Encona Creole Pepper Sauce (Hot Sauce Odyssey #1)
OK, let’s strike while the iron is hot and all that. Here comes the first hot sauce review! Whoo! It is, of course, at this point that I give you the disclaimer that these posts are going to be basically filler (if they appear at all), and are unlikely to be 1,000-2,000 word ruminations on The State Of Hot Sauce In The World Today. They are just going to be quick ‘n’ dirty reviews. Mainly for my entertainment. Wow. I’m really churning out the horrible intros this week.
I figure some headings might be useful, to structure my thoughts and all that, and so I will be adapting them from my beer review headings, which reminds me that I really should be penning some beer-y thoughts rather than this nonsense, especially after all this fun beer-based discussion yesterday.
So, Encona Creole Pepper Sauce. Encona seems to be the most readily available hot sauce where I am. Mainly it is their standard hot sauce you can find, but there are plenty of other varieties available. Generally it can be found lurking in the back of those strange grocery stores that are open all hours and that stock all kinds of weird and wonderful stuff. But it is a pretty cheap, mainstream hot sauce. This isn’t obscuro elitist stuff.
Aside: There is a Mexican fast food place near my work that sells some hot sauces on the side. They try to pass off the Encona sauces as rare, and worth spending £3.99 on, when you can buy the very same sauces for a quarter of that price in the shop three doors down. This equally amuses and annoys me. In fact, this particular Mexican fast food place annoys me for all manner of reasons, but I think that is a rant of very limited benefit to you the reader, so I’ll return to the review now.
Encona bottles are serviceable. Not ugly, but not really that much fun. There is a drawing of a boat and a beach on the label. This is not really enough to make me feel like I’m in Barbados when I’m partaking in the sauce, which is a shame as my current bottle is sitting on my desk at work. I think it is important to have hot sauce available at all times. You never know when a poor lunch might benefit from some heat. It also frees up cupboard space at home. I’m not sure if it makes me look a bit grim, though, working around piles of paper, empty water bottles and crusty old hot sauce bottles.
It is yellow. It has little bits in it. It doesn’t look particularly appetising. It also looks mild, which is deceptive.
It is HOT on the Encona Sauce Scale, and I have to agree. Yet…there is much more to it than that. There is mustard in the sauce (hence the yellowness) and I love mustard. I probably have more mustards at home than hot sauces. I even made some for my wedding to give to the male guests (the women got some local honey, for those keeping score). And the mustard gives the sauce a much more rounded flavour, which you can appreciate before the heat kicks in. It is pretty tangy, but not in that horrible chemical way ‘tangy’ things often are.
Well, this is my second bottle of the stuff, so I think it is a keeper.
A great table sauce that seems quite versatile in its uses. Thumbs up etc.
On what kinds of food would one pour Encona Creole Pepper Sauce? Creole is very different from Mexican food.
Yeah, that would have actually been helpful, wouldn’t it? I guess it is best suited to your standard Caribbean fare, but I could still see it just about working with Mexican food. I imagine it would be pretty tasty with fries, or with its mustard element in a burger, and I added it to a cheese sandwich yesterday and it worked surprisingly well. It could probably offer a good kick to most bland junk foods, or foods that already work well with mustard, like pork. So, it is quite versatile.
Now, the real challenge is to find beers that work well with spicy foods that aren’t just gassy, tasteless generic lagers…
There’s a hot sauce store about two miles from my house. They have a rack of hot sauce, covered by a curtain, which features a sign that reads, “XXX Hot Sauce! Must be 18 to view!” and when you peek under, the hot sauces have names like, “Hot Damn Hot Ass Tabasco” with a comically drawn picture of a horse farting fire.
The steepest learning curve I’ve faced here in New Mexico is to keep “chili” and “chile” straight. “Chili” is the soup; “chile” is the pepper itself. You also pronounce them differently, one’s like “chilly” and the other’s like “chee-lay” but I forget which is which; I’m pretty sure the soup is “chilly.”
I tend to avoid hot sauce with comedy labels, in much the same way that I steer clear of beers with silly names. They seem only a step away from wearing a novelty tie. I never want to be considered “wacky”.
The chile/chili stuff sounds very confusing. Why must everything be so complicated?
There’s apparently a niche market for hot sauces too spicy for human consumption. I’d hate to spill any of that on my novelty tie.
I ate there on Thursday. Great food, attentive sevcrie, not a fast-food place. I ate the Cuban Steak. Strongly recommended for all except vegetarians and vegans.
Thank you for your great write up, Steve – We have featured your blog over at our official Facebook Page Wall here:
Hey, thanks for the link! I am now an even bigger fan of Encona!
Look at you!
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