You’ve no-doubt seen it. Often right near that ever-present Tabasco Red. Texas Pete Original Hot Sauce is nearly just as common on store shelves. And there’s good reason this Louisiana-style hot sauce is so popular — its balance between the fresh chili pepper flavor and vinegar tang is about as well-balanced as you can get. But how does it stand up in overall flavor and is it as usable as its hot sauce peers? Let’s get into a bottle of Texas Pete Original Hot Sauce and see what makes it tick.
The ingredients in Texas Pete Original Hot Sauce are simple: Vinegar, aged peppers (peppers, salt, vinegar), water, xanthan gum and benzoate of soda (to preserve freshness and flavor.)
That’s about as straightforward as a hot sauce can get — as you’d expect from a Louisiana-style hot sauce. Texas Pete relies on those aged peppers for its flavor. And the good news is it does a great job at fermenting those aged peppers to really bring them to life in this sauce. In fact, those peppers and the vinegar that leads the ingredients list are balanced so nicely that Texas Pete’s tastes much more robust than many other Louisiana-style hot sauces I’ve tried.
You taste that vinegar zing at first, but it’s not as strong as you get from Tabasco and other competitors. Really that delicious peppery flavor from the aged red peppers comes in a bit sooner than you would expect and lingers in all the right ways.
The thickness of this sauce is also just right. Most red sauces are pretty watery, but this one has a really nice spread to it, while still being on the thinner side.
I’m sure some of you know: A lot of Louisiana-style hot sauces like this are sky-high with sodium. Texas Pete comes in at 90 mg per teaspoon which is lower than some of its competitors (but not as low as Tabasco Original Red Pepper Sauce.) I wouldn’t call it low sodium, but you could do worse.
Texas Pete does provide a Scoville heat range for its original hot sauce: 340 to 740 Scoville heat units (SHU.) That puts it anywhere from mild to a low-medium kick in the world of hot sauces. As a comparison, Tabasco Original Red Sauce runs from 2,500 to 5,000 SHU and Louisiana Hot Sauce taps out at 450 SHU.
In terms of fresh pepper heat, Texas Pete is well below jalapeño level spiciness (2,500 to 8,000 SHU.) It’s also below the heat of a poblano pepper (1,000 to 1,500 SHU.) It’s more in the mild banana pepper level of heat (0 to 500 SHU), with the possibility for a touch more. If you can deal with banana peppers on a sandwich, you can handle Texas Pete Original.
As a taste test, I used about five to six tablespoons on a few bites of chicken, but it never got to a point where I needed to stop. The heat lingers for about a minute and then slowly dissipates without any harsh consequences. Because you can use so much of Texas Pete it can feel like its punch is a little bigger than its actual heat range, but really it’s a hot sauce the whole family can enjoy.
You’ll never want to eat any chicken again without Texas Pete at your table. In particular, it makes a perfect wing sauce, but it’s also great on eggs, pizza, and even ice cream. Yes, I love high-vinegar Louisiana red sauces like this on my vanilla bean ice cream! It gives it just the right kick to turn that boring vanilla scoop into a flavorful delight. Salty AND sweet? Sold!
It also works great as an addition to steak sauce. The consistency is thin enough (and the vinegar not as pronounced), so it’s easy to mix in to other marinades and sauces for a little more kick. Or you could ditch the steak sauce all together and just go straight for Texas Pete’s!
This hot sauce is about as “findable” as Tabasco, so it’s certainly not niche and unique in that way. But a few fun facts. Texas Pete Original Hot Sauce is actually not the first sauce that this family ever made. They were first known for their amazing BBQ sauce which came about in 1929. And the brand isn’t from Texas at all…rather North Carolina is where Texas Pete hangs his spurs.
It becomes even more interesting when you consider that Texas Pete Original is a Louisiana-style hot sauce. So many states have their hooks in this here sauce, it’s crazy. I find it to be a bit of fun history, and actually adds to the collectibility of a hot sauce that’s so prominent in stores.
The label is fun, too. It highlights the Texas cowboy side of the Texas Pete’s brand. It also shows off those red peppers and the red and yellow color scheme absolutely pops off the label. This is a hot sauce that screams, “TRY ME!” on the shelf.
Texas Pete Original Hot Sauce has everything you’re looking for in a classic, vinegar-forward Louisiana-style red hot sauce. It’s to the point, delicious, and unpretentious. The balance between the aged peppers and the vinegar is spot on. (Amazon)