Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Tabasco Milder Jalapeno: Jalapeno taste with a green pepper heart
Let's look at the facts: Tabasco is so big and powerful that they can sort of create their own spectrum of hot sauces. In the middle is their standard hot sauce--watery, tangy, and moderately spicy if you enough of it. This sauce isn't spicy at all, but seeks out a pepper rich in flavor but difficult to harness without the heat. Flavor is important here, and this sauce does a pretty good job of capturing the ripe zest of a raw jalapeno while essentially neutering the insane heat.
Good Hurts: This sauce has only the slightest traces of heat...a slight murmur in the back of your throat, a gentle tingle on your lips. This sauce's heat is nearly intangible; without jalapeno on the bottle, you might not know that it's meant to be a hot sauce. One of the big pluses of this sauce is that it tastes the way most Tabasco does (salty, tangy) with only a hint of spice but flavor intact.
Flavor: It's like I said above: this sauce is very salty and tangy, but it has a special quality other jalapeno sauces have a really hard time replicating. A raw jalapeno is a magical thing, full of fresh, green-pepper like acidic flavor and a seering heat. For some reason I don't (and probably never will) understand, most places that make jalapeno sauce end up making it smell and taste strongly of chalk. I've encountered this problem with dozens of hot sauces, but it exists mostly in the jalapeno world. Maybe it has something to do with freshness, packaging, or the aging of the pepper mash...whatever it is, Tabasco is able to effectively side step it. However, the sauce tastes good, not amazing. The salt and acid will command control of your taste buds, hiding some of those subtle qualities that make jalapenos so gol' durn tasty.
Availability: Well, if you live on the planet Earth, Tabasco is probably nearby. Their standard sauce is easiest to find, but this sauce is nearly as prevalent in grocery stores, gourmet shops, and even gas stations.
Good for: You just have to see this website; Tabasco may have a much bigger budget than, say, Bob, who makes sauce out of the muffler of his car and sells it per-order, but it really shocks me that Tabasco is one of the few companies with the foresight to name all the things they think their sauce is good for. This sauce's best and brightest qualities are also the things that hold it back a bit: the salty, tangy pepper zest and lack of heat make it ideal for blander, carb heavy dishes, like rice, beans, tortillas, grits, and more. Without the kick of spice, this sauce becomes a more everyman sauce and less a part of the exclusive world of hot insanity.
Heat: 1/2 star
My Review: 6.9
For a decent jalapeno flavor with the the heart of a mild green pepper, Tabasco's got your number.