Slap Ya Mama Cajun Pepper Sauce is made in Ville Platte in Louisiana’s Evangeline Parish, which makes it about as authentic as you can get when it comes to Cajun cooking. It was invented by Anthony Walker, who ran the family’s deli. According to the Slap Ya Mama website, he wanted a seasoning blend that had the authentic Cajun flavor without the high salt content found in nationally-distributed brands. He couldn’t find one so he set to work making his own version. So is the hot sauce the same ingredients as the seasoning? Let’s break down this hot sauce ingredient by ingredient.
Ingredients in Slap Ya Mama Cajun Pepper Sauce
The label lists the following:
- Aged pepper mash
- Xanthan gum
- Other spices
The peppers in Slap Ya Mama
The peppers in Slap Ya Mama are listed on the label as “aged pepper mash” but there is no mention of the specific pepper type. Since this is a Louisiana style hot sauce, it is safe to assume that the pepper is either cayenne pepper (likely) or tabasco. Both are commonly used in this type of hot sauce. For example, Tabasco sauce uses tabasco peppers as you might expect; Crystal Hot Sauce uses cayenne. Tabasco and cayenne peppers both score in the 30,000 to 50,000 range on the Scoville scale, but Slap Ya Mama Cajun Pepper Sauce is much milder; its Scoville rating has been measured to be in the 1,000 to 3,000 range. This places it at a similar level of heat as Tabasco Sauce, Tapatio Hot Sauce and Trappey’s Louisiana Hot Sauce.
It is worth noting that unlike many other Louisiana hot sauces, Slap Ya Mama has pepper as the first thing on the ingredients list.
The peppers in Slap Ya Mama Cajun Pepper Sauce have been aged, which means that they have been fermented. Fermentation gives the peppers a deeper flavor while also increasing their acidity.
The other ingredients
After pepper, vinegar is next on the list. Vinegar provides the characteristic tang found in Louisiana-style sauces. While Slap Ya Mama has a lower proportion of vinegar, it is still enough to give the sauce a pleasing acidity. Salt is next; it helps to enhance the flavor.
Xanthan gum is a thickener and stabilizer that is derived from grain. It provides a thicker texture for the sauce while also emulsifying it to prevent separation.
Next on the list is garlic, a crucial component in Cajun cooking. After garlic, the label lists “Other Spices.” The spices that follow are the same as those in the Slap Ya Mama Cajun seasoning. They are:
- Red pepper
- Black pepper
This is the same combination of spices found in other famous Creole spice blends including Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning and Zatarain’s Creole Seasoning.
Why is it that Slap Ya Mama Cajun Pepper Sauce has no artificial preservatives?
The short answer is that it doesn’t need them. There is little in the sauce that needs preserving and several of the ingredients act as preservatives. The increased acidity of fermented peppers creates an environment that is unfriendly to bacterial growth. That acidity is enhanced with the addition of vinegar. Furthermore, the capsaicin in the peppers has also been shown to have preservative qualities in that it can inhibit the growth of certain fungi and bacteria. Salt is also considered an effective preservative since many microorganisms are unable to survive in a highly saline environment.