Longer version: I was Tweeting away a month or so ago when I got a note from @TabaneroHotSauce asking if I would like to sample their product. Of course I said yes and shortly thereafter I had two bottles of Tabanero Hot Sauce sitting in my kitchen.
In full disclosure, I knew I was going to write great things about this hot sauce before I even opened the first bottle. The first reason I was going to be positive is that so many other people have already said great things. Check out the product reviews from Brian Sellers, Larry Gaian and Scott Roberts. These guys are legitimate and when this many folks give a product their backing you know it has to be pretty good.
The larger reason why a positive review was guaranteed is because the folks at Tabanero “get it”. They understand about quality.
You can read about product quality all you want but for all you know it is simply hype on a website. When my wife brought me the package from the mail I couldn’t figure out what I had received. I had been expecting a bottle of sauce but this was a large package. Inside the package was a designer box custom fitted to hold two large bottles of Tabanero. The box was beautiful. Included with the bottles was a hand written card thanking me for trying their product. Hell, even the penmanship was great! I guess what I am trying to get across is if they spent so much time and effort to send a beautiful package to an unknown blogger such as myself try to imagine how much effort went into the product itself.
So, how does it taste and what can you use it for?
This sauce packs a front punch that quickly transitions to a citrus bloom. While the heat is real and prominent it is not the defining characteristic of the sauce. There are plenty of other flavors playing around here. Hot, citrus, flavorful and no vinegar.
I went through the first bottle of Tabanero in three days. The Tabanero went great with breakfast burritos filled with refried beans and scrambled eggs. Lunch was Tabanero covered grilled chicken tacos on corn tortillas. Louisiana dirty rice was greatly improved with a tablespoon of the glorious condiment. I doused quite a few pieces of fried chicken in Tabanero and it made my knees weak.
I used Tabanero in two great marinades:
- 1 eight oz can crushed pineapple
- 1 ½ inch knob fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
- 3 tablespoons Tabenero
- 1 tablespoon salt
- ½ cup water
- Juice of two limes
- 2 tablespoons Tabenero
- 1 tablespoon honey
The one place where Tabenero was not a smash success was on chicken wings and for that I take responsibility. I tried substituting Tabanero for Frank’s hot sauce on a one for one basis in my Buffalo Sauce recipe and it just didn’t work. I am so used to Buffalo Wings having that vinegar twang that when it wasn’t present I was disappointed. Of course I should have anticipated that before I started since Tabanero does not have any vinegar. This is not a knock against Tabanero at all; simply some guidance that it shouldn’t be used as a one for one replacement in recipes where you typically use a vinegar based hot sauce.