We would never want to actually judge this competition, but if you were to pit all the mass market hot sauces against each other in a taste test, the classic green nozzled sriracha sauce with the rooster on the label might very well come out on top. It's extremely versatile stuff, and offers heaps of complexity and flavors other than heat and vinegar tang.
Here's the thing people who don't like spicy food don't really understand: adding heat to your food, whether in the form of fresh chile peppers, their dried counterparts, or any number or cooked, mixed, and fermented chile-based condiments, is not just about upping the Scoville units. What the true piquancy people know is that chiles aren't just spicy, they're full of amazing, floral fruit flavors that you can't get anywhere else.
Often, the best way to add that can't-stop-eating-it peppery bite is in the form of prepared hot sauces. There are tens of thousands out there, too many of which are characterized only by heat levels and how much devil imagery they can fit on their labels. But hot sauce shouldn't be a dare. It's an invitation to a new world of flavor that can accentuate whatever its added to.
Skip that wrapping paper and put together a memorable gift crate for Father's Day. Here's a hot sauce filled wooden crate that will make you his favorite kid for yet another year.
As far as iconic food images go, the Sriracha rooster has gotta be in the top five. It's got all the style and positive associations of the product, but avoids the overt marketing images of a Tony the Tiger or Mr. Peanut or even the Kool-Aid Man. Oh yeah.
I love hot sauce as much as anyone...except my wife, who eats it on bread. We keep plenty around, particularly since I work from home and it helps transform my mishmash of fridge leftovers and pantry staples into a flavorful, work-at-your-desk breakfast and lunch (see also: smoked salt).
But, most are a variation on a theme: chiles, vinegar, spices. Some add a bit of garlic, or smokiness, or additional sweetness but most of the
My friend and collaborator Capree sent me this recipe for whiskey and sriracha-flavored homemade candies, with the comment, "some sorta ManMade somethin'." I was seriously intrigued, and followed up with "even though they're heart-shaped?"...mostly just to see what she'd say. I expected some kinda Valentine's Day comment, but she came back with:
The michelada is one of my favorite summer treats, and proof that beer is as solid of an ingredient for cocktails and mixed drinks as any distilled spirit.