There’s a vast variety of the world’s hottest hot sauces available today for every desired heat level, flavor and application. Fiery heat, flavor and fun don’t necessarily go together.
Some of the best hot sauces are truly volcanic, something only a committed chili head craves, or dares to eat, especially for a YouTube video.
Volcanic is not the road I usually travel, but I’m willing to try the hottest stuff outside of my comfort zone.
There are plenty of hot sauces with flavor and heat levels that us ordinary humans can enjoy in snacks, foods and everyday cooking. If you’re new to the world of hot sauces, trial and error is the key to determining the hot sauces just right for you.
Most hot sauce are affordable. Some you can pick up at your local Mega Mart. But most of the best hot sauces aren’t available locally. you can check my stores, lists, reviews for sources and availability.
I review hot sauces I’ve tried and like for the most part, including those that I gasped at and lived to tell about. Some of the hotter sauces are more heat than flavor. Again, you must make your own choices.
Some hot sauces are collectibles, which means a much higher prices and very limited production runs. Most of these reside in collector’s vaults giving owners bragging rights.
How many varieties of hot sauces are there?
The actual number to hard to nail down. Tens of Thousands. The hot sauce market is a volatile one.
Brands appear and disappear quickly because of limited production runs, and lack of sufficient capital required for product placement in Mega Mart and specialty stores.
Shelf space isn’t cheap. Neither is promotion, including taste tests and advertising.
That’s why most hot sauces are sold online by single producers. Once the production ends, the brand disappears. Or when the producer goes out of business.
Can eating hot sauce kill you?
Studies indicate that consuming just 13 grams or about a half ounce of pure Capsaicin can kill a 150 pound man. Of course, that mean’s you would have to eat roughly three pounds of the world’s hottest peppers all at once to get a fatal dose. Unlikely.
It’s not smart to eat super hot sauces straight out of a jar or bottle, but to use these as condiments only. And if you have questions about your health, check with your doctor before you consume any.
Hot sauces are packed with vitamins and minerals our bodies need and have lots of healthful effects, especially regarding weight loss, lowered blood pressure and higher energy.
World’s hottest hot sauce taste testers
Seems that every few days new videos appear on YouTube or in blogs of brave but sometimes foolhardy heat-seekers who are compelled to eat super hot sauces on camera. Kinda like an every man’s version of Dirty Jobs.
This is done despite hot sauce bottle labels warning that severe pain or gastric distress will result if used in ways the manufacturer doesn’t recommend, meaning chugging the stuff straight.
There will always be those dedicated rocket scientist chili heads who can’t resist the thrill and the challenge. These are the folks who get knocked on their butts (sometimes literally) after eating some of these volcanic hot sauces.
Witness this guy:
What makes hot sauce hot?
Many people mistakenly assume that chili pod seeds create the heat. But this isn’t so.
The heat of chili peppers resides in pod ribs and membranes where Capsaicin concentrates. Capsaicin is the stuff that creates a burning sensation on your tongue, in your mouth and throat.
Chili pepper plants crank up the heat in wetter climes as a defense against attacks by the Fusarium fungus.
Plants in drier climates struggle to get enough water to survive and produce fewer seeds. The trade-off is that in these water-starved chili pepper plants more heat concentrates in the pod ribs and membranes. Which means more zing for you.
Why are so many hot sauces here today and gone tomorrow?
Some brands quickly sell out because famous producers smartly limit production runs to elevate their hot sauces into collectible status.
Others disappear for economic reasons.
Some smaller producers are here today and literally gone tomorrow, because competition is fierce in U.S. Mega Mart grocery chains and specialty stores. It costs several thousand dollars to gain shelf space and prominent placement.
Most smaller producers don’t have that kind of capital. And if they do invest the cash required and their product doesn’t sell well, Mega Mart will yank it off the shelf and ship it back to the producer…along with a hefty bill of course.
Online websites appear and disappear because individual producers make a one-shot limited run and decided to get out of the business. Or went broke.
One thing that you can count on is that the hottest sauces will always have the most creative and unusual names, like Hellfire Habanero, Pucker Butt, SharkBite and Vicious Viper, to name just a few.
What you’ll get here
I maintain hot sauce lists and market these sauces. I try hard to provide Scoville Heat Unit (SHU) ratings for a variety of hot sauces from 60 to 15,000,000 SHU and current source links in my World Hottest Stores so you can buy and try.
I base my Scoville Heat Unit scale ratings on the heat of an average Jalapeno, because most folks have tasted or know of this versatile hot chili pepper. The Jalapeño is rated at 2500-10,000 Scoville units, which averages out at 6,250 SHU.
The individual heat level of any hot chili pepper plant varies depending on conditions where the pepper was grown, including daily sunlight received, temperatures, rainfall, irrigation, fertilizer and richness of soil.
So while a chili pepper plant is rated with a specific SHU number, the actual heat level of a particular brand of hot sauce will vary depending on the particular crop of chili peppers used in the blend., which is why I list a range instead of a specific number.
I use SHU numbers in my hot sauce lists as a handy comparison guide for you to make good, informed buying decisions on what to try. When you east hot sauce, heat perception is always a subjective thing. What I experience as warm, you may find to be eye-popping hot. So the best way to use these lists as a hot sauce selection guide is to check out the information or reviews I provide.
Jalapeno pepper pods
One aspect of hot sauce consumption is that we develop a tolerance for a particular heat level and crave more heat and flavor.
Insidious, ain’t it? Gotcha! Bwa-hah-hah (evil laugh).
Not all Scoville Heat Units are listed
Anyway, not all the hot sauces here have SHU listed. Mainly because some producers were reluctant to reveal their numbers, citing changing heat levels of products produced. Others feel that it’s not truthful advertising, or have issues with the testing labs. It ain’t cheap to run these tests.
But I list the SHUs for your information, and list hot sauces in my own heat categories: Super hot, Extremely hot, Very hot, Medium hot, Mildly hot and Low heat
I’m also interested in the business side of hot sauce production, and provide the latest news about new products, companies and the like.
How I got into hot sauce
I got into hot sauce because I was always curious about what all the rage was about since I first bit into a Jalapeno when i was nine, provided by a biker neighbor whose buddies gasped at the heat, while I enjoyed it, wondering what they were complaining about.
There wasn’t a lot of chili in my old home town, but I did find some delicious hot sauce hits down South, in Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas and especially in New Orleans.
Now in California I’m married to a wonderful Mexican American whose grandmother re-introduced me to authentic spicy foods, including her signature Chili Colorado dish. And my craving for all things hot sauce was rekindled.
World hottest hot sauce lists
Through the blog, I review and list several categories of hot sauces and their Scoville heat levels. You’ll find reviews and hot sauce mini profiles in several lists.
If you’re new to the flavorful world of hot sauces, you can start with the Low Heat list and work your way up. That’s what I did and it’s part of the fun. How hot can you go? That’s up to you. It’s a world of never-ending discovery. Sometimes the hype of a hot sauce far outreaches its bite.
You can try a recipe that’ll tickle your taste buds and kick up your everyday cooking with some zesty heat.
Then there are special hot sauce collections like Collegiate Hot Sauces that you can enjoy while you root for the ole Alma Mater.
There are also Hot Sauce Gifts and Gift Sets from the unique to the truly bizarre, at all heat levels to help you make appropriate selections for your favorite chili head or seasoned heat seeker.
There are dessert hot sauces, snacks and spicy beverages. And the beat goes on.
If you’re a gardener and like to grow hot chili peppers, the Growing Your Own section contains product, tools and technique reviews and other stuff to make the job easier and yield bigger harvests.
Growing chili peppers is fun and can be done anywhere from back yards to apartment patios or condo decks. I’ve grown some on my patio deck every year. The taste of fresh chili peppers can’t be beat.
So this blog has something for everybody. From newbies chili wimps dipping a toe into the water, to dedicated heat-seeking chili heads craving the latest fiery rush. I’m not a hard-core chili head per se. At least, not yet. Time will tell. And I have tasted a few of the very hottest hot sauces and lived to tell about it.
Enjoy the journey.
Low Heat hot sauce 60-999 Scoville Units – Flavors and Fun
Mildly Hot hot sauce 1,000 to 2,499 Scovile Units
Medium Hot hot sauces 1000 to 9,990 Scoville Units
Very Hot hot sauces 10,000 to 99,000 Scoville Units
Extremely Hot hot sauces 100,000 to 999,000 Scoville Units
Super Hot hot sauces 1 million to 16,000 Scoville Units
Growing Your Own Hot Chili Peppers
How to choose the right hot sauce gift set
World Hottest Hot Sauce Stores