Tabasco Taste Test – The Whole Kit and Kaboodle

The highlight of my incredible press trip to Avery Island was undoubtedly the Tabasco tasting with Paul McIlhenny himself. The CEO of the company led us through a taste test of all of Tabasco’s 7 sauces, so we could delineate the exact flavors for ourselves. I took tastes, took notes, and took away the fact that I am a hot sauce lover.

This Sweet and Spicy Tabasco sauce is Tabasco’s mildest pepper sauce, using ingredients like pear and ginger to up the sweet and tangy aspects of the sauce. Mild and thick enough to use straight as a dip, it would be sensational on rice or in a stir fry. It would also be sensational on a pork loin set for the grill. The predominant tastes here were of coconuts, mango, and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. This is one of my favorite sauces.

The Buffalo Style sauce is a straightforward wing sauce base. It needs some melted butter and maybe some onion powder, but that is it. This is a very straightforward wing flavor, with smoky notes of tobacco in there, tempering the mild heat level with some pleasant bitterness.

The Green Jalapeno sauce has been a favorite for many years. Known as a milder version of the classic sauce, it has its own attributes that make it special  - namely, how very vegetal it tastes. The sauce is extremely fresh tasting, with notes of celery, green peas, and tomatillos in it. Tangy and fresh, there is some white pepper heat toward the sides of your mouth, but nothing too overt or painful. This would be a fantastic addition to a salad or coleslaw dressing, and would pair well with delicate proteins like citrus.

As a side note, the sauce is more yellow than green, but the Tabasco company chose to market it in a green bottle rather that put any artificial dyes in its product.

The Garlic sauce became the favorite of several of the other Tastemakers for its robust cayenne taste and thick texture. The garlic taste is pronounced enough to temper the heat of the cayenne with its own flavor,  making this perfect for Indian or Thai cuisine, where strong flavors dominate. This would also be dynamite for the grill, where the flavor would mellow and mingle with charred and smoky meat.

Chipotle Sauce has earned itself a huge following in the short time it has been on the shelves. This smokey, back-of-the-throat spicy hot sauce lends itself well to sweet and pronounced flavors. Prunes, figs, lamb, and duck would all be delicious paired with this sauce that is really more savory than it is spicy. It is particularly well geared towards Mexican dishes – duck enchiladas made with this would be incredible.

Original Tabasco sauce. Old faithful. What would morning eggs be without it? To say nothing of freshly shucked oysters, a slice of pizza, or a plate of nachos. This is an American classic. Next to the other flavors, its vinegary qualities are pronounced, showing itself as brighter and spicier than I had originally thought.

Habanero sauce

I believe I have already waxed poetic on this sauce. Next to the other sauces, it seems particularly inclined towards Jamaican food, with its bright, fruity heat that is firecracker hot but fades quickly.

One quick note about Tabasco – the company is very close knit. The company President, Tony, knew the name of every single person we met in the factory and the field. The senior VP, Took Osborn, went out of his way to take us searching for alligators and could not have been more enthusiastic about being part of the company. This wasn’t some put-on for out-of-town visitors. This was the honest-to-goodness excitement of people who believe in their products. And their belief made me a believer, too.

I had an incredible trip to Avery Island. I learned so much, ate so much, and came back with new inspiration to cook and create. Thank you so much to the Tabasco Company and Hunter PR for making this the event of a lifetime. I am now a die-hard Tabasco head.

*Disclaimer: This was a press sponsored trip. I was not required to write a post, and all opinions are my own and, I feel, unbiased.*

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