Gringo Bandito Original Hot Sauce has always been a go-to for me. It’s a thin, yet creamy red sauce, perfect for Mexican food, and always served with a side of song in my house. “Say what?!”, you say? Well, you need to play some Offspring while eating it right? After all, this sauce is made by Dexter Holland from Offspring fame. So, this sauce is tasty and has a cool background, but how does it stand up in terms of heat balance and everyday use? Let’s dig in.
Gringo Bandito Original has multiple peppers and one decent spice surprise in its ingredient list: Water, white vinegar, red Fresno peppers, hot yellow chili peppers, habanero peppers, onions, dried chilies, salt, garlic, achiote, spices, thickener (xanthan gum).
Vinegar, indeed, is the first flavor experience, but it’s soon followed up with that pepper mix. They provide a bright, peppery, and fruity taste that — with the onions and garlic — is sort of like a smooth salsa eating experience.
But perhaps the most intriguing ingredient on the list is achiote. It provides a deep red color when used in small amounts, but with more aggressive usage, it provides a delicious nutty, earthy, black peppery flavor. There’s definitely a hint of that earthy and peppery undertone, adding a nice layer of depth to the sauce.
In terms of sodium: 25 mg, or 1% of the daily allowance is where this hot sauce sits. We wouldn’t call it low-sodium, but it’s nowhere near as high as many hot sauce out there.
Let’s put it out there first. Gringo Bandito Original Hot Sauce is not a spicy sauce. Yes, it uses Fresno peppers (2,500 to 10,000 Scoville heat units) and habaneros (100,000 to 350,000 SHU), but it comes nowhere near those heights. Gringo Bandito Original packs 820 Scoville heat units total. That’s it. In the world of hot sauces, that’s about a low-medium heat, but in the world of fresh peppers it’s comparable to eating the mild poblano pepper (1,000 to 1,500 SHU.)
That said, this is a sneaky 820. It builds. And lingers. It doesn’t set off alarm bells, but over time you feel it. You taste the kick on first bite, but it seems no more than like a slight spicy tickle to start. A few bites later and you start to feel it in the back of your throat. The sting, to me, though isn’t the kind to make me stop. It’s like that level of heat that keeps hot sauce peeps craving for more.
One thing to note — this heat is low enough to start that if you mix it in sour cream or any other base, it’s a totally mild eating experience. No more than a hint of heat.
Gringo Bandito nails its usability in its marketing: It’s a versatile Mexican-style hot sauce that goes great on really any type of Mexican food. It’s so good with tacos and burritos. It’s killer on pizza, wings, and burgers. And it’s versatile enough that it can just sit on your counter next to your salt and pepper and get used every day. Truly you will want to try this on everything!
Gringo Bandito does come with a stopper, but honestly, you will shake this bad boy with vigor (possibly to the sound of your favorite Offspring track?) because you’ll want more than just dashes of this classic red.
Dexter Holland/Offspring fan? Gringo Bandito Original is obviously a collectible talking piece among your hot sauce collection. The label is cool, too. If you didn’t know the likes of Dexter Holland then you’d probably just think the cartoon character is a cool Gringo Bandito. But this is certainly a toon-version of Dexter with a side of Bandito, which makes it way more fun. It also incorporates the Mexican flag and its colors onto the label, giving it that authentic Tex-Mex kind of feel.
Gringo Bandito Original Hot Sauce doesn’t pack a big punch in the heat department, but with flavor like this it doesn’t have to. This is a delicious Mexican-style hot sauce that works well-beyond traditional Tex-Mex. (Amazon)