenny Company makes an interesting claim on the box of Tabasco:
Some think hot sauce is all about heat.  We disagree.  We believe it should do even more for your meal.  Like enhance the taste.  Not mask it.

The box goes on.  But I would fundamentally agree with their analysis of how Tabasco works with food.  Oddly, besides the brininess, I also get an enhanced perception of sweetness that clearly comes from the addition of the sauce.

Maybe one day some of you food scientist types can explain that to me.  But it doesn’t really matter.  Because this stuff is delicious, and I buy it by the 5 oz. bottle.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. Mr. Sunshine permalink
    September 29, 2009 9:46 am

    Just finished a soft-boiled (3 minutes) egg with a few drops of Tabasco! I’ve loved it for over 55 years!

  2. September 29, 2009 12:37 pm

    stupid question: are you incorporating Tabasco in yr receipes or as a condiment?

    Tabasco + veggie omelettes = :D

  3. September 29, 2009 7:05 pm

    “I buy it by the 5 oz. bottle.” Are we to imply that’s big or small? I have a 12-oz. in both my NY and SF kitchens and it doesn’t last me all that long.

    However, I’ve recently discovered I like Crystal Hot Sauce just as much and maybe better for my favorite Tabasco application, which is squirting it all over a mound of smoked Texas brisket as the only condiment that fine meat requires. It has the same sweet-hot notes and is a lot cheaper. Plus it reminds me of happy meals (which are not the same as Happy Meals) at roadside places in the south.

    • omaxwell permalink
      September 30, 2009 11:10 am

      I think he meant to say “infer” not “imply”…

    • September 30, 2009 11:16 pm

      It has been a while since I have uploaded a new product to the FUSSYlittleSTORE. But Otis has inspired me. This one is for you sir.

      Crystal will certainly get its due. It’s my preferred pepper sauce for Red Beans & Rice. I have a batch of beans soaking as we speak, and a bottle of Crystal on deck. Mrs. Fussy may be eager to jump into the bean pot tomorrow night. But I’d like to wait until it has melded and have it for dinner on Friday.

      • October 1, 2009 6:20 pm

        I am deeply honored, sir. And my order has been placed.

  4. November 11, 2009 11:18 am

    Here’s another one for the library: Bufalo brand Chipotle. Found myself dousing my chips with it at Cantina’s Taco Tuesday last night… just the right notes of sweet and smoky.

    And here is a bonus use after your drain the bottle. When I was riding around southern Mexico on a bus many years ago, seemed like every mom and pop restaurant had an empty Bufalo bottle on each table, used as a toothpick dispenser. The bottle and mouth are a perfect configuration for filling and dispensing with toothpicks.

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