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January 18th, 2012 RUTH BROWN | Food Reviews & Stories
 

Burning Down The Mouth

Road-testing five Portland hot sauces.

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Yeah, yeah, you love Secret Aardvark. We know. But there’s a whole grocery shelf of locally made hot sauces out there just waiting to burn your face off. We put five to a blind taste test using crackers and cukes.

Thai and True Sarachee Hot Sauce 9 ounces
“It’s not very hot, but it’s sweet and really good.”
“I would eat this on just about anything.”
“It’s like someone combined sriracha and some of that Thai chicken sauce and combined them.”
Use it on: Hot wings, rice, noodles.

NW Elixirs #1 Hott Sauce 9 ounces
“Watery, watery, watery.”
“A whole lotta clove. It’s really off-putting.”
“It tastes like chai. I feel like I’m in Townshend’s tea shop right now.”
Use it on: You got us.

Flameboy XXX Hot Sauce 7 ounces
“Way too vinegary for my tastes.”
“It’s super smoky.” 
“It’s a real back-of-the-throat burn.”
Use it on: Eggs, pulled pork.

Portland Pepper Sauce Red Pepper Sauce 5 ounces
“I want to know if that’s artificial color, it’s an amazing color.”
“It’s good, kinda sweet.”
“This would be a great cocktail hot sauce, or if you’re just looking for something to keep on your table because you’re a capsaicin addict.”
Use it on: Bloody Marys.

Secret Aardvark Habanero Hot Sauce 10.5 ounces
“Thick!”
“I think this has a depth of flavor the others don’t.”
“My face hurts.”
Use it on: Pizza.

Best: The overall favorite was Thai and True. Though not exactly a traditional hot sauce, most agreed they would happily use it in place of one. For a more everyday condiment, Portland Pepper Sauce also had some strong supporters.

Hottest: Flameboy.

Best bottle: Flameboy’s hip-flask shape and retro label was a standout, with all agreeing it was the sauce they would most likely give as a gift for that reason. For practicality, the squeeze bottles and thin spouts of Thai and True and Secret Aardvark came up trump. 

 
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