Chilli sauces are the guitarist’s friend. The same endorphin rush that rewards parrots for their consumption and propagation of the chilli’s seeds lends a welcome boost to the hard-working guitarist and their diet of after-hours junk food.
Most are either too limp or too dependent on Habanero peppers which give plenty of raw heat and some perfume but little depth of flavour.
Anything with a name including ‘death’ or insanity’ is just for tourists seeking some one-off macho posturing, akin to the bottles of Midori that lurk at the back of the drinks cabinet for years. You know what I’m talking about….
Here’s my top dozen in rank order :
1 Cool Chile Company Chipotle Ketchup : fabulous taste, texture, flavour and heat. Eat with everything except Creme Brulee and mandarin jelly!
2 Tabasco Chipotle sauce : same bottles, similar heat to regular Tabasco but with the depth of Chipotles. Fab on chops & chicken.
3 The Excellent Eaton’s Scotch Bonnet Pepper Sauce. I don’t normally like Scotch bonnet sauces as the ratio of heat to flavour is way off for me, but this is an exception. Plenty of flavour.
4 Encona West Indian Original Hot Pepper Sauce : the regular one, not the one with added garlic, which tastes of metal. Brilliant in soups and stews.
5 Lingham’s Sweet & Spicy Chilli Sauce : the best of the Caribbean, hot but for a sweeter palate.
6 Pickapeppa : hard to find, even in Harlesden, but worth the hunt. Rich, flavoursome, slightly sharp. They also do a good brown sauce, though it’s no substitute.
7 Mr Vikki’s Max’s Urban Ketchup, as much a ketchup as a chilli sauce, great on chicken, steaks, sausages….
8 Kaitaia Fire : a new discovery courtesy of the New Zealand-owned Gourmet Burger Kitchen chain. This one’s from the Far North of NZ and is really flavourful, great on burgers.
9 Tabasco : still; one of the best, all down to the salt mined from beneath the chillis grown on Louisiana’s Avery Island, allegedly.
10 Smack My Ass And Call Me Sally : a good pouring sauce with a great name. Hi, Sal!
11 N’duja : ok, not a sauce, but a spreadable pork & chilli-based salami from Calabria in Southern Italy. Marvellous on toast, truly exceptional mashed into scrambled eggs.
12 Lea & Perrins Limited Edition Worcestershire Sauce : not a chilli sauce at all, rather extra-matured and stronger Worcester. Excellent straight out of the bottle, on steaks and Welsh Rarebit.
…sadly, the fantastic Jules & Sharpie range of chilli jellies – http://www.julesandsharpie.co.uk/home.php – is narrower after its acquisition by Thursday Cottage Ltd.