A few weeks ago during our regular Sunday morning farmer’s market trip, B and I noticed a vendor selling hot sauce. B loves his hot sauce, but not just any hot sauce. It needs to be spicy and flavorful, something that many hot sauces fail to achieve. His current favorite (prior to this fateful encounter) was Habanero Tabasco; I buy six large bottles at a time (to save on shipping!), so we are always well-stocked and he can spice up whatever meal he wants. We have probably thrown away more hot sauces than we have enjoyed, but we keep trying new ones to see if we can find anything interesting, tasty, and satisfying to our selective palates.
We approached the Lucky Dog Hot Sauce stand at the Newark, CA farmer’s market and had a nice chat with the owner, Scott. He told us about how he created his hot sauces, how he keeps his ingredients and flavor consistent, and why he doesn’t really like to call his products “hot sauces”. He prefers to call them “fire-roasted pepper sauces” since that is what sets them apart from other hot sauces. His sauces are the only ones I know of that use fire-roasted chilies instead of extracts and dried chilies (though he does use some of those, too). He also uses carrot juice in his products, which adds sweetness while reducing the need for added sugar. These two ingredients, along with fresh garlic and lime juice, add a uniqueness and a depth of flavor I have never tasted before in a hot sauce.
Now, I should mention that I typically don’t like hot sauces. I love spicy food, and my mother-in-law will attest to the fact that I like and can tolerate food hotter than she can! However, most hot sauces I have tasted are too vinegary, too blindly hot, or just unappealing in flavor. I might want the food spicy, but if the sauce doesn’t enhance the flavor of the food, then it is not something I’m interested in. When something good comes along, I find that I must embrace it, and I truly love Lucky Dog hot sauces.
The best thing about Lucky Dog sauces is that they are fresh-tasting. In fact, that was B’s first reaction when we tried them for the first time: “It just tastes so…fresh!” And indeed, these sauces taste almost like an ultra-spicy salsa (and I’ll bet they would be a great addition to guacamole or homemade salsa). They are also low in sugar, which I love. I also love that Lucky Dog is a local company founded by someone who took his passion for hot sauce to another level. Scott clearly knows what he is talking about, and his hot sauces reflect both his knowledge of sauce-making and his enthusiasm for delicious, high-quality, spicy sauces.
So far, we have tried all of the sauces available on the Lucky Dog website (they are also available at farmer’s markets and some stores throughout the Bay Area and California). The mild (green label) is definitely NOT mild, but it is the mildest of the three available varieties and my personal favorite. B likes the orange label best (the hottest one), but last week when we stopped to chat with Scott, he had a new beta version of an extra-hot chili sauce that uses Trinidad Scorpion peppers for extra heat and apple sauce and dried figs to add sweetness and complexity. While Scott is still tweaking the recipe for this sauce, it is B’s new favorite, and I’m sure we’ll be making a trip to the farmer’s market and to buy a few bottles before it’s gone!
I don’t usually incorporate hot sauces into my cooking; instead I view them as a condiment that can be added as sparingly or liberally as each individual prefers. That said, I have loved the green label sauce (mild) on grilled shrimp, barbequed chicken, confetti latkes, corn quesadillas, and tri-tip. The red label (medium) was good on my stir fry instead of sriracha. B has put the orange label (hot) and now the beta version (extra-hot) on just about everything. I’m guessing that any of the sauces would also be great paired with some avocado (or mixed into guacamole), in a salad dressing, and with other types of grilled meat. If you like to add some heat and flavor to your food, then I would highly recommend you get your hands on some Lucky Dog sauces!
Now, for the giveaway! When I asked Scott about doing a giveaway here at Half Indian Cook, he generously offered to send a lucky winner a Trio of Lucky Dog Hot Sauces. Just click on the link and follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter widget below and I’ll select a winner next week!
- Please follow all the rules (including the mandatory entries in the widget above) or I will have disqualify you.
- You must be a U.S. resident for this giveaway (sorry, international fans!).
- Please use a valid email address when entering.
- If you win, I will contact you via email and request your mailing address, which I will then pass on to Scott so he can send you your hot sauce! Please respond within 48 hours or I will have to pick a new winner.
This post is linked to Tasty Traditions.