Hoff’s Smoken Ghost Hot Sauce Review

It’s all right there in the name of Hoff’s Smoken Ghost Hot Sauce. This is one smoky explosion — with (of course) ghost pepper and chipotle pepper big parts of the mix. It’s bold on flavor, but how does its heat balance compare? Does its spiciness meet the heat (and “ghost” right on the label?) And how usable is this smoky hot sauce? We dive into a bottle to give you all the details.

SUMMARY
Hoff's Smoken Ghost Hot Sauce
4.6
$12.99

Hoff’s Smoken Ghost Hot Sauce uses only seven ingredients, and four of those are chilies, ranging from chipotle to ghost peppers. Smoken Ghost does an excellent job showcasing the delicious natural flavors of these chilies here, smoky, earthy, and sweet. The label is a standout, too.

Heat Level: Upper--Medium
Pros:
  • Terrific use of natural pepper flavors
  • Exceptional art on label
  • Very usable
Cons:
  • Smoky flavor not for everyone (but well done for those that like it!)
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04/30/2022 01:02 am GMT

Table of Contents

Flavor

The ingredients list of Hoff’s Smoken Ghost Hot Sauce is only seven ingredients deep. But that’s not what’s surprising. Four of the seven are chilies. The ingredients: Red jalapeño, habanero, chipotle, ghost, salt, vinegar, and garlic.

Yup, that’s a lot of hot pepper right at the top. But it’s notable that ghost pepper comes fourth on this list. Red jalapeño and habanero appear to be the primary two chilies here. And that you can taste in the flavor profile. After, of course, those smoky chipotles.

Right up top, you do get the smokiness from the chipotle peppers, along with a touch of vinegar tang. The smokiness is delicious, but what’s even better is how it morphs into the sweet brightness from the red jalapeños and the fruity sweetness of the habaneros. It makes Hoff’s Smoken Ghost Hot Sauce more welcoming than you’d expect.

The ghost peppers add to that fruitiness as well (along with amping the heat). Altogether, this is a really nice showcase of the chili peppers in the sauce. There are few ingredients between you and their natural flavors. And this particular pairing (at the levels Hoff’s has them) works quite well.

Towards the back-end of the flavor, you get both a pungent earthy undertone (from he garlic) and a hint of saltiness. The garlic pungency maps very well to the smokiness and ties the entire hot sauce together. It’s a full ride of flavor, well-balanced from beginning to end.

On the salt: The sodium sits at 60 mg per teaspoon. It’s not low-sodium, but it isn’t particularly high either. The saltiness is just about right here. It adds to the flavor without being “the thing” you recall. Yet, I (a salt freak), don’t feel like I need to add more salt to a dish when Hoff’s Smoken Ghost Hot Sauce is used.

Hoff's Smoken Ghost Hot Sauce

Heat Balance

As mentioned, there are four chilies in Hoff’s Smoken Ghost Hot Sauce, ranging from low-medium heat (jalapeño and chipotle peppers) to extra-hot (habanero), and super-hot (ghost pepper.) The ghost pepper (and its roughly 800,000 to over a million Scoville heat units), is the fourth in line in the ingredients list, so it acts as supporting heat amplification instead of the primary source of spiciness.

Hoff’s doesn’t supply a heat range for its Smoken Ghost Hot Sauce, but I’d call it a substantial upper-medium heat. You feel it, but it’s not overpowering. Though it does linger for longer than I expected! I could still feel the spiciness on my tongue a good 10 minutes after my last bite. That’s some staying power.

For how well the flavor is balanced, this is an excellent level of spiciness. It adds to the eating experience without overpowering it. And it’s hot enough to warrant a “ghost” call-out on the label without being too extreme in the heat department.

Usability

As long as you like smoky hot sauces, you’ll have plenty of ways to use Hoff’s Smoken Ghost. That smokiness works so well with chili, burgers, grilled chicken, steaks, barbecue, eggs…and the list goes on. Hoff and Pepper (the company name) uses “your everyday hot sauce” on the label of all its hot sauces, and Smoken Ghost is definitely usable like one.

Hoff’s Smoken Ghost Hot Sauce has enough spiciness that it makes an exceptional add to mayonnaise to create a smoky, spicy sandwich spread. Or to use that fiery mayo as a dipper with chips. Yes, I’m that weird person who likes my Doritos with a mayo-based dip. Now my Doritos call Hoff’s Smoken Ghost their BFF.

The opening is the size of a nickel, which allows the sauce to pour easily, even with its medium thickness. And that thickness helps keep this hot sauce exactly where you place it on the plate.

Collectibility

I really love the look of Hoff and Pepper’s labels. Aaron Hoffman, the creator of Hoff Sauce, wanted an illustrated logo in his likeness, similar to how Colonel Sanders handled his KFC labelling. And, may I say, the artistry here is outstanding. It’s a bold portrait that’s edgy in black and white. Slightly menacing (fitting for a hot sauce) without being off-putting. I can’t help but be drawn into it.

This is the kind of styling that really helps set a hot sauce apart from the pack. You may not immediately “get” the drawing when scanning a line-up, but I can see a lot of double-takes happening with this hot sauce.

The Score

Hoff’s Smoken Ghost Hot Sauce uses only seven ingredients, and four of those are chilies, ranging from chipotle to ghost peppers. Smoken Ghost does an excellent job showcasing the delicious natural flavors of these chilies here, smoky, earthy, and sweet. The label is a standout, too.

FINAL SCORE4.6
Overall Flavor5
Heat Balance4.5
Usability4
Collectibility5
X-Factor4.5
Based on a scale from 1 (lowest) to 5 (highest)

UPDATE NOTICE: This post was updated on March 11, 2022 to include new content.
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Eric Cantwell

This is my favorite hot sauce. The flavor is perfect in my book, and it has the heat without trying to be an endurance contest that offsets the excellent flavor. The priority is flavor, but it still lets you know that this is a hot sauce. What can I say, the balance is perfect and the smokiness is right on the money. Wonder blend of peppers. The versatility of the sauce is also top notch. Any kind of breakfast casserole (ham, potatoes, cheese etc) is fabulous, but equally excellent for hot wings or ribs (add just a bit of sugar… Read more »