The following article appeared on Big Wayner’s BBQ Blog (available here) on December 15, 2012.
Like many bbq cooks, when I’m not eating smokey bbq, I love to push my taste buds to the extreme with a good hot sauce. When the good folks at Tabanero Hot Sauce sent me a couple bottles to review, I was very excited!
Label: Verbiage on the safety-seal says “Voted The Best”. I’m not sure by whom but it does make me feel like I’m consuming a sauce validated by some entity. Love the black, shield-shaped background adorned with chili peppers. Smart looking label. Here I want to point out the ingredient list…Select Habanero Peppers, Carrots, Onions, Key Lime Juice, Agave, Garlic, Salt and Grapefruit Seed Extract. Talk about all natural!!! Wait, there is no vinegar???
Heat Level: With habanero peppers listed as the first ingredient, I thought this was going to be a head-sweater. But, surprisingly the heat was tamed by the other ingredients. It still had a nice back-end burn, but not so much as to overwhelm the other flavors.
Taste: I like my hot sauces to have flavor not just heat. Tabanero brings the whole package…heat and taste. I took a hit straight from the bottle (after shaking as directed…this is an all-natural product!) Immediately, a fruity, citrus burst hits the tongue. Usually what follows in most sauces is that harsh vinegary twang. That is noticeably missing here…and that is a GOOD thing…because it just isn’t needed. Vinegar would overtake the other ingredients. Tabanero Hot Sauce tasted great straight from the bottle, but how about a couple of realistic applications. I tried in in chili, in nacho cheese dip and mixed with a spicy jelly on some chicken wings.
It spiced up the chili nicely and gave it a bright, fresh taste. The nacho cheese dip received a nice jolt of flavor which added to the already caliente heat level. But, Tabanero Hot Sauce was made for wings. It blended beautifully with the pepper jelly to form a gooey, spicy glaze that made the wings sing. Alone or mixed in a little sauce, chicken wings + Tabanero = heaven!
Conclusion: Some hot sauces have flavor and not heat, some sauce have heat but little to no true flavor. Tabanero gives you both in an all-natural, vinegar-free sauce. I like their philosophy almost as much as their sauce. and I highly recommend giving this tasty condiment a try.