Howlin Hollar Hot Sauce with PumpkinIn case I’ve not made this clear in the past, one of my favorite things about fall is finding pumpkin flavor everywhere. Oh, sure, it may technically be winter now, but pumpkin is still a delicious seasonal flavor for a little while longer. Slightly more out of season, perhaps, is the label on Howlin’ Hollar Hot Sauce with Pumpkin (made by Sizzlin Sauces), which features a menacing gremlin in a pumpkin patch (out of season, that is, unless you subscribe to an older, more European idea of the Christmas mythos). Ah, but I digress. Really, I’m just looking forward to enjoying this sauce, so let’s get to that part, shall we?

Ingredients:

Ketchup (tomato concentrate [tomatoes, distilled vinegar, high fructose corn syrup, salt, spice, onion powder, natural flavors]), Habanero Peppers, Carrot Juice, Prickly Pear Cactus Puree (prickly pear cactus fruit, cane sugar, malic acid, ascorbic acid), Honey, Pumpkin, White Wine, Hot Sauce (aged cayenne red peppers, vinegar, water, salt, garlic powder), Lime Juice, Water, White Balsamic Vinegar (wine, vinegar, trebbiano grape must, contains naturally present sulfites), Dijon Mustard (water, mustard seeds, vinegar, salt, sulfites [preservatives]), Passion Fruit Puree (passion fruit juice concentrate, filtered water), Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Black Pepper, Kosher Salt

Wow. I didn’t really expect such an exorbitant list of ingredients. The name of the sauce promises two things (the hot sauce and the pumpkin), but it delivers on all sorts of other unspoken promises, too. Prickly pear? Passion fruit? Let me say “wow” again. This is a pretty complex little sauce.

Appearance:

What’s funny about that huge list of ingredients is that it does little to separate this from other sauces visually. You get the standard orange sauce here, with the same consistency and pulpiness you might expect from something that isn’t just spicy vinegar.

Smell and Taste:

My first thought is that this smells like spicy ketchup, but there’s more to it than that. I get the mustard as well, which kind of just makes this smell like a cheeseburger. Considering all of the fruit flavors that went into this, that probably isn’t what Sizzlin Sauces had in mind, but I’ll be damned if I don’t love that smell anyway. The taste is much, much more complex. While it tastes nothing like my much-beloved pumpkin smoothies at the Jamba Juice, it still has a layer of smooth, fruity flavor on top of the tangy, biting spice. It is first and foremost, though, a pepper sauce, at least when it comes to the flavor.

Ratings:

FIRE
FLAVOR

Oh, speaking of the peppers: this stuff burns like crazy. I may be off my game a little bit, but this is one of the hottest things I’ve had in a while. It is so hot, in fact, that I’m going to give it a Madness. This is definitely not a hot sauce I would give to inexperienced folks. Still, while it hurts to eat, I keep coming back. I wish the pumpkin flavor could be a little bit more pronounced, but what’s there is more than enough for a Nice rating. I really like this sauce.

Suggested Uses:

The good news about this sauce not being too terribly fruity is that you can put it on pretty much anything. This being winter, tamales would be a great option, but I could also see this being great on a burger or some chicken. Just go easy on it.

Final Word:

I have nothing more to say about this sauce. Just try it, and have yourselves some Happy Holidays, my friends.

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