As some of you may know, in the competitive chili-head community I’m known as “Pepper Bae.”
I am League of Fire hero as well as a small batch maker of my own hot sauce, “Mojave Green Hot Sauce.” Also being a chef of over a decade, I’d like to think I know my way around a bottle of hot sauce.
Today I’m going list some of the top hot sauces from this past year (2022.) Some collaborations within the community, some of the best flavored hot sauces as well as some small batch up-and-comers you should be looking out for in 2023.
9/10 The Ghost of Saffron- High Desert Sauce company in collaboration with Brian Ambs is a straight.
This sauce hit the community and was an instant success. When you’ve experienced the flavor it’s easy to see why. A rush of roasted carrots, enveloped by a soaring accent of toasted cumin seeds with the delightful tickle of saffron, beautifuly brought together by apple cider vinegar and roasted tomato. Word spreads quick in the chili-head community and this one was like wildfire, the sauce has sold out multiple times and has even birthed a hotter version thats been released by Zach at High Desert as well. At this point i have yet to have something from High Desert and not be impressed by it.
10/10 and a 8/10
Fiesta Caliente and the Synergy- Rising Smoke Sauceworks.
Rising smoke has quickly become one of my favorite brands in hot sauce. They are always coming out with new sauces and are always innovating and refreshing old sauces. Fiesta Caliente is a beautifully balanced sauce. A rich blast of citrus and smoked habanero hits you, and the flavor goes right into a roasted bell pepper and onion garlic finish, this sauce on any protein when you’re going Latin is a must. this is one of those so good it’s gone in two meals or less bottles of hot sauce. When you buy from Rising Smoke always make sure you pick up a couple extra bottles. Another gem they had come out this year was their Synergy hot sauce. This very vinegar-based sauce is outstanding. Using unique flavor profiles of Mirin, caramel, ginger, agave syrup and a wonderfully flavorful red jalapeno pepper mash, this sauce is a unique ride and should be enjoyed as such. It is a match made in heaven anytime you’re using pork in your dish, the sauce seems to be made for that proteins flavor profile. This sauce is so good its drinkable and has you coming back for more time and time again.
Now were going to be heading into the small batch side of things. This is going to consist of sauces made in non-commercial batches. These are also known as cottage food runs and blow most of the mainstream sauces right out of the pepper patch.
9/10 Alpha and Omega- 7 pot soy sauce.
“Alpha and Omega” are well known in the chili-head community. Farmer J., is a talented sauce maker and heavy hitter in the capsaicin game and the brains behind A and O.
- Alpha and Omega have a delicious variety of sauces, but one that stands out time and time again is their soy sauce. A sauce made with lots of love and balanced flavor. It’s a great classic soy flavor with an envelopment of ginger, 7 Pot Primo Peppers, and a slight but noticeable sweetness. once having this sauce, sushi and dumplings just aren’t the same without this added umami flavor. Also they have come out with a couple different special edition batches, such as the, “Honey Boy Soy,” “Silver Creek Soy,” and the “UK Chili Queen” edition. All amazing with their own twist and uniqueness. Big things are coming from this company in 2023.
9/10 Pepper Fueled Dreams- Honey Chipotle BBQ
A delicious BBQ sauce from the producers of the “Honey Pot”, Brandon and Nikki over at Pepper Fueled Dreams are really a name to look out for this upcoming year. This BBQ sauce that they have out is hands down my favorite spicy BBQ to come out this year. BBQ sauce is one of the hardest to get right. In adding layer upon layer of flavor the complexity off mixing savory and dense sweet and getting a working yin yang when it’s all done that’s not only unique but compliments everything it’s put onto. This sauce imparticular is unique because of the “Honey Pot’ back round. The “Honey Pot” is a project that Brandon has been doing for three years now. People from all over the U.S. send him dried pepper powder of all different superhots and then its blended with gallons of honey and left to sit and gather flavor. This Honey Chipotle was created using some the honey and it is beyond description. The chipotle playing with the honey as if that combo was made for each other, its consistency is blended well and leaves a smooth and clean texture on your palette, while a lingering heat still makes you salivate after it finishes. Keep an eye out for this company, its headed in an amazing direction.
There you have it. my list of best sauces of the year in 2022. What an amazing year for sauces, can’t wait to see what comes out in 2023 and can’t wait to hit the spicy circuit this summer.