I’ll be pulling double duty for a few weeks of Fiery Friday, so that means you’ll get posts in the morning and the evening. That’s great, because I’ve got a lot of products to burn through, and I’m getting things started with the Original flavor in Rocky’s Hot Sauce lineup. I affectionately call this the “Jesus Sauce,” since Rocky looks so much like the Western world’s depiction of said religious figure. What we need to find out, though, is whether Rocky’s Original can hit that heavenly combination of great heat and delicious flavor that consumers crave.
Hot Sauce (aged cayenne red pepper, distilled vinegar, water, salt, garlic powder), Honey, Worcestershire Sauce (distilled white vinegar, molasses, water, sugar, onions, anchovies, salt, garlic, cloves, tamarind extract, natural flavorings, chili pepper extract), Butter, Garlic, Natural Flavors, Onion Powder, Cayenne Powder, Xanthan Gum, Capsaicin Extract
This list is interesting for a few reasons. First, Rocky’s lists a bog-standard hot sauce recipe as its first primary ingredient, then follows that up with what is practically a recipe for Worcestershire Sauce (And why are there anchovies in Worcestershire Sauce? That seems unnecessary, but I digress.) The rest of the ingredients list contains things that you’d expect to find in a hot sauce, though the last ingredient does surprise me a little. It’s been quite some time since I reviewed a sauce that featured capsaicin extract. Thankfully, extract is not one of the major components in Rocky’s Original, but I do wonder what effect it will have on the flavor and taste.
If you’ve ever seen a standard red-orange hot sauce (and if you’re reading this, you most assuredly have), you know what Rocky’s looks like. In terms of consistency, this one is a little thick, and a night of leaving it in the refrigerator has made it a little difficult for me to get it out of the bottle. That’s not a complaint, though.
Smell and Taste:
Frankly, I don’t get much different out of this product’s scent. There is a bit of a garlic butter smell that I’ve encountered in a few other sauces, but that’s really about it. Otherwise, there’s the standard cayenne and vinegar smell, with none of the sweetness from the honey even noticeable. I’m very grateful, though, that the extract does not show up in either the smell or the flavor. Too many sauce makers allow the extract to overpower the natural flavors of their sauces, leading to something that tastes kind of gross. Not so with Rocky’s, which takes a step beyond the traditional cayenne hot sauce flavor.
Despite the presence of the extract, Rocky’s Original is not unbearably hot. I’ll give it a Mean, but that’s largely out of respect for people whose capsaicin tolerances may not be so high. Make no mistake: this isn’t a table sauce for the average consumer. It does, however, pack a Nice flavor that would go well on a variety of products. Rocky’s Original does take a few different twists on the standard hot sauce recipe, but it is traditional enough to make it quite versatile and appealing.
Now, I mentioned already that this isn’t a table sauce for the average consumer, but it would make an excellent choice for an all-purpose sauce for the more experienced chileheads out there. The label makes no recommendations, but this could easily make a great wing sauce, and would be great on top of a variety of potato dishes. Just think of your standard hot sauce, ratchet up the heat factor, and that’s pretty much it.
This is but the first post in a series of reviews of Rocky’s lineup. Rocky’s claims that it is “The best-tasting hot sauce… period,” which is a pretty bold claim to make. So far, however, I’m quite pleased with the Original sauce (considering that I admittedly wrote it off as just another standard hot sauce initially), and I’m looking forward to the other varieties. Check back next week for the next one, and don’t forget to visit us again tonight for another dose of Fiery Friday!