Holy Honey Badger. This honey mustard hot sauce carries a serious kick. And it’s not a complete surprise as Torchbearer Honey Badger Hot Sauce uses a pair of super-hot peppers among its ingredients. It’s real hot, but is there enough honey mustard flavor here to match and balance that heat? And how about usability? Is it versatile enough to find a spot in your hot sauce rotation? Let’s look this Honey Badger right in the eyes and see what it’s made of.
Sweet tangy heat. Three words cover a lot of ground when explaining Torchbearer Honey Badger Hot Sauce. Nearly every ingredient in this bottle fits with one of those adjectives: Apple cider vinegar, scorpion pepper, honey, distilled white vinegar, water, canola oil, brown sugar, mustard powder, Carolina Reaper pepper, white sugar, cayenne pepper powder, black pepper, turmeric, mustard seed, grand chelated garlic, salt, and garlic.
Those scorpion peppers are listed way up there in the list, so it’s no surprise they dominate your initial bite. It’s all about the big heat…at first. But then the tang from apple cider vinegar and white vinegar kicks in. The honey mustard sweetness here is a trailing flavor. It might take you a few bites of Honey Badger Hot Sauce before you get over that intense heat and initial tang so that you can really experience that sweetness.
When that sweetness does hit (if you’ve managed the spiciness), it’s such a perfect foil to that heat on the back-end. It’s sweet, but not overwhelming.
You do get a little of that garlic and salt towards the end of the eating experience, but they are certainly not primary flavors. In fact, Honey Badger Hot Sauce only has 30 mg of sodium per teaspoon serving (1% of your daily value). That’s relatively low-salt, particularly since most people who are not true heat seekers won’t use but a few drops of this sauce at a time.
Two bad boys of the Scoville scale star in Honey Badger Hot Sauce: scorpion peppers and Carolina Reaper. That’s a true one/two punch of fresh pepper hotness. Scorpion peppers are the main chili here, as you can see from where it sits in the ingredient list. Carolina Reaper is more part of the chorus with this sauce.
Fresh scorpion peppers range from 1.2 million to 2 million Scoville heat units and Carolina Reaper ranges from 1.4 million SHU to 2.2 million SHU. For perspective: Fresh jalapeño peppers run from 2,500 SHU and 8,000 SHU. Short: Honey Badger has legit heat.
That legit heat, of course, is diluted amid other ingredients. But it’s still punching way into the extra-hot level of hot sauces (and bordering on super-hot for a hot sauce): roughly 99,000 SHU. That puts it real close to the heat of the mildest possible fresh habanero pepper (100,000 to 350,000 SHU.) Comparing it to another scorpion pepper hot sauce, Tabasco Scorpion, Honey Badger Hot Sauce is nearly double the Scoville heat units (50,000 to 99,000 SHU.) Torchbearer isn’t pulling its punches.
The heat hits you upfront and comes on quick. And it sticks around, lingering for a few minutes even with just a single bite. I can use up to about three tablespoons with my meal, any more than that and my tongue will be burning a little bit more than I would prefer. But hey, I like things reasonably hot. If you aren’t a heat seeker, expect a much lower threshold.
Overall, it’s a reasonably good heat to flavor balance. The flavor isn’t particularly complex, but it’s big enough to stand up to and even complement the spiciness.
This is definitely a sauce for true heat lovers, so if you tend to wimp out at Sriracha or Tabasco levels of spiciness, go super-easy here. Its heat does limit its usability some. Don’t be fooled by “honey mustard” on the label. Look below it and take note of the word “killer”.
Now if you love extra-hot spiciness, you’ll get a decent amount of mileage out of Honey Badger Hot Sauce. It works well with all the classic things that you’d use with honey mustard sauce. Chicken nuggets? Check. Sandwiches? Check.
I also loved it on every potato dish I tried it with, and it was a surprise winner with carne asada tacos.
Really, you’re limited to the same limitations of any honey mustard. If it doesn’t work with the no-heat condiment, then it definitely won’t work with Honey Badger Hot Sauce either.
Few hot sauce brands are as reliable as Torchbearer when it comes to flavor and style. I love that the company was started by three guys (Vid, Ben, and Tim for those playing hot sauce Trivial Pursuit) who just happened to have lots of extra habaneros in their gardens that they didn’t want to waste. It’s a great “let’s make a band” moment.
Honey Badger Hot Sauce doesn’t miss a mark when it comes to its packaging. Seriously, Torchbearer makes other hot sauce brand labels look like a snooze fest. It’s bold, fun, and unique. Not only can you collect these for the taste, but they look like a fantastic little comic book strip when they’re all lined up on your shelf.
My only “itsy” is it’s easy to get lured into this sauce’s honey mustard allure because the label undersells the heat some. Yes, “killer” is right there, but it feels separate — like it could simply be describing the cartoon character on the label. It’s a small thing, but I could see more than a few being really surprised with their first bite.
Torchbearer’s Honey Badger Hot sauce pairs big extra-hot spiciness with tangy and sweet honey mustard taste. The heat and flavor are well-balanced and Torchbearer’s packaging is always a blast. Take care: this one is hotter than you’d expect!