I'm not a wimp when it comes to spicy foods, but I will admit that I have a strong preference for flavor over heat. A food that merely has the ability to peel off the top layer of skin inside my mouth is not going to cut it.
For this reason, I regard the whole extreme-sport challenge of trying to survive the highest Scoville heat rating possible with extreme suspicion. I like food, and that means I like flavor, and burned off tastebuds can't taste anything! (If you read regularly, you know my co-writer Daniel does not agree with me!)
So, at first, when I heard about Furious Sauces, a Harrison, VA based small business that produces artisan hot sauces, I was hesitant - but then I read on their website that their stated purpose is "To create unique and delicious hot sauces that pair great with any kind of food without overpowering the taste." And with that, I was in.
I received a bottle of each of their five hot sauces for review, and the first thing I did was open each one so I could taste them, and start planning how they might be used.
I was very excited once I'd gotten a taste - yes, these are good and spicy, but each one has a wonderful heady taste all its own that shines through. I was full of inspiration for how to use them!
The Angry Assassin is a tomato-based Habanero sauce with a bit of smoky flavor that makes the heat rich with flavor, and should be a reasonable enough level of heat to please all but the most bland palates. We've been using this on almost everything, from eggs and hashbrowns to tossing a few dashes on top of a taco salad.
I am avoiding using it in any large quantity at a time, though, because the label notes that it includes bell peppers in the tomato blend, and I'm sensitive to them.
Yes, I know - weird. I can handle hot chiles, but not sweet peppers. In any event, I did not notice any negative reaction to a small dash here and there.
The Dragon's Smoke is also tomato-based and replaces the habaneros with ghost peppers, the infamous insanely-hot chile that is currently enjoying so much of popularity.
I was, frankly, afraid of this one, for all the reasons mentioned above - but they've managed to make this powerfully hot, but still flavor-rich. For the first time, I felt I was able to actually experience a little of what ghost peppers taste like, instead of just experiencing their heat. After giving it a taste, I was even brave enough to try this is a mess of sauteed greens (see recipe below), and it behaved beautifully.
The next three are flavored hot sauces, and since they aren't tomato based (meaning, no bell peppers), I was able to use these with great abandon - and I have been!
Volcano Sunrise is a mango - habanero blend that is incredibly delicious! It is a perfectly balanced blend of hot and sweet that I used as a cooking sauce with chicken (see recipe below). The only downside with using it that way was that I quickly had no more Volcano Sunrise to enjoy - this was one of my two favorites.
Monstera's Agony is similar, except it is a Pineapple-Habanero blend. Like the mango, the fruit flavor comes through clearly, while the chiles provide a spicy foundation that is perfect for anything that would be served well by some tropical heat - we used out on some pork chops and, at Furious Sauces' suggestion, we'll be trying it soon with fish.
Saving my favorite for last, GoldenElixir is a Maple-Habanero Sauce that is so good that every time I taste it, my eyes roll back in my head. I've enjoyed it with everything I can think of - the other night I brushed it on some bacon-wrapped kielbasa bites and it was amazing (did I take a picture? sigh.. no.)!
Spicy Maple Dipping Sauce
1/2 cup mayonnaise (if you have a homemade recipe, use that!)
1/4 cup Furious Hot Sauces GoldenElixir Sauce
Mix together until well blended.
Serve with sweet potato fries or as a sauce to go with salmon, etc. The flavor will be warmly savory-sweet with rich maple notes.
Above, I mentioned a couple more simple recipes I wanted to share! The first one uses the Volcano Sunrise Mango Habanero Sauce:
8 chicken thighs, bone in & skin on
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup butter
5 oz (one bottle) Furious Sauces Volcano Sunrise Sauce
2 Tablespoons vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar)
1 teaspoon Worchestershire Sauce
In a large ovenproof skillet, heat olive oil and brown chicken 4-5 minutes per side, until lightly browned. (It will not be cooked through yet.)
Remove chicken from pan and set aside. Preheat oven to 375F.
Add the remaining ingredients to the saucepan, stir and cook for a few minutes until butter is melted and the sauce thickens slightly.
Return chicken to the sauce, turning to coat all sides, ending with the meaty side up.
Place the skillet in the oven (make sure your pan is oven capable! If not, put everything into a shallow casserole dish), and cook uncovered for 15-20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.
You may notice that this is quite similar to Buffalo Chicken Wings - any of Furious Sauces flavor blends would make great chicken wings! We found this version to be delicious and flavorful and surprisingly, given that we used the entire bottle, not overwhelmingly hot.
I can't wait to get more of the Volcano Sunrise Hot Sauce, nor am I alone in loving it - this past weekend it was announced that this took a 3rd place award at the Scovie Awards!
The last recipe I want to share was put together on the fly after our weekly produce box included both Rainbow Swiss Chard and Collards, and I needed to do something with those greens, and was not in the mood to go hunt up a bit of fatty pork to braise them in for hours.
For this, I used the Chard, and wound up with a quick side dish to serve along with some sausage. And I decided to be brave and use the Dragon's Smoke Ghost Pepper Hot Sauce (gulp!):
1 bunch of rainbow swiss chard
1/2 red onion, minced
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2-3 Tablespoons Furious Sauces Dragon's Smoke Sauce
Mince the red onion and set aside.
Wash and dry the swiss chard. With a sharp knife, cut away the leaves from the center stem.
Finely slice the stem, and saute in the olive oil along with the onion until softened.
Stack the leaves on top of each other, roll them up, and then thinly slice. Slice through them again to create small bite sized pieces. Add these to the onion mixture, and continue sautee'ing for a few minutes until all is softened.
Add the ghost pepper sauce to the pan, blending well. Serve hot as a side dish.
If you're fortunate enough to live in the Harrison, VA area, you may find Furious Sauces at your local Farmer's Market. Otherwise, you can purchase Furious Sauces from their website for $5.98 per 5oz. bottle, plus shipping via USPS. If you're interested in trying something really different than the usual heat-first hot sauces, I highly recommend them!
If you'd like to give them a try for free, Furious Sauces is allowing us to give away one of their Tropicana 3-Packs to one US winner! That's a bottle each of the GoldenElixir, Monstera's Agony, and Volcano Sunrise - you won't want to miss this one, so read on to see how you can enter to win!
To enter the giveaway, you must leave a comment in this entry as instructed by the Giveaway Tools Entry Form below. This will open up additional optional entries to increase your odds of winning.
This giveaway is open to US RESIDENTS ONLY and will end just before midnight ET on 11/1.
The winner(s) will be notified by email within 24 hours after the end of the giveaway. In order to claim the giveaway prize, the winner will need to respond within 24 hours of notification, or an alternate winner will be selected.
Once the winners have responded and confirmed, their first names will be posted on our Giveaways page.