DEFCON Sauces Habanero Horseradish


Famous for their ground-breaking wing sauces, DEFCON Sauces also makes a pair of habanero horseradish sauces – the Habby Pony Mild Habanero Horseradish and the Habby Horse Hot Habanero Horseradish.

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Rippin Red Forbidden Angel hot sauce review


Rippin’ Red Sauce Company launched their flagship wing sauces in 2010 with an “original” and a “hot” version. Both are stellar wing sauces that please everyone who tries them. Our reviews are here. Creator John Rizzotti is a dear friend that just astounds people with his creative recipes and solid wing sauces. John is always a hit at the shows he vends at – tempting visitors with delicious wings, created with his sauces and a variety of spices and presentations.

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Fat Cat – Cat in Heat Hot Sauce – review

Fat Cat Foods has launched their newest creation, Cat in Heat. Their hottest sauce yet is bright red in color, is medium thick, and brings a hot kick all of its own. Urged by their customers to add an extra-hot sauce to their initial line-up – Fat Cat created Cat in Heat and delivered.

Cat in Heat is bright red in color…

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Slowpoke BBQ Spicy Apple BBQ Sauce Review

What does a guy from New Hampshire know about Texas BBQ anyway? At least that is how Chad Devine begins his site. He has concocted an apple based BBQ sauce that he feels really represents Texas BBQ sauce. Did he get it done? Let’s find out!

Read on as Marilyn and I discuss our impressions of Slowpoke BBQ’s Spicy Apple BBQ Sauce.

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Lucky Dog Fire Roasted Hot Pepper Sauce

Lucky Dog Hot Sauce – “Food’s Best Friend”, comes from the Sonoma, California kitchen of Scott Zalkind. Featuring fire-roasted hot peppers, Scott offers three versions of Lucky Dog Hot Sauce.

“I believe in flavor above all else, which is why Lucky Dog Hot Sauce is created with savory fire-roasted hot peppers, sweet carrots, tangy vinegar, fresh onions, assorted dried peppers, and heaps of roasted garlic.” – Scott Zalkind

Green Label – with jalapeño, serrano and cayenne peppers, and roasted garlic – is the mild-to-medium version.
Red Label – adds habanero to the jalapeño, serrano, and cayenne pepper mix – this is their medium-hot offering.
Orange Label – more habanero, serrano, jalapeño and varietal hot cayenne peppers – Orange Label is their hot one.

Lucky Dog Hot Sauce Lineup

Lucky Dog Hot Sauce Lineup

I’ve been in touch with Scott since March of this year, and at that time he was finishing up pre-production work on Lucky Dog. Having just launched officially in June of 2012, Lucky Dog is the “new kid on the block”, and I’m glad they brought out all three flavors right off the bat. Their site, mentions that upcoming fourth, and possibly fifth flavors are in the works.

Lucky Dog Fire-roasted Hot Sauce – Green Label

Ingredients: distilled vinegar, onions, roasted chile peppers, roasted garlic, water, carrots, chile peppers, sugar, sea salt, lime juice from concentrate, cayenne pepper The side of the label does spell out the peppers here are the jalapeño, serrano and cayennes.

Lucky Dog Hot Sauce Green Label

Lucky Dog Hot Sauce Green

Texture & Appearance: With finely ground or crushed peppers and slightly thick, this sauce pours in dollops and clings well. Marilyn says “the color is a dull orange / beige – not really green.” The overall texture of all three of the Lucky Dog sauces is the same impressive and consistent grind. Very nicely done!

Taste Straight Up: Sweetness from the carrots and sugar is up front along with the onion. The jalapeño and serrano peppers provide a mild, traditional heat on the front of the tongue. This is a classic flavor enhanced by the quality of the ingredients. The smoked roasted peppers provide a nice earthy flavor overall. However, the garlic is disappointingly too subtle for me. I love to be hit in the face with garlic… Marilyn, not so much.

Knowing there are dried chile peppers buried in the mix, I can’t help but sense just a wee bit of what I call “dustiness”. It’s ever so slight, and it may be a “mind thing”, as Marilyn disagrees with me. But I thought it worth mentioning.

Heat Level: Rated 2 out of 5 Stars – A fairly good bite of heat that tingles the tongue, but is short lived – I credit the serranos for the nice sting here, even if it’s only a mild-medium level, just as the label says.

Lucky Dog Fire-roasted Hot Sauce – Red Label

Ingredients: apple cider vinegar, onions, roasted chile peppers, carrots, roasted garlic, water, chile peppers, sea salt, sugar, cayenne pepper, lime juice from concentrate Again, elsewhere on the label the addition of habaneros are mentioned.

Lucky Dog Hot Sauce Red

Lucky Dog Hot Sauce Red

Texture & Appearance: A tab bit thicker than the Green Label, with a darker burnt orange color. Same great “grind” or mash-like consistency. A beautiful sauce, if you can call anything that looks burnt orange, beautiful. I’m smitten with the texture of these 2 sauces.

Taste Straight Up: The habanero really shines through at first, bringing on its classic taste – fruity and hot – followed by the sweetness of the other non-chile ingredients. We think the roasted garlic, being much sweeter than its raw counterpart is a supporting player in the sweetness here. It’s also a little more pronounced now.

Heat Level: Rated 2.5 out of 5 Stars – Yup, just barely a notch above the Green Label here. Marilyn thinks it’s practically the same heat level, but with a different chile. In this case the habby moves the burn to the back of the throat. I think the fire roasting technique, along with the milder apple cider vinegar, really keeps the heat from burning too much. The rich, sweet flavor is still predominant, making this sauce a great, well balanced choice.

Lucky Dog Fire-roasted Hot Sauce – Orange Label

Ingredients: apple cider vinegar, onions, roasted chile peppers, roasted garlic, carrots, chile peppers, water, sugar, sea salt, cayenne pepper, lime juice from concentrate

Lucky Dog Hot Sauce Orange

Lucky Dog Hot Sauce Orange

Texture & Appearance: We’re back to the slightly thinner consistency, very similar to the Green Label, if not just a bit thinner. Also it’s the darkest color of the 3, but we’re still in burnt orange territory. And again, the overall grind or consistency is standard for Lucky Dog.

Taste Straight Up: We both detected a rich, dark smoky flavor here. Finally, the roasted garlic comes through stronger for my taste. Marilyn commented the vinegar flavor is more pronounced for her.

Heat Level: Rated 3.5 out of 5 Stars – Only moving up 1 star in heat, the Orange Label does have the same ingredients as the Red, only the order of a few have shuffled around. I’m assuming, of course, there is even more habanero here. The burn is now within our mouth and the back of the throat.

Marilyn feels the heat level is much higher than the Red Label, but since I’m writing this, I’m going with my take of only 1 notch up.


Labels, graphics, bottles, packaging – it’s an ugly truth that they all play a role in our collective decisions to purchase a given product, especially when seen on a shelf in a store next to other products. While this is not a deal breaker, especially when a given sauce has a stellar product inside but not so great labels or graphics outside, it definitely influences our purchases. Sometimes, however, the sauce speaks for itself. But as reviewers, we feel compelled to comment on such things.

Bonus Points: Lucky Dog Sauces come with a high quality shrink wrapper that includes a built-in zip strip. The shrink wrapper itself is of a thicker plastic than most, with a foil insert in the lid. The zip string goes around the neck for easy removal of the top. It’s reminiscent of the old wax-topped bottles with the fabric string. Very classy!

Label/Graphics: All three flavors sport the same shiny metallic label. We’re not big fans of shiny labels. In my opinion, they are usually hard to read. But in this case, most of the sides of the label are easy to read – the ingredients, nutrition facts, and descriptive texts are all very visible.

All three bottles also sport the exact same graphics on the front. They all show the same grayscale image of a dog, surrounded by the gold horseshoe. The distinguishing differences between the Green, Red, and Orange flavors and labels are the radiating … um… rays from behind the dog and horseshoe graphic. Regular readers know I’m color-blind, but even Marilyn agrees the green, red, and orange (I call it gold) rays are almost indistinguishable from each other; let alone when perched on a store shelf next to competing products. At first glance, I would not know there are 3 completely different flavors of Lucky Dog Hot Sauce. The only sure sign of the different sauces is on the side of the label. Printed there is text that tells you this is the “Green Label” with a short descriptive text of the peppers. The same goes for the “Red” and “Orange” versions.

I would like to see something on the front label that tells me “this is the Green Mild, Red Medium, Orange Hot” versions of this sauce. Ok, I’ll stop with the graphics critique… let’s look at our final thoughts on these sauces.

Overall Ratings

Green Label: Rated 3 out of 5 Stars – While this is a delicious jalapeño based sauce unto itself – we felt it’s the weakest of the 3 sauces reviewed here. It’s just O.K. I do love the serrano component – serrano peppers are my favorite chiles for my own salsas – but I was hoping for more garlic, and less dried chile in the background. (Update: As I write this review, I had a nice chat with Scott Zalkind, and he told me he’s working on an ever so slight modification of the green sauce – mainly to thicken it up without affecting the flavor. But from what he said, I can tell this nice jalapeño sauce may get even better with the next batch.)

Red Label: Rated 4 out of 5 Stars – Our favorite of the 3 players here, the Red Label is very tasty, hot, and palatable. If you like your sauces on the mild to medium side, and want to venture into a really good habanero sauce, the Lucky Dog Red Label is a great start. It takes the heat level up just a notch. The habanero chile really shines here, with a nice balance of heat to sweet.

Orange Label: Rated 3.5 out of 5 Stars – It’s hard to put into words, as I’ve just said the Red Label is our favorite, but the almost “umami” dark smoky flavor of this sauce is my personal favorite overall flavor profile of the 3 sauces. Unfortunately, the heat level was a bit too much for me for an everyday sauce, and so I can’t rate it higher than the Red Label. Marilyn agrees, the Orange Label is tasty, dark, and smoky, but was a bit too hot for her everyday tastes too. What a conundrum!

Lucky Dog Fire Roasted Hot Sauces

Buy one of each!

Lucky Dog Fire Roasted Hot Sauce sells for $4.99 per bottle, and is available at Get all three and save on shipping.

This is part of a dual review between and

We thought it would be fun to post our reviews on the same day. It will be interesting to see what Scott has to say about these sauces – he and I often differ in our opinions. 🙂
Please leave a comment here, and then go over to and read his take on Lucky Dog Hot Sauces, and leave a comment there. Or vice versa.

Disclaimer: We purchased this product for our own personal use and review purposes. No compensation was received. The thoughts and opinions expressed are our own.

Hawaiian Kettle Style Chips – Mango Habanero – Review

I was recently sent a 7.5 ounce bag of the new Mango Habanero Kettle Chips from Pinnacle Foods Group out of New Jersey for review. The deep pink bag with a stylistic Hula girl drawing promises “Crispy & Crunchy Tropical Heat!”

I’ve tried a lots of snacks promising heat, only to be find an over-salted chip with either BBQ or Buffalo-style seasoning, without a lot of heat. But this, my friends, definitely brings on the heat!

Hawaiian Style Mango Habanero Chips

Hawaiian Style Mango Habanero Chips

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Bigfat’s 1o8 Habanero hot sauce review

Bigfat’s hot sauces are all natural – made with fresh ingredients you can taste in every mouthful. High quality ingredients make high quality sauce and that’s what you get from them. They have a variety of great flavors backed and packed with just the right amount of heat. From beginner chilebaby to pro chilehead, they get your taste buds revved up and ready for more.

Jeremy and Kat Walsh of Bigfat's Hot Sauce at Bowers PA

Jeremy and Kat Walsh of Bigfat’s Hot Sauce at Bowers PA
(Notice the 6o8 Pineapple Habanero did not exist yet)

We first met Jeremy and Kat Walsh of at the Bowers, PA Pepperfestival in September of 2011. By then, they had moved to and back from Hawaii, crafted 6 of their soon to be 8 hot sauces, and were well underway to becoming a hit in the chilehead and hot sauce world.

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Desert Smoke BBQ Fiery Hot Sauces Review

When Tony Morales of Desert Smoke BBQ contacted me about their new hot sauces, they already had a successful line-up of BBQ sauces well underway. I loved the fact that Tony and company started with a simple 3 pack of basic hot sauces – it makes for a nice review and a round-up of some classy sauces. Here’s their mission statement:

Desert Smoke BBQ is Committed to combining tangy Carolina BBQ Flavors with BIG, BOLD, Southwestern Spices to create the best Dry Rubs and DIPPIN’ – MOPPIN’ – BBQ Sauces around! Our products are crafted without additives or artificial preservatives using the finest all natural ingredients available. I am sure that your favorite dishes will come alive with a little DESERT SMOKE!


Desert Smoke BBQ Fiery Hot Sauces Lineup

Big, BOLD flavor is what we do! Desert Smoke BBQ doesn’t follow the traditional product development model because we aren’t a traditional company. … many of you have heard rumblings of a new line of Hot sauces… Without further adieu I am happy to announce the launch of the following exciting new products…

That’s a huge statement from a small company that prides itself on ingredients. Let’s see if their hot sauces hold up as well.
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