It’s gettin’ HOT in here


Reaching her limit, sophomore Selena Ranney downed her water to cool off the fire that started in her mouth.  Ranney was one of the seven students who participated in a hot sauce taste test. The Patriot conducted a taste test, testing four types of hot sauces while gauging student reactions. Students who were willing to participate were asked to try the different types of hot sauces to see which ones proved the hottest. Each sauce was placed in a small cup labeled one through four so that no one would unfairly choose the hottest by looking at a familiar brand.

The contestants’ faces were not as red as the hot sauces they tasted.

The four hot sauce brands were Tabasco, Frank’s Red Hot, Louisiana, and Kikkoman Sriracha. Sophomores Grayce Moran, Scott Walczyk, Ola Ekundayo, Selena Ranney, Susan Kim and Justin Hawkins, and senior Iris Kim completed the taste test. Moran, Susan Kim, Iris Kim, Ekundayo, and Hawkins believed Tabasco to be the hottest, while Walczyk and Ranney claimed Louisiana as the winner.

Each hot sauce contained the three standard ingredients of aged peppers, vinegar and salt. Each hot sauce had additional ingredients to create their specific taste, like garlic. From the test results, the hot sauces with fewer ingredients were hotter than those with multiple ingredients. “[The Kikkoman Sriracha] tastes like barbecue sauce,” Walczyk said as he tasted the cup labeled hot sauce number four. “I have hot sauce all the time, so I’m used to it.” The Kikkoman Sriracha hot sauce contained 12 ingredients. The addition of water, natural flavors, xanthan gum, and sugar toned down the hot sauce.

Neither Susan nor Iris favored the Louisiana or the Frank’s Red Hot sauce. They expected Tabasco to be the hottest because of the small bottle it came in. Their expectations proved to be true.

The price of each hot sauce varies depending on size and brand popularity. Tabasco topped at $4.72 for a two ounce bottle. Kikkoman Sriracha cost $2.50 for a 10.6 ounce bottle, Frank’s Red Hot cost $3.62 for a 12 ounce bottle, and Louisiana hot sauce cost $2.75 for a 12 ounce bottle. In addition to being one of the hottest, Louisiana is the best buy at 22 cents per ounce.

According to the Chicago Tribune, hot sauce speeds up your metabolism by raising your temperature, which can be good for dieters. “Capsaicin, the compound that gives red chili pepper its powerful kick, creates the largest bump in heat generation, which helps burn more calories immediately after a meal.”

“I’m really used to hot food … if you can’t handle it you have weak taste buds,” Ekundayo said.

When it comes to purchasing the hottest hot sauce, the tasters found Tabasco to be the best choice. Its few ingredients  rate it the hottest in our book.

Brianna George is a Copy Editor for The Patriot and