pain is good

16 crazy-named hot sauces to impress your friends on Cinco de Mayo

May 4, 2014
May 4, 2014

If you really are trying to impress your friends or your date with an extreme or unusual condiment, pick up Scorned Woman or Vicious Viper Hot Sauce or maybe Crazy Jerry’s Brain Damaged sauce.

Offbeat hot sauces from small local producers or products imported from Mexico or elsewhere are taking off. The niche hot sauce market is growing rapidly, according to IBIS World, a business intelligence firm, and many people are seeking either new taste, novel or heat, or maybe all three.

“There’s a fairly large amount of hot sauces with outrageous names that exist solely for the shock value—Ass Burnin’, Bitch at the Beach—and most of those sauces are generic in flavor,” says Brian Meagher, owner and writer at  HotSauceDaily.com. “They are attractive to the casual shopper or gift giver.”

Other manufacturers try for “more inventive, even tongue-in-cheek style” such as Kiss my Bhut or Pain is Good, he added.

“Hot sauce is probably the only industry where products brag about how much pain they will cause you, but the best sauces manage to have great flavor along with the heat,” said Dylan Keenen, co-owner of Heat Hot Sauce Shop. His shop in Berkeley, California, carries 300 varieties of hot sauces from all over the world, including some made with sweet potato, blackberries and prickly pears.

Yet very few of the producers measure their sauces’ strength, which is calculated in Scoville Heat Units, or SHUs.

Keenen said the most popular sauce may be Endorphin Rush, a specialty item that one online reviewer described as “very sweet at the beginning and then it burns your mouth off.”

Whether for Cinco de Mayo, at your company picnic or the next fraternity reunion, here are a hot sauces that experts have selected as the most impressive. Meagher’s picks:

Dirty Dick’s: This is a hot pepper sauce with a tropical twist, blending habanero peppers, mango, pineapple, bananas, plus freshly ground spice.

Sweet Spicy Girl and Hot Spicy Girl: Delicious sauces with cunning names that entice with flavor and seem to be Meagher and his wife’s favorite. The couple use the adjective “fresh” 5 times to describe Sweet Spicy Girl.

Tom’s Roid-Rippin’ Hot Sauce:  The brand’s slogan is “Let One Rip!” Every sauce “is a delicious winner,” said Meagher, pointing out, however, that the company’s imagery may however be more extreme than “the amazingly good tasting sauces.”

Leah Somers of Hot Sauce World says her online shop sells a lot of Marie Sharp’s No Wimps Allowed Hot Sauce. But her picks for the weird, wry names are:

Asbirin Extra Strength!!! Hot Sauce: Ingredients include carrots, garlic and key lime juice as well as habanero peppers. One reviewer liked the pepper pulp but said it has “a tad too much salt.”

Camel Toe Hot Sauce: Made honey, mango, smoky chipotle peppers, it’s named after a raunchy parody of the Beach Boys’ hit Kokomo “so someone would remember when they tasted their first Camel Toe,” says Joe Turner, of Tahiti Joe’s Hot Sauces, the sauce’s maker.

Smack My Ass And Call Me Sally…: Feminists may cringe at this name, but the sauce certainly demands attention. On its label, the bottle has a man with bare behind marked with a hand print, and some Amazon reviewers say they bought it as a novelty then really liked its flavor.

Dave’s Gourmet 2013 Scorpion Private Reserve:  This sauce may work for collectors because of its price, around $21 to $30 a bottle, or about four to seven times as much as many others. It is flavored with chili extract,said to be extremely hot, and comes in a wooden coffin wrapped in caution tape.

Heat Hot Sauce Shop carries 300 varieties of sauce from all over the world. Here are Keenen’s offbeat named choices:

Heartbreaking Dawn’s Cauterizer: “Maybe my favorite sauce,” says Keenen, because of the upfront sweet fruity flavor from blueberries, apricot preserves, and honey followed by the heat of the Trinidad Scorpion pepper (which can reach over 2 million SHU) kicks in. “It has an awesome label, great flavor, and a serious kick.”

Ass Blaster: It’s a habanero sauce “with an extra kick from pepper extract.” The sauce, which Somer also suggested, comes in its own wooden house. While many customers laud the flavor and aroma, several wrote unhappy reviews saying that it was not shipped in the outhouse box.

Dr. Assburns: A vinegar-y jalapeño based sauce, “it doesn’t really live up to its name” in hotness, but it’s popular because of its great flavor, Keenen says.

Satan’s Blood: A blend of pepper extract and red wine vinegar, this sauce comes in a vial and looks like blood. The SHU on this sauce is 800,000.;  by comparison the original red Tabasco measures around 5,000 SHU

The Hottest Fuckin’ Sauce: This is another pepper extract based sauce with a SHU heat index at 1,000,000, but it’s not the hottest sauce in the shop. Made with Scotch bonnet and Habanero, it does, however,  make several hottest sauces lists.

Pure Evil: That’s the hottest—a 9.6 million SHU pepper extract bomb, for the daring.

If you prefer staying away from something so evil sounding, Keenan recommends what is perhaps the most popular in his shop: Lucky Dog. “People love the garlicky flavor and it’s good on everything,” he says. And if and your friends prefer hot sauces that come in packs, add Pretty Dog and Mad Dog to your enchiladas.

Follow Vickie on Twitter @WorkingKind. We welcome your comments at ideas@qz.com.

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