Texas Pete Pepper Sauce Review

Want a sauce that surprises just as much on the table as it does on your meal? Texas Pete Pepper Sauce is just that. With its hole green tabasco peppers filling the bottle and simple vinegar-forward approach, this is one memorable pepper sauce. How does it stack up? How well-balanced is the heat, and how do you use a sauce chock-full with whole chilies? Let’s dive into a bottle.

SUMMARY
Texas Pete Pepper Sauce (4-Pack)
4.5
$20.90

Tabasco peppers take center stage (literally) in Texas Pete Pepper Sauce. Whole fresh chilies are jam-packed in a bottle with a delicious infusion of vinegar, salt, and turmeric. It’s visually fun and tasty too. Plus, it's highly usable, from simple greens to Cajun food.

Heat Level: Medium
Pros:
  • Visually appealing (whole peppers in a clear bottle)
  • Simple ingredient, but plenty of flavor
  • Extremely usable
Cons:
  • Very high on sodium
  • Heat could vary depending on how long the vinegar has infused
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04/23/2022 12:52 am GMT

Table of Contents

Note: A moment on “pepper sauce” versus “hot sauce”. We approach them as the same at PepperScale: a spicy sauce made with chilies as a primary ingredient. There is some argument over a sauce like Texas Pete Pepper Sauce being a “true” hot sauce, but here it fits our meaning. We will use “pepper sauce” and “hot sauce” interchangeably in this review.

Flavor

Tabasco Pete Pepper Sauce’s ingredients list is as simple as the bottle looks. It’s simply: tabasco pepper, vinegar, salt, sodium bisulfite (preservative), and turmeric.

Just four ingredients — few hot sauces are less than that. Tabasco Original Red comes to mind (three ingredients) and, of course, Texas Pete’s Original Sauce sits at five. It’s as simple as simple gets, but Texas Pete Pepper Sauce sure does a lot with a minimal approach.

The flavor is all about that vinegar to start, but, even though this a visually transparent hot sauce, there’s more depth here than you’d think. The flavor starts strong, salty, and tangy, and it’s deliciously spiced on the backend. The turmeric provides an underlying earthiness (just a touch) and the peppers permeate throughout, both in heat and a light peppery freshness. It’s simple, yes, but refreshing and quite addictive. Frankly, you could label this as a spicy infused vinegar as well and be just as correct as calling it a pepper sauce or hot sauce.

On the salt: Texas Pete Pepper Sauce is very high in sodium, 121 mg per teaspoon. So, it’s up there in salt — 5% of your daily sodium allowance per teaspoon. If you’re watching your salt, this hot pepper sauce should be applied with care. Granted, the spout helps slow things down (more on that below) and a few dashes goes far in the flavor department.

Texas Pete Pepper Sauce on a spoon, with those fresh tabasco peppers in the bottle

Heat Balance

Fresh tabasco peppers have the same heat range as cayenne chilies, 30,000 to 50,000 Scoville heat units. That’s a strong medium heat, much higher than a jalapeño (2,500 to 8,000 SHU).

But, of course, in Texas Pete Pepper Sauce, there are a few things that curb that full spiciness from the hot sauce. First, the chilies are left whole in the bottle, so the capsaicin is slowly released through the pepper’s skin instead of being blended as you would have with a pepper mash. Second, just like any hot sauce, dilution among other ingredients tempers down the heat.

In this case, I’d label Texas Pete Pepper Sauce as a low-medium heat. It sits somewhere in the fresh jalapeño range of spiciness. And that spiciness feels perfect for this pepper sauce.

The heat warms up your tongue first, then spreads to the whole mouth and lingers for about five minutes. It’s never so spicy that you need to run for the milk. In fact, the spiciness never reached the back of the throat for me — it all stayed toward the front with a prolonged simmering sensation.

It’s a well-balanced flavor, but I could see how a lot would depend on how long you let those fresh chilies sit in the vinegar. The longer it takes you to use the sauce, the spicier it will likely become, so your experience may vary.

Usability

Texas Pete Pepper Sauce may now officially be the first hot sauce I reach for when I’m eating any green vegetable. Seriously, it’s that tasty on anything from fresh salads to green beans. In fact, I may now eat more vegetables than I ever have in my life just to use this pepper sauce more.

It was also very tasty on every Mexican dish I tried it on, bringing just the right amount of crave-worthy vinegar tang to the plate.

I could also see this working perfectly on any Cajun or Creole food. Texas Pete Pepper Sauce has that same upfront vinegar appeal that a Louisiana Hot Sauce has, and that works very well with those Southern dishes.

On the pepper to pepper sauce ratio: You may look at the bottle and say, “Geez more peppers than sauce here, how much am I getting?” True, the Texas Pete Pepper Sauce bottle is stuffed full of whole chilies — part of its collectible appeal, but it does impact usability.

But, think of this pepper sauce like a gift that keeps on giving. You can fill up your bottle again with more vinegar, some extra salt (to taste) and a little turmeric and let the fresh chilies do their thing once again! It’s an excellent way to prolong the value and usability of this pepper sauce. No, it won’t have the same immediate pungency or flavor, but it’s more than passable after a few days of infusion.

Lastly, on the spout: It’s the size of a toothpick, so Texas Pete Pepper Sauce acts like a dasher sauce, like a Tabasco spout. That’s good news to control how much you use, both for the overall sodium in this hot sauce and the overall limited amount in the bottle. You have more control, so you don’t go using it all at once.

Collectibility

The label has the original Texas Pete artwork, which is fun, but it’s something most everyone has seen. The standout experience is the look of all those fresh green Tabasco peppers that you can see through the glass. It really is a pretty sight and a total conversation piece on the table.

The Score

Tabasco peppers take center stage (literally) in Texas Pete Pepper Sauce. Whole fresh chilies are jam-packed in a bottle with a delicious infusion of vinegar, salt, and turmeric. It’s visually fun and tasty too. Plus, it’s highly usable, from simple greens to Cajun food.

FINAL SCORE4.5
Overall Flavor4.5
Heat Balance4
Usability5
Collectibility4.5
X-Factor4.5
Based on a scale from 1 (lowest) to 5 (highest)

UPDATE NOTICE: This post was updated on March 24, 2022 to include new content.
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