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Well, really the main two types of the spicy tomato and chili-based preparations that many Texans generically refer to as "hot sauce" are either salsa or proper hot sauce. Within those two categories there are many different types of "salsa" and there are many different types of "hot sauce". Here we'll break them down for you.
Hot sauces are a condiment where the ingredients are pureed or strained making a liquid of varying consistency. Among the many preparations of hot sauce, there is only one common ingredient: chili peppers. While there are are several different processes used to create hot sauce, all our varieties are of the Fermented Hot Sauce method, so we put that full description on it's own page.
Louisiana-style Hot Sauces: Usually made with tabasco and/or cayenne peppers, these are often what people think of when calling to mind mass-produced hot sauce. The fundamental ingredient on hot wings!
-Tabasco original(the granddaddy of them all)
-Frank's Red Hot: By volume, more popular than even Tabasco
-Crystal Hot Sauce: Beloved by Louisianans
-Louisiana Hot Sauce
Mexican-Style Hot Sauces: Made with lots of smoked and/or dried pods as well as local ingredients. They usually focus more on flavor and less on heat.
-Cholula Hot Sauce: The wooden cap.
-Valentina: Your basic Mexican hot sauce.
-Tapatio: A favorite of many.
Sriracha: In recent years, Sriracha hot sauce has exploded in popularity. Our take on the variety, Texas Sriracha, is fantastic! Srirachas are made with a mash, fermented and usually have sugar and garlic in addition to the usual hot sauce ingredients, usually with a thicker consistency. It has a magical property to be able to be wonderfully mixed with many other condiments for a "sriracha-version" of that condiment. (Sriracha mayo anyone?) Check out our version of Sriracha Sauce!
-Huy Fong (Rooster Sauce)
Artisan/Craft Hot Sauces: These are the literally hundreds of small and not-so-small companies and mom-and-pops that make a seemingly endless variety of hot sauces of almost any imaginable type. This is what makes the hot sauce industry so very interesting, and has spawned an entire movement. From hot sauce specialty shops, chili-head websites, major annual hot sauces competitions, TV shows and on and on. This is why we're here!
To our knowledge, most of the major brands are fermented, you'll find these cooked (sauteed) recipes usually at your local taqueria or often homemade. Generally the peppers and other vegetables are sauteed or simmered and then processed in a food processor with a small amount of vinegar and oil.
Fresh Salsa: These salsas are generally uncooked and found in restaurants or homemade. There are many many types of fresh salsa, some standard like Salsa Verde(green), Salsa Roja(red), Salsa Ranchera(warm and peppery), and then there are the "whatever you want to call them" salsas. Hundreds of them. Fruits, specialty peppers, smoked, thin, thick, creamy, chunky.... Truly a wild wild west of variety!
Since in Spanish "picante" means spicy, and "salsa" means sauce, technically Picante Sauce is salsa, but not all salsa is picante sauce. For instance, Pico de Gallo (generally diced tomato, chilies, onion, cilantro and lime juice) is usually very mild although that can be controlled by the amount of chilies used in the preparation. A lot of the Fruity Salsas are very mild as well.
Prepared Salsa: These salsas, the type you find in jars in grocery stores or specialty shops, are cooked for shelf life. Again, many varieties, mainly the standard previously mentioned but also a large variety in some stores of the more unusual types. The famous Pace Picante Sauce is of course of the prepared variety. Picante sauces are generally thinner in consistency than salsas. We won't mention the unneeded travesty that is "Pace Picante Sauce - Mild".