Lost in the (Hot) Sauce

By Ryer Gardenswartz

Growing up I was the type of kid who ordered barbecue sauce over hot sauce.

I was never the one to douse my food in hot sauce. I never understood the appeal of purposely burning your mouth. I wanted to actually taste my food instead of being in pain. Not just any pain either, but the type of pain that not even water can help with. While I do enjoy most peppers, hot sauce was never my go-to condiment. Even though I was never a hot sauce aficionado, I did have the occasional sauce or hot pepper. However, college changes everything.

It all started when a couple of friends and I were watching a show on YouTube called “Hot Ones”. It’s the show with hot questions and even hotter sauce. The premise of the show is celebrities are interviewed, and as the show goes on the wings get progressively hotter. Seeing celebrities like Kevin Hart, DJ Snake, Russell Brand, Charlie Day, and many others come close to tears is a riot. Seeing all of these hot sauces gave me some renewed courage to try my fate at taking the heat.



Popular YouTube show “Hot Ones” logo, the show with hot questions and even hotter wings hosted by Sean Evans

Photo courtesy of Hot Ones

This renewed confidence led to a trip to Jungle Jim’s in Cincinnati. The hot sauce section of the already overwhelming store is crazy. You can find any type of hot sauce imaginable. None of us were quite expecting the volume of hot sauces available, but were all presently surprised. Not going to lie, at first it was a little daunting. There is even a sauce that costs $5,000 because only 50 bottles were ever made. My friends went all out. We bought a total of four sauces different hot sauces (all of which, have appeared on “Hot Ones”). The five we bought are: Red River Rogue, La Yucateco, Pain 100%, and Da Bomb. While I was hesitant at first, and in pain at then end, I surprisingly enjoyed tasting all of the sauces. The worst was definitely Da Bomb. It is the third hottest sauce on “Hot Ones” and had me in tears after just a small tasting. Out of those, my favorite was the Red River Rogue, which definitely had some kick, but was also very tolerable.

The big firetruck at Jungle Jim’s is your sign that you’re getting close to the Hot Sauce Zone
An isle inside of Jungle Jim’s where it is loaded with various hot sauces all sorted alphabetically

One of my friends, Drew Fishman, who introduced me to “Hot Ones” hasn’t looked back since learning more about hot sauce. He can definitely take the heat better than me, but hopefully one day we can enjoy some of the same sauces.

“I’ve been watching Hot Ones for a long time now. It is what got me interested in more specific hot sauces compared to the common Texas Pete’s, Tabasco, or Cholula. I’ve definitely learned to take the heat better throughout my recent obsession.”

Since that moment, I can’t get enough hot sauce in my life. I have been spending my meals at Buffalo Wild Wings sampling some of their hotter sauces. Before a few weeks ago I would stick with Honey BBQ, but now I find myself devouring Mango Habanero – even though my mouth is on fire afterwards. While I have never tried their hottest sauce (Blazin’) Mango Habanero is their third hottest and is a struggle.

I’ve noticed on the Miami campus that Texas Pete is the hot sauce of choice. At all Miami dining locations, the hot sauce available is Texas Pete’s. I miss the good old days of when they used to leave bottles on table and it was easy to “randomly find a new bottle in your backpack” after eating. I wish that I was a bigger fan of hot sauce back then and I could have capitalized.

Even if you once classified yourself as a hot sauce wimp like me, there is still a chance. Just need to find your inspiration. You’ll come around eventually.

Edited by Graham von Carlowitz

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