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We’re Not in Texas Anymore

November 5, 2009

It’s time for another installment of the Hot Sauce Librarian.  After the last post, Mrs. Fussy told me in private that she thought I was wrong about Crystal being the fourth most consumed pepper sauce by volume in our household.

Her position is that Crystal should be ranked fifth and her beloved Texas Pete’s should be fourth.  Really, she is lucky that I am even including it in the list at all.

But this is her hot sauce of choice, the bottle she goes to primarily to elevate the level of heat in a dish.  For me I only use it sporadically, mostly as a refreshing alternative to a few of my favorite bottles.

I wish I could remember what magazine article turned me onto Texas Pete’s hot sauce.  But it was some time within the past three years.  We were living in Albany, and the author made a compelling case as to why they thought Texas Pete was the best pepper sauce on the planet.

Frankly I can’t even remember the argument.  All I can remember is thinking, “I’ve got to find this hot sauce.”

[Ed. note: after some investigative journalism, you can see the original case for TP here.]

Then one day I saw it on the shelf at a Hannaford’s.  Not all of them carry it, and I believe it’s the only major store in the area to sell it at all.  But after bringing home that first bottle, it was an instant fixture in our pantry.

Mrs. Fussy likes it because it is bright, has a nice body, and a well-rounded flavor.  I mostly agree.  To me the sauce tastes the most like dried red chili peppers, in liquid form.  Sure there is a vinegar base, but it is held in check by the peppers.

Sometimes you just want that straight pepper flavor.  But mostly I will use it as a substitute for Frank’s Red Hot, on that rare occasion when I am not in the mood for its assertive Buffalo flavor.

But for me Texas Pete’s bright true pepper flavor cannot replace the briny, fiery kick of Tabasco.  It doesn’t have enough vinegar punch to substitute for the Crystal. And I wouldn’t dream of putting it where I put my Sriracha.  Still, it has a role in our house.  And Mrs. Fussy wouldn’t dream of eating black beans without it.

Just don’t think that this little bottle of pepper sauce is from Texas.

This is a North Carolina specialty that came out of a family owned operation that was making barbecue sauce at the time.  Apparently the great state of Texas is perfectly fine with you using its name to sell your product.  Here is another good example.

They do also make an extra hot version of the sauce.  Some people prefer it for its more intense heat profile.  Not I.  The heat actually obscures everything that is good about the sauce, and thus it becomes solely a heat delivery device.  It’s fiery, but boring.  Stick with the original bottle.  It’s good stuff, and you can get that true dried red chili flavor without having to pick around all those pepper pods in your food.

Next time we’ll talk about pepper sauce and Mexican food.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. November 5, 2009 11:19 am

    how much hot sauce are you consuming on a monthly basis? it seems to take us at least 4 months to get through one bottle

  2. Don permalink
    November 5, 2009 1:26 pm

    First, Mazal tov on your mention in the Times Onion this morning.

    The problem with most of these sauces is the overpowering vinegar, and possibly sugar. That’s why I keep handy a shaker of my 100% homegrown pure unadulterated habenero powder, grown under strict rabbinical supervision (i.e. mine).

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