There’s a reason Tabasco Original Red Sauce has a place in kitchens and on dining tables across the country. It’s simple, has a tasty tang, and its heat builds well (but isn’t the overwhelming kind.) It gives you that slight tingle on your tongue and lips, but dissipates at a rapid pace, while the vinegar does its job leaving the insides of your cheeks screaming for more. It’s as straightforward as a hot sauce can get. Sure Tabasco’s original hot sauce is popular, but how does it fare in overall flavor and heat balance? We break this super-sauce down to check out how it performs.
The ingredient list for Tabasco Original Red Sauce doesn’t get much simpler: distilled vinegar, red pepper, and salt. That’s the beauty of it. The three things that make most hot sauces great are all there is. It’s the epitome of a Louisiana-style hot sauce – no frills, big vinegar flavor, and eatable heat.
In making Tabasco Original Red Sauce, the peppers are mashed and stored for 3 years in white oak barrels, then strained and mixed with distilled vinegar. It adds a bit of depth to the pepperiness of the sauce. That said, vinegar is still the forward flavor – outside of the heat (which we’ll get to in a minute) followed by the saltiness.
On the salt – It’s less than 2% of your daily intake per serving which is a lot less than some other Louisiana style hot sauces. For instance, Slap Ya Mama, another tasty Louisiana style hot sauce, is at 9% per serving. If you’re concerned on salt intake, Tabasco Original Red Sauce isn’t officially low-sodium, but it’s lower sodium than many hot sauce choices out there.
At first, the distilled vinegar in this sauce outshines the red pepper and salt, convincing you this is too weak of a heat. But give it a moment – Tabasco heat sort of sneaks up on you, builds as you eat more, but dissipates quickly.
There’s a medium kick here. Tabasco itself reports a Scoville heat range from 2,500 to 5,000 Scoville heat units (SHU). That aligns this sauce with the lower range of fresh jalapeño pepper heat (2,500 to 8,000 SHU). Tabasco uses tabasco peppers in its Original red sauce, and those range from 30,000 to 50,000 SHU. But, of course, the heat is well-diluted by the vinegar here.
The trick behind the heat is just how thin Tabasco is – you end up dashing it across a meal, so it permeates most every bite. The tingle of the peppers lingers on your lips and tongue, but it never lingers in a way that would stop you from dashing this sauce all over your plate. It’s a kick you want to return to over and over – very eatable and balanced.
I guess the question is, what doesn’t Tabasco Original Red Sauce work with? It mixes in perfectly with ramen, omelettes, nachos, steak, chicken… I mean, is there anything you can’t dash this on? No, which is why it’s carried in every restaurant you go to. It’s a staple for many – right next to the salt and pepper.
Frankly, this is the kind of sauce that would be weird not to have at home, especially if you’re a hot sauce fan. It’s been tried, tested, and proven. Tabasco Original is something the whole family can enjoy while also satisfying the true heat seekers at the table because of its build.
Collectible doesn’t come to mind when you see that Tabasco label. It’s not really a collectible, it’s just a must have. It’s a bottle everyone looks at and knows what to expect, which is just the right amount of vinegar to turn a regular old dinner into a party on your plate.
This bottle has a nostalgic feel, because they’ve stayed true to its original look for generations. When you see the label there’s always a blast from the past feeling because of how long Tabasco has been a go-to hot sauce for you and everyone you know. The label has a crisp, understated feel that reads, “We’ve been around a long time. We knew what we were doing back then and know what we’re doing now… and guess what? Nothing’s changed.” And that’s just fine by me. You can never go wrong with Tabasco Original Red.
There’s no surprise why Tabasco Original Red Sauce is a staple condiment. It’s as versatile as a hot sauce comes, with a delicious vinegar tang and very eatable heat. Hot sauce newbies and aficionados alike can enjoy it. (Amazon)