Hot sauces gather cult followings like the ’79 flick The Warriors gathers viewers. Each of the best hot sauces has diehards that swear by their favorite bottle. And while it’s hard not to douse your favorite all over everything you eat, there’s a range of hot sauces out there waiting to be experienced. Knowing what they pair best with, however, can be mind boggling.
What goes best on your morning eggs? Is there one that is a must when it comes to fried chicken? Here to help you on your hot sauce quest, we selected six hot sauces and what to pair them with. Why only six? We know there’s a plethora of hot sauces out there to choose from, but the list had to end somewhere, and these are the celebrated, best hot sauces in their categories.
1. Cholula + Eggs
Cholula tastes good on everything, and I do mean everything. While its food pairing may be most associated with your tacos, burritos, and anything under the Mexican food category, it does something to your morning eggs that’s so good, you’ll want to weep. Okay, maybe you won’t weep – unless you get some in your eyes – but your taste buds will be dancing.
The base of arbol and piquin peppers with a blend of signature spices enhance breakfast tacos, breakfast burritos, huevos rancheros, eggs Benedict, and even basic scrambled eggs. Basically if it has an egg on it, top it with Cholula. The contrast of the mildly creamy, fatty flavor of eggs with the spicy notes and heat level in the flavor profile of Cholula is undeniably a symbiotic relationship living in harmony.
If you’re not a Cholula fan, you might consider Tapatio or Valentina for that same spicy Tex-Mex kick.
2. Crystal + Fried Chicken
A Southern sauce can only rightfully be paired with a Southern favorite. And that Southern favorite is fried chicken, a delicacy in America. This Louisiana-style hot sauce has a blend of aged cayenne peppers, distilled vinegar, and salt. Maybe it’s the peppers, maybe it’s the vinegar base, but man does Crystal add some zip to crispy, tender fried chicken.
The acid of the vinegar cuts through the grease while the cayenne adds the desired level of heat your fried chicken is in need of. Next time you have some good ol’ Southern fried chicken, be sure to grab a bottle of Crystal. Whether you’re in Texas, California, New York, or North Carolina, you can’t beat this combination.
3. Frank’s Red Hot + Chicken Wings
There was a time in my life when Frank’s Red Hot and buttermilk sauce were a must when it came to French fries. Now I’m not saying that combination still doesn’t ring true, but there is a better use out there for a bottle of Red Hot. And that use is chicken wings.
There’s a reason that Frank’s hot pepper sauce is a staple ingredient for buffalo wings and things like buffalo chicken dip. Frank’s aged cayenne pepper base has that extra kick meant for a basket of wings. The hot sauce cuts through the fat and brings the right amount of heat. A tangy blend of mild sweetness, vinegar, and spicy, Frank’s Red Hot is a chicken wings standard. Similarly, Texas Pete will get the job done, too.
4. Gator Hammock Gator Sauce + Oysters
Anytime I visit Florida, oysters and Gator Sauce are in order. Snagging a bottle from the market, we head on over to our favorite seafood shack and order up a plate of fried oysters.
The hot sauce has a thicker consistency that lies somewhere between the average hot sauce and cocktail sauce, making it perfect for a seafood pairing. Made fresh with aged cayenne peppers, vinegar, garlic, spices and “no MSG or artificial substances”, Gator Sauce was meant for oysters.
The mixture of heat and vinegar compliments the umami, fatty flavor of fried oysters in a way that only this sauce could. If you’re choosing fried oysters – or fresh, for that matter – then you need the bite of the Gator. Add a splash of lemon or lime juice, and you’ve got the perfect pairing.
5. Sriracha + Ramen
Have you ever tried to eat a bowl of savory ramen without Sriracha? It’s blasphemous. The thick chili hot sauce was made for ramen. Other hot sauces can easily get lost in the broth. Not Sriracha. One taste test comparison, and you’ll agree.
Sriracha has the right level of spiciness that won’t get washed out, nor overcome the bowl itself. With a base of chili pepper paste, vinegar, garlic, sugar, and salt, Sriracha only heightens the savory, umami flavors of your favorite ramen recipe. The rich pepper plant flavor in Sriracha unites the combination of a starchy broth and tasty proteins.
6. Tabasco + Bloody Mary
Tabasco undeniably has a fan base of diehards that swear by no other hot sauce. And while other hot sauce lovers may argue their own preferred brand, we can all come to agreement that this particular hot sauce was made for the Blood Mary.
Why is Tabasco so good with this particular cocktail? Because it only contains three ingredients: vinegar, peppers, and salt. When you’re doctoring up your Bloody Mary, there’s an array of flavorful ingredients added to the base of tomato juice and vodka. Worcestershire sauce, horseradish, and black pepper to name a few.
In this case, you need a hot sauce that will not only bring the heat, but compliment the spices and acidity of the tomato. Enter the Original Tabasco. A few dashes and your Bloody Mary is complete.
For all those daredevil pepper lovers out there chasing Scoville units, if you really want to set your Bloody Mary on fire then try using the newest edition Tabasco Scorpion Pepper Sauce. With over a million Scoville units, your Mary is about to get a whole lot spicier. It uses scorpion peppers, typically hotter that habanero peppers, but just slightly less painful than ghost peppers.
Need more heat? Check out our How to Pair Hot Sauce Guide along with 23 Hot Sauce Recipes That You’re Not Ready For.
Watch: The World’s Hottest Pepper Can Kill You