Today I’m testing out the Hurtin’ Habanero sauce from Dave’s Gourmet. Dave’s Gourmet is one of the better-known sauce manufacturers out there, is widely distributed, and is known mostly for their Insanity Sauce, which was one of the first extract sauces on the market. While that product focused on burning you as much as possible, and receives lots of attention, Dave’s Gourmet’s other sauces seem to be a bit more of a mystery to people that are not hot sauce aficionados. So, I’m taking a little time to explore one of their less famous sauces to see what else they make and get a feeling for how much they focus on the flavor components, and not just the fire.
Looking at what it’s made of, there isn’t anything shocking, and I’ll suspect that this will be a fairly chile-pepper-centered sauce as far as flavor goes. I’ve seen plenty of sauces with garlic listed, but I think this is the first one I’ve seen that does a garlic pulp. I’m curious to see if that brings a bigger presence in garlic or not. Here’s what is in the bottle: Water, Habanero Puree, Apple Vinegar, Cane Vinegar, Red Chile Puree, Spices, Lemon Juice, Garlic Pulp, Sugar, Citric Acid, Xanthan Gum, Ascorbic Acid
All right, so the first test was a quick pour and roll of the sauce in a glass, and it pours fairly easily, but doesn’t have what I would refer to as a runny texture, as there seems to be plenty enough of a chile pepper component to give it a light thickness that has some cling to it. There is a medium orange red color to this, quite similar to the color most people would associate with a standard powder for making a pot of Texas Red-style chili. The aroma is the part that actually took me a bit by surprise. With the habanero and two varieties of vinegar listed early in the ingredient list, I was expecting a tart, citrus like aroma, but the twist on this is that the product actually smells much more like it is based on New Mexican red chiles, and possibly even some guajillo or arbol chiles as well. I suspect the tasting could turn out to be interesting.
The flavor of the Red chile is presented immediately up front, with a mild heat, with some citrus and garlic being very obvious. It then takes a few seconds, and then comes the habanero heat, but only the tiniest bit of habanero flavor comes through. The vinegar components bring in a little bite, but they don’t overpower the flavor, and also don’t make this a sauce with a pucker factor. Even though this has the habanero in it, the punch of heat from it doesn’t last very long, and overall this is a sauce on the high-end of Medium. The flavor seems to be aimed more at the Southwest, Mexican and Tex-Mex cooking styles, and I think it has a lot of potential as a sauce for general use on just about any breakfast burrito. While there isn’t anything shockingly different about this sauce, it does a Nominal job at tasting much better than the other widely distributed sauces out there. If you’re a fan of the red sauces from Taco Bell, but want to stray away from the vinegar levels and get some actual heat from it, you would be quite happy with this.
If you’re interested in checking it out, head over to its page at iBurn and pick up a few bottles.