When you love hot sauce it is no surprise that you develop a collection of favorite brands from your local markets. Some are replenished quite regularly while others are used infrequently and forgotten over time for reasons you may not be quite aware of. For me, a good store-bought hot sauce is judged on how it highlights the pure pepper flavor without getting too caught up in flavor additives (aka. “spices”) and thickening agents. I think if hot sauce is too thick to pour pour relatively easily from the bottle, its a no-go for me.
Under close observation, Trappey’s Red Devil, Goya Salsa Picante and “Louisiana” all feature a vinegar based heat using peppers from the southern United States, while Mexican based brands like El Yucateco and Cholula’s original tend to focus less on vinegar and serve you a purely pepper flavor but with minimal “spices” added. A runner-up worth mentioning is a Jamaican brand, Grace Scotch Bonnet hot pepper sauce with an exotic Caribbean intoxicating pepper flavor but a strangely thick consistency due to added “modified food starch”.