Sunday, April 28, 2013

Hot Sauce: Tabasco Smack Down



Let me start off by telling you what some may have already figured out: This competition isn't fair. The fix is in, the deck is stacked and all of the cards are marked. One of these things is not really like the other and it never had a chance.

Which one? McIlhenny's well-known Tabasco brand sauce, of course. Frankly, I've never cared for it as a sauce. It's thin, weak, and tastes more of vinegar than hot sauce. I use it to flavor soups and chilis. One look at the label will tell you why. The first ingredient in Tabasco brand pepper sauce is distilled vinegar, and a lot of it by the look and taste, which makes it more of a hot liquid seasoning than a hot sauce in my kitchen.

The first ingredient in Louisiana Gold brand tabasco pepper sauce, however, is red peppers and number two is tabasco peppers. Vinegar comes in third and Louisiana Gold uses spirit vinegar, which is distilled before the acetification process is finished, leaving a small amount of alcohol present and improving the flavor. The difference really comes through when you taste them side-by-side.


I know. A lot of hot sauces list water as the first ingredient, but the best I've found all list peppers first. There are exceptions, but not many. I don't know how much vinegar Tabasco brand uses over Louisiana Gold, but you can see the difference.

The Louisiana Gold has a full, rich pepper flavor that Tabasco just can't match. It's also thicker, so it doesn't run away from your eggs in the morning.

You can even see the difference.
Will I keep them both around? Of course. Each has its place. I wouldn't use Louisiana Gold in a chili or soup any more than I would use a fine aged tequila in a margarita when an un-aged 100% agave tequila will mix nicely.