Let’s not mince words here. I love a sauce that can deliver both sweet and heat. There’s just something about that flavor combination that drives my taste buds wild. Plenty of sauces on the market claim to deliver in both areas. Unfortunately, many of them fail, either because they lack a good flavor, fail to present a suitable heat level, or both. Thankfully, Volcano Sauce, originally made by Tom Tiberii at his own restaurant, lives up to its word and reputation as a Scovie Award-winning sauce.
Red Chili, Sugar, Water, Garlic, Vinegar, Salt
Now that’s an unassuming list if I’ve ever seen one. The sugar as the second ingredient certainly promises some sweetness, and red chili sits as the top component, so there’s good reason to be optimistic about this particular sauce. I usually don’t like seeing water as a primary ingredient in a sauce, since I don’t want diluted heat or flavor, but that isn’t a problem for this sauce.
This sauce, which features a fairly basic label containing a volcano and a pepper, certainly lives up to its name in terms of appearance. Beyond the boring label is an appealing reddish-orange sauce, one that is replete with chili seeds. That’s a good sign. Volcano Sauce has about a medium viscosity, which is perfect, though it does make me wonder what the sauce would be like without the water.
Smell and Taste:
There’s a definite sweet smell there, an aroma that is fully supported by the spicy smell from the peppers. Honestly, it smells a little bit like candy. And if there were candy that went well on top of a burger, that’s probably what this would taste like, too. The sweet and heat work in perfect harmony in this sauce, leading to a product that is unexpectedly delicious and versatile.
Though not terribly hot at first taste, Volcano Sauce sneaks up on you with a Mean heat. It’s not insanely spicy, but I can imagine it overwhelming people who have a weaker constitution for spicy foods. The problem (or the beauty, depending on your perspective) is that this is one of those sauces that begs to be poured all over a dish. The Notable flavor temporarily hides the Mean heat, so be careful how much you use!
During this time of the year, any hot sauce I eat must pass the Tamale Test. The Tamale Test is quite simple. I buy some tamales, and I proceed to pour copious amounts of a hot sauce on top of said tamales. If the resulting flavor combination is delicious, the sauce passes. Volcano Sauce might just have the high score on that test. It’s as if this sauce had been made with tamales in mind. But don’t stop there! Try this stuff on jalapeno poppers, chicken wings, burgers, and anything else that could use a sweet flavor and a spicy kick.