Bold Taste. Bold Heat.
Don’t be lured in by the cartoon alligator on the label to thinking this is some mild mannered mix. Gator Bite hot sauce by Pepper Palace will bite…and bite hard. Its mix of smoky sweet habanero pepper and cayenne, along with gritty Cajun spices, has surprising depth. There is big heat in a bottle, too, so be ready for its teeth.
The test food: Gator on gator action
Where best to try Gator Bite hot sauce than a place that serves actual gator bites? We took it for a spin at one of our favorite local South Florida seafood eateries – Catfish Deweys – who have this swamp delicacy on the menu. If you’ve never had gator, think calamari with a little less chew and a little more meat. Catfish Deweys deep fries their gator bites to a golden brown – perfect for some hot sauce action.
The flavor: Cajun hot sauce all the way
You can taste the Cajun roots through and through with Gator Bite hot sauce. It’s tomato and vinegar based, and while only “spices” is mentioned on the label, you can tell its a mix of Cajun spices, along with the black pepper, onion, and garlic listed to fill out the ingredients. The sauce starts with a vinegar tang, but quickly evolves into a smoky, gritty punch.
This is not a 100% smooth sauce. There is a real grit to it, too from the onion, garlic, and black pepper. It adds nicely to the flavor before the sauce hits into the smoke and heat.
The heat: Hot, hot, hot….
The chili pepper base of this sauce is habanero, so it’s going to kick you around. Habaneros weigh in at 100,000 – 350,000 Scoville heat units. Jalapeño peppers (2,500 – 8,000 SHU) don’t come close. Cayenne pepper even – the second chili in this sauce – is nowhere near the heat, at 30,000 – 50,000 SHU. Of course, the habanero heat is diluted in any sauce – and it’s not quite as hot as some habanero hot sauces we’ve had – but there’s still real spiciness here. This is not a hot sauce for the mild palate – it’s called Gator Bite after all for a reason.
The heat hits after a few seconds of eating the sauce, and lingers for a few minutes. It’s not so hot as to burn out the depth of Louisiana flavors here, which we appreciate. We like our hot sauces to be hot with flavor, not so hot as to kill any taste. The heavy dose of Cajun spices helps with this. There’s big spice to match the big heat, and that’s needed when you are using chilies at the upper end of the Scoville scale.
Usability: Wimpy foods need not apply.
This isn’t a hot sauce to use on every-day foods, unless of course you are looking to simply taste Gator Bite’s Cajun spices. The heat and strong flavors of the sauce will overpower most lighter, less-rich foods. This is a hot sauce for steaks, flavorful gumbos, fiery barbecue, and deep-fried foods. Lesser foods will be eaten alive.
We found our gator bites season with Gator Bite hot sauce to be a very good match. The fried breading and meatier seafood stood up well to this hot sauce.
If you love Cajun spices and can withstand a full-bodied hot sauce with heat and grit, Gator Bite hot sauce has a lot going for it. There’s a lot of flavor here with a heat just as bold. Want to give it a try? Pick one up online at Pepper Palace.