Today I’m checking out the Pineapple Habanero from Wicked Tickle. I like the idea of a pineapple habanero sauce. It seems habanero chiles get paired with mango all the time now, and while mango has good flavor, sometimes I think it ends up standing too mildly in some of the more spicy hot sauces, and I expect that pineapple, with its bold, tart, and sweet nature will be able to step forward more in the flavor of this expectedly hotter sauce. One of the good things about Wicked Tickle that I’ve noticed is that they seem to have a pretty good handle on labeling their product in line with where they fall on our Fire rating scale. This product is marked at their third level (Hot), and so I’m guessing this should be at least a strong Medium, and more likely a Mean on our schedule.
What’s nice to see here on the ingredient list is the Aji Chile Pepper, which is from the baccatum species of chile peppers, known for having a sweet fruity flavor as well as being somewhat generous with the heat as well. I’m expecting this along with the habanero to give a more balanced, flavored burn than just habanero on its own. Here’s what’s in the mix: Vinegar, Pineapple, Pineapple Juice, Apple, Habanero Chili, Aji Chili, Garlic, Onion, Salt, and Xanthan Gum.
While there is a bit of texture to the sauce, keeping me from calling it thin, it is still very easy to pour. There is a noticeable tartness to the aroma of the sauce from the vinegar, and the presence of habanero is highly evident, but there seems to be a subtle sweet and fruity aroma as well to this. The sauce has a sort of golden brown with red hue to it. The aroma makes me feel like this could be fairly balanced, but the extra aroma of vinegar makes me wonder if the tartness will be too much, or if the acidity will up the burn from the chiles even more.
Initially there is a touch of a little sweetness, a little tart burn from the vinegar, followed quickly by the bite from habanero, and once the initial shock of heat drops away, you begin to taste a fruity and citrusy flavor; not fruity in the sweet way either, but more of a tart fruit, obviously more so because of the use of a fruit that has sour properties. Once that all goes through you, the heat begins to build, and then it builds a second time, maxing out in the middle of the Mean territory. As far as flavor goes, I like the sauces properties, but the pineapple didn’t come out as much as I was hoping for, so I’ll be scoring it as a Nominal for flavor. If I were to use this for cooking, I’d likely take even parts of this sauce, pineapple juice, and a touch of agave syrup (to taste) and use it like a BBQ sauce for some dry rubbed jerk chicken.