If you love yourself a fresh peppery Louisiana-style hot sauce with a vinegar zing, then Gator Hammock Gator Sauce may be your new go-to utility sauce. That’s right, I said utility because it doesn’t have an overbearing heat, but it gives you just the right amount of fresh peppery taste to make this a universally usable hot sauce. So, it’s “user-friendly”, but does that mean a super-star in terms of flavor? And is the eatable heat balanced as a whole? We bite into Gator Hammock Gator Sauce to see what’s inside.
So, you know what you’re getting into just from the first ingredient on Gator Hammock’s ingredients list: Louisiana-style hot sauce (aged cayenne peppers, distilled vinegar, salt and xanthan gum) distilled vinegar, water, garlic, salt, cayenne pepper, crushed red pepper, black pepper, onion powder, celery seed.
So looks like they top that Louisiana-style hot sauce with more Louisiana-style goodness (vinegar, cayenne) and top it all off with more spices to bring some depth to the typically vinegar-forward flavor of Louisiana-style hot sauces.
That said, this is definitely a vinegar forward sauce. But it adds just enough garlic that you’ll taste it at the forefront too. You can also tell that Gator Hammock played with the balance between the peppers and vinegar in this sauce. It has a little more peppery zing than most Louisiana hot sauces. You can taste the cayenne pepper and crushed red pepper with every bite, and see it through the bottle as well.
As to the other spices: I don’t know about you, but I love the taste of onion powder. I use it all the time when cooking, and I really love how it works into this sauce. It’s not a primary flavor here, but it adds depth (as do the other spices.) The celery seed in this is an afterthought, but it definitely adds in a bit of tanginess on the back end.
From the second Gator Hammock hits your tongue, you taste a combination of all these flavors. And there’s no lingering aftertaste. The flavor is so clean, bright, and warm that you just want to snuggle up to it for a while, but to make it last you have to keep layering it up. And with every bite you take, you can taste every single ingredient.
A quick note on sodium: Gator Hammock Gator Sauce rings in at 105 mg per teaspoon, so it’s very high on salt. You guys know me, I have zero issues with that because it just means I don’t have to layer up my food with salt. Gator Hammock already took care of that for me. But for those watching your salt intake, careful here. You’ll want to use this sauce a lot, so the sodium adds up.
Gator Hammock Gator Sauce has some bite, but it’s not a big one. The brand doesn’t list the Scoville heat units (SHU) for the sauce, but around the web, the range is commonly 10,000 to 50,000 SHU. That’d put it in the range from fresh serrano to fresh cayenne heat. That feels high, especially given the cayenne here is watered down and there are no hotter peppers in play to elevate the heat. And the crushed red pepper will only add so much.
To me, this is a moderately mild sauce with a spiciness most can enjoy. The heat hits your tongue for a couple of seconds before it fully dissipates. You’ll get that pepper kick at the top, but because it only warms up your tongue slightly you’re able to go back for more right away. Think of it more like a low-to-medium fresh jalapeño pepper level heat (2,500 to 8,000 SHU) — a touch more than Tabasco Original Red Sauce (2,500 to 5,000) but there’s possibility that it’s a little more.
This level of spiciness here is not a bad thing, as it really adds to the utility of this sauce. It simply improves your food, adding to the experience. Gator Hammock doesn’t drown out the flavors of your food, rather it floats above it adding just the right amount of peppery tang that everyone loves.
Utility, utility, utility. Did we mention utility? Like other Louisiana-style hot sauces you can literally use it on everything. It’s great on eggs, in soup, with seafood, and even as an addition to your cocktails!
This does make a great addition to Bloody Mary mix, especially thanks to the sodium in this. It’s a great way to start a lazy Sunday. I also used this as a marinade for my BBQ shrimp, and it gave it just the right amount of peppery tang that I didn’t even lose any of the flavor when grilling it.
From a quality perspective, for anyone who loves a Louisiana-style hot sauce, Gator Hammock Gator Sauce is definitely a must-have. Not only can everyone in the family try this, but it also goes great with everything.
The label, too, makes this a special sauce. It feels invitingly rough and hand-drawn, and it draws you in with its bright orange and green colors over a field of white. The gator and palm trees all scream Louisiana, so you know what you’re getting too. It’s a great label. It doesn’t feel slick and processed- rather it feels homey and inviting.
Gator Hammock Gator Sauce is a delicious, amped up Louisiana-style hot sauce. It’s incredibly versatile in the kitchen, and it has a fun hand-drawn label style that pops in any collection. (Amazon)