The name of the game today is Caribbean. Specifically, I’m looking at Bigfat’s 408 Jerk Style Hot Sauce. I haven’t had too many Caribbean-themed sauces, so this should be a welcome change of pace from the typical hot sauces I get to try with this gig. I really don’t have much more of a flowery introduction here, so let’s get on with this.
Water, Tomatoes, Green Onion, Garlic, Habanero Peppers, Brown Sugar, Pomegranate Molasses, Sea Salt, White Vinegar, Lime Juice Concentrate, Spices
For a nonstandard sauce, this sure does have a lot of the key ingredients in the business. I’m intrigued by the pomegranate molasses, though, because I didn’t even know that was a thing. Anyway, I see nothing to complain about in the list alone!
Rather than the standard red or orange hue, 408 is a brown color that looks a lot like a marinade. It isn’t an unappetizing color, and in fact certainly allows the sauce to carry a distinct look on shelves. It is also a little thin like a marinade, and is quite sticky.
Smell and Taste:
Unlike most hot sauces I wind up trying, this one does not immediately smell of peppers. Instead, it is the combination of herbs and spices that hits first, to the point that this sauce smells like a spice rack. That’s not a bad smell, mind you. The flavor, though, is rather indistinct. It doesn’t taste like any one thing in particular, but I’m not convinced that the combination of the ingredients works all that well together, either.
On Bigfat’s own scale, this sauce rates a 4 out of 8. I don’t know what that means to them, but I will say that the habanero peppers in this sauce carry a strong, lasting heat. I like that, and it gets a Mean. I just wish the flavor fared as well. Maybe I’m just not into this variety of sauce, but 408 doesn’t really do much for me. I don’t flat-out dislike it, but it strikes me as more of an acquired taste, and I’ve never really believed in forcing myself to acquire a taste for something if it doesn’t taste good enough to begin with. Oddly enough, the best part of the flavor is the aftertaste, when the spices are lingering. I’m giving this one a Nominal.
If you’re into the jerk-style flavor, this would make a great marinade, because it’s pretty much built like one. I’m willing to give it a shot on chicken, and even some steaks might work with this. I’m imagining a juicy chunk of meat grilled in this sauce with a pineapple on top, and that actually sounds pretty good.
I’ve certainly had better sauces, but the key to reading reviews is knowing how your own tastes line up with the reviewer’s. In this case, if you’re a sucker for Caribbean jerk-style flavor, and you want some nice heat to go with it, give this one a shot.