Hot sauces have seen a growth in popularity recently, especially as people in the West become aware of super-hot chili peppers like the Bhut jolokia (ghost pepper), Naga Viper, and Carolina Reaper. Hot sauce is nothing new but the extreme pungency of the super-hot chilies is, at least as far as Western (and many Eastern) palates are concerned. If you are a fan of spicy heat, you won’t have any trouble coming up with ways to use up hot sauce; however, you may need some ideas if you are stuck with a hot sauce that is too spicy. Using up extra hot sauce — especially the very hot varieties — can be tricky since you run the very real risk of making your food impossible to eat. Here are some of the best ways to make use of extra hot sauce:
Add it to your Bloody Mary cocktails
Bloody Mary fans will tell you that the drink is greatly improved with the addition of heat, which is why Tabasco sauce is a staple ingredient in many recipes. If your extra hot sauce is particularly hot, you can ratchet up the heat considerably without making the drink taste mostly like hot sauce.
On grilled foods
Anyone who has ever tried to make something spicy on a grill will tell you that capsaicin’s heat does not always hold up well to open flame cooking. For example, chili powder in a dry rub will leave a little heat. It‘s find if a little heat is all you want. If you want real heat, your best bet is to add a large number of Scoville heat units (SHUs) to a marinade. A hot sauce will soak in rather than simply sit on the surface.
In salad dressings
Hot sauces are great for spicing up a salad dressing. They work equally well in creamy dressings like ranch and thinner dressings like vinaigrettes. Not only can your leftover hot sauce add heat and acidity to a salad dressing, but it can also give it an attractive color as well.
Spiciness works well with the creaminess of hummus, which is why chili oil is an ingredient in many recipes. The acidity that you get from most hot sauces will work well too. You can use your extra hot sauce to add heat and to replace or increase the acidity that hummus would otherwise get from lemon juice.
For making buffalo wings
Standard buffalo wings are made with mild hot sauces like Frank’s Red Hot or Texas Pete. Those hot sauces are responsible for the distinctive color and flavor but you can replace them with pretty much any other hot sauce. For example, you can put aside the mild red sauces and use a high-SHU hot sauce if you want truly hot buffalo wings. Note that many of the hottest hot sauces lack the classic bright red color, which means that your buffalo wings are more likely to be yellowish or orange.
The acidity in that extra hot sauce can complement the flavors in many chili recipes quite well. It may be tempting to “dash away” into that big pot, but we do recommend, instead, a more even-handed approach. Super-hot hot sauces, especially, can sneak up on you in terms of heat. Another option is to simple serve a bowl of chili with the hot sauce on the side so each eater can control the amount they add.