Today, the grandaddy of American hot sauces, Tabasco, rolled out two new additions to their sauce family Tobasco Roasted Red Sauce and Tabasco Scorpion Sauce. The two represent different ends of the hot sauce spectrum. Roasted Red is very mild. The taste is more smokey with a touch of balsamic than the familiar chili-vinegar hit of the original Tabasco—the company recommends using it for "grilling meats, seafood sauces, and soups." But Scorpion Sauce is much, much hotter than the original red, and even hotter than the former hottest offering from Tabasco, their habanero sauce. Tabasco calls it "the hottest sauce available from the McIlhenny Company," and they are really serious about it.
The Extra Crispy team puts hot sauce in everything from orange juice to oatmeal, so naturally, we had to try the two new flavors, which are available to visitors at the company's store on Avery Island, Louisiana, as well as on the Tabasco website starting today. The best way to taste hot sauces that are as hot as the Scorpion sauce, which Tabasco claims is nearly twenty times hotter than the Original Red Sauce, is with both caution and a lot of dairy on hand. (A protein called casein in dairy binds to the capsaicin in hot sauces and chili peppers, helping relieve the burn—it's why adding yogurt to a spicy meal or chasing chili with milk is way more effective than using water.) The experts at Tabasco prefer a healthy spread of unsalted better on a cracker to taste the hot sauce without getting walloped in the face by how spicy it is. (Also, hot tip: If you ever have to take a shot of hot sauce, hide a pat of butter in your mouth and it'll make the experience marginally less horrible.)
Your mileage may vary, depending on how much you like spiciness and very hot hot sauces, but Scorpion sauce definitely delivers. It's very spicy, but after you get past the heat, it's also pleasantly fruity and a little bit sweet. I'm not about to go slathering this all over my sandwich just yet, but as an addition to a dish, it'll definitely bring some flavor and head. The Roasted Red was also a welcome addition to the old sauce shelf, though it might even be stretching to call it spicy at all. It's more of a savory note. It seems like it would make a great salad dressing or a marinade, but probably not something you'd add to red beans and rice. The sauces are available for a limited time only so hot sauce heads, grab 'em while you can.