The New Jersey company of Born to Hula presents a quartet of hot sauces that are by no means original. If you give them a try yourself, you will no doubt feel that you’ve had all of these sauces a dozen times before. There’s a big “but” here… Born to Hula takes these retreaded concepts and does them exceptionally well. Think of them almost as “upgrades” to a lot of familiar favorites: Cayenne Pepper Sauce, Habanero Ancho Chili Sauce, Habanero Guajillo Pepper Sauce and last but not least the smoked jolokia-infused Ghost of Ancho.
Read on to learn more…
Cayenne Pepper Sauce
Ingredients: Distilled white vinegar, red bell pepper, cayenne pepper, garlic, salt, onion powder, lime juice, xanthan gum
This is of course Born to Hula’s entry in the overpopulated Louisiana-style pepper sauce field. This red liquid is a touch thicker than, say, a watery Tabasco, but is still squarely entrenched in splashable territory for those who love their sauces like that. While it has the excepted vinegar and salty kick, Cayenne Pepper Sauce contains a strong burst from cayenne peppers with a less-dominant performance from the lime juice, giving this stuff a more rounded-out flavor. With its mild heat, Cayenne Pepper Sauce is certainly accessible to those who can only take a little bit of fire.
Cayenne Pepper Sauce won’t rock your world yet you’ll find yourself using it with everything. A recommended table sauce-type offering from Born to Hula.
Habanero Guajillo Pepper Sauce
Ingredients: Distilled white vinegar, red bell pepper, guajillo chile, habanero pepper, garlic, salt, onion powder, cumin, lime juice, xanthan gum
Smells bright, peppery and full of cumin, giving notice to your nose that this would pair well with a big bowl of chili or Mexican cuisine. And after a taste, my sniffer did not fail me – this is a great sauce and compliments any South of the border food with virtuosity. This bright red, medium-thin hot sauce blasts your tongue with sensations of twangy vinegar, bright and spicy habanero chiles and the often-neglected guajillo peppers. Supporting roles from cumin, garlic, salt and onion powder make this a stand-out product. It’s got wonderful heat (a 3 on a 1 to 5 scale) and admirable versatility. Born to Hula’s Habanero Guajillo Pepper Sauce is a damn fine sauce.
Habanero Ancho Chili Sauce
Ingredients: Distilled white vinegar, red bell pepper, ancho chile, habanero pepper, ancho powder, garlic, salt, onion powder, cumin, lime juice, xanthan gum
This is probably my least favorite entry from Born to Hula, but it’s still a strong one. Just imagine taking CaJohn’s Oaxacan Sauce, diluting the flavor somewhat, and kicking up the burn and vinegar quotient up a few notches. Powerful ancho, garlic, lime juice, nice smoky and cumin-fueled heat. This too would be lovely on a Mexican-style dinner. It’s similar to the aforementioned Habanero Guajillo Pepper Sauce, yet lacks the nearly perfect punch that it has.
Ghost of Ancho
Ingredients: Distilled white vinegar, red bell pepper, ancho chile, habanero pepper, ancho powder, bhut jolokia powder, garlic, salt, onion powder, cumin, lime juice, xanthan gum
I think too many hot sauce manufacturers rely on smoked bhut jolokias when it comes to a ghost pepper sauce. If you know me, I’m not a huge fan of bhuts that are heavily smoked; I prefer the natural, fruity flavor of the chile pepper to shine through in a sauce.
Luckily, Born to Hula doesn’t overdo it with Ghost of Ancho. It’s able to skillfully juggle all of the ingredients and only uses a light smokiness to compliment a terrific balance of tastes from ancho chile peppers, habaneros, vinegar, lime juice, garlic and onions. Ghost of Ancho is another all-purpose sauce that would especially excel on burritos, chiles rellanos, tacos and steak fajitas.
It’s got killer heat without venturing too far into “one drop and it will slaughter you” territory – it’s probably a 3.5 or 4 out of 5 when it comes to a burn.
I’m impressed by the entire Born to Hula lineup. This young sauce company sells their products in standard 5 oz. woozy bottles for $5.00 a pop (with the exception of $6.50 for their Ghost of Ancho) at http://www.borntohula.com