For a couple of reasons this review is long overdue. It must have been almost two years ago I got my first taste of Lucky Dog Hot Sauce. I was having lunch with my friend Bob Fukishima at Phat Matt's BBQ at least two years ago when Bob presented me with a giant bottle of hot sauce to try. It was the biggest bottle of hot sauce I'd ever seen. I took the sauce home wondering how in the world I was ever going to eat this much hot sauce. But, much to my surprise, it was gone in about a month. Then I discovered, from Bob, that the sauce wasn't even in production. He'd given me a beta sample of sauce made from some guy he knew. You mean I've found a sauce I like but I can't buy it? What's up with that? Now here I am two years later and Lucky Dog Hot Sauces are in production and I can buy them any time I want. I can even write a review if I want. But that's where the second reason for this review being overdue comes into play. I really don't know if my hot sauce reviews are written in a way that makes sense. I've eaten hot sauces for years and years but up until the last year or so I have not paid a great deal of attention to the different flavor profiles sauces can have. I promised Scot Zalkind, owner of Lucky Dog Hot Sauces, a review a couple of weeks ago. But I keep putting it off because I'm not sure I really explain my thoughts about the product.
Part of my hesitation for writing hot sauce reviews is I’m probably caught up in the stereotypical hot sauce reviewer. You and I have both seen the You Tube video of some “chili-head” eating something so hot it causes their face to turn bright red and screaming fits of painful agony come out of their mouth. I love hot sauce, I love heat and I love the burn and sweating that comes along with a good hot sauce. But I don’t like my hot sauce to burn my taste buds and lips to the point where I can’t enjoy the food I’ve often spent so much time preparing. I didn’t want to have my fellow hot sauce reviews think I’m a wimp. But I’ve decided the best way to review Lucky Dog Hot Sauces or any other hot sauces is to just not worry whether I’m “doing it right.”
So here goes…
Lucky Dog Hot Sauces come in three flavors.
“Red Label” –A hot sauce made with a combination of fire-roasted Habanero, Serrano and Jalapeno peppers blended with a little cayenne for balance. A “medium” heat sauce.
“Orange Label” –A hot sauce also made with fire-roasted Habanero, Serrano and Jalapeno peppers also blended with a little cayenne. A little roasted garlic and a splash of cider vinegar. A “hot” heat sauce.
“Green Label” — Made with jalapeno and Serrano and packed with lots of garlic and a little white vinegar. A “mild” sauce.
The flavors come in bottles that are almost identical except the color of the labels. I’m probably nit-picking a little but the labeling, as awesome and attractive as they are is one of two issues I have with Lucky Dog products. The color system with explanation on the back of the bottle is a little confusing. Ordering mail order isn’t a problem with this labeling but if the products are going to ever be on found of store shelves this might be a problem.
What do I think of Lucky Dog Hot Sauces? I love them. All three of them. My favorite is the “red” label. It has enough heat to satisfy my need for a little burn and forehead sweat without losing the flavors of the food I’m putting it on. I like a hot sauce that I can pour on my food if I want. I don’t want to have to count the drops as I add them to my plate, I don’t want to have to worry about adding too much. With all three Lucky Sauces I don’t have that concern.
The sauces are more flavorful than hot. That’s not to say they aren’t hot or don’t have a nice burn it’s just that you can actually taste the care put into balancing the peppers with garlic, onions, vinegar and other ingredients. It’s far to easy for someone to make a sauce so hot you can’t taste. It takes skill and passion to develop a flavor profile and still get some heat. It’s obvious Scott has taken a great deal of care in developing his sauces. Look I don’t know if, from a chili-head standpoint, these are good sauces, but what I do know is that I like them. The sauces taste good. I’m not sure what else you can ask for.
From a flavor standpoint I have no complaints with Lucky Dog Hot Sauces. I already mentioned my petty complaint about the labeling. The only other issue, and again it’s a little one, is the consistency of “red” label. It’s just a little too thick for the opening in the top. For me it had a tendency to plug the opening. I discussed this with Scott and since I seem to be the only person to mention it I’m almost thinking I shouldn’t mention it, but I am. Certainly it’s not much of a problem since the “red” label is my favorite sauce.
You can buy Lucky Dog Hot Sauce from direct from Scott at www.luckydoghotsauce.com.