Sunday, January 17, 2010
Cajun Bayou: The official favorite Louisiana Hot Sauce of Good Hurts
Apologies for the 10 day gap in reviews...the GoodHurtsTron5000 needed to be taken out behind the woodshed and "corrected." Now I have a new Mac and nothing to stop me from communicating with the outside world. Please be patient...the video of my toppling the Buffalo Cantina wing challenge and losing a piece of my soul doing it will be up soon!
Like UFOs in our skies, Louisiana hot sauce has plenty of people who claim to have seen the best evidence out there (of flavor, heat, and other taste mysteries) that a particular brand is really amazing. Like UFOs, fleeting samples of the stuff come in and out leaving hot sauce fans to wonder which kind really proves that the stuff can hold a culinary key to the future in a world where hotter and hotter insanity sauces are landing every day. Like UFOs, Tabasco is the Roswell incident, the benchmark Louisiana hot sauce with time on its side and the widest base of believers. And like UFOs, this grainy photo was the only one I could find of a rich, shiny sauce that I believe can trump the countless other sauces like it. Floating between a Louisiana and Picante sauce (a la Salsa Huichal, Cholula, and others) this sauce is worth investigating.
Let's Look at the Facts: My best friends in the world at Original Juan's can count this sauce among their wide variety of interesting hot sauces. And why not? It's a sauce that enters a whole other division of hot sauces...one filled with similar flavor but possibly the widest fanbase. It's pretty simple...created from a cayenne pepper mash, in which the red peppers are crushed up and left in a (usually enclosed) vat of vinegar and aged, this sauce can boast that the only thing it rests on is its fresh cayenne flavor, since there are no additives or preservatives and no sugar.
For a company that uses such creative packaging, Cajun Bayou keeps it simple: simple package, simple label, and simply effective.
Good Hurts: What can I say? This is a hot sauce meant for flavor, not knock you socks off heat. I would be interested to see a really hot Cajun sauce someday...but I dream. For now, this sauce has almost no heat, even for those of especially weak spice constitutions. This is a sauce for the elderly and babies as well as anyone who wants to explore the endlessly similar corridors that Louisiana sauce offers: salt, cayenne pepper, and vinegar. Flavor is really what's important in this hot sauce.
Flavor: This is a special sauce because the first thing the pops into your mind when you eat it won't be "tangy!" Tabasco, Frank's Red Hot, Trappey's, and other heavy hitters in the Louisiana industry have sauces that have a tart jolt of salty vinegar at the beginning, but this one is much more understated, pushing it close to the smoothness of Cholula and its Picante family members. It's also very vinegar-y, though, which means that it's going to be really good with something starchy and not very acidic. I think this sauce is ideal for a lot of foods you might not otherwise want to end up puckering up for by using too much of the other guys' sauces.
Availability: This sauce is on their website, of course, but don't expect to find this sauce in too many grocery stores worldwide. While Original Juan's has some decent distribution, this sauce might have too much competition to get it in stores where Original Juan's other, well, original products can shine. If you find it, I recommend it thoroughly. If not, it might be worth ordering if you're sick of being let down by the too-salty grind.
Good for: This is the shining point of this sauce. What Louisiana sauce lacks in heat, it makes up for in versatility. This sauce is no different. Pour it liberally on pizza, pita chips, fries, or my personal favorite, kettle chips, for a deep south take on the classic British chips n' vinegar. The salty sauce isn't too tangy to overpower your favorites, but adds a tasty savory kick. I could eat bowl after bowl of kettle chips and this sauce if I didn't care about my pesky liver and completely pickling it.
Heat: 1/2 star
My Review: 7/10
As far as Louisiana hot sauce goes, this is as good as it can get. Don't forget to watch the skies...er, the swamps, for the latest and greatest from the wide world of cayenne.