Tahiti Joe's Hot Sauces

Hot sauces can be categorized in a variety of ways. Heat level is the most obvious characteristic. They're also often grouped by pepper type. Additionally, the sauce's origin can generally be traced back to one of three main regions: Mexico, The Caribbean or Asia.

Though countless quality sauces can be found from any of the aforementioned categories, I'm always on the lookout for "outsiders". When I discovered Tahiti Joe's, I was immediately intrigued. Their line of hot pepper sauces runs the complete spectrum of heat levels while the ingredients and flavors have a distinct Polynesian flare.

Despite what their branding and flavors would indicate, Tahiti Joe's is not based in the South Pacific. The sauces are produced in West Palm Beach Florida.  There also appears to be an Ohio connection based on a couple novelty offerings. As a die hard Wolverine, I can't say that I approve of their "Buck U Michigan" offering, but I'll try not to hold that against them.There are currently eleven different sauces in the Tahiti's Joe's lineup plus nine additional sauces in their Maui Pepper line (to be reviewed at a later date).

The eleven Tahiti Joe's sauces range from tongue tingling spicy to hotter than ghost pepper hell. Each one also features sweet, complex Polynesian flavor profiles that make them very unique in the hot sauce market. I won't be able to review EVERY flavor offering, but I'll address a couple of my favorites in this review and circle back to some of their other offerings at a later date.

As with any company that offers multiple products, I like to start with the original product. Every sauce company starts with that original flavor that was just soooo good that they had to bottle it for the masses. For Tahiti Joe's, it was the Polynesian hot sauce.

Polynesian hot sauce blends habenero and jalapeno peppers with vinegar for a spicy, tangy base. Most hot sauces would stop right there, but it's the additional ingredients that separates Polynesian (and all Tahiti Joe's sauces) from the pack. Clam juice, honey, tomatoes, carrots, garlic and parmesan cheese are all crammed into the 5 oz. bottle.

The result is a really complex melody of sweet, savory and spicy flavors. The flavor is so good that the heat takes a back seat. The moderate spice is tolerable, but does build steadily. The rich, well rounded flavor was a fantastic surprise. The sweet elements are great with fish tacos. If you can stand the heat, Polynesian makes an incredible wing sauce as well.

After thoroughly enjoying Tahiti Joe's Polynesian Hot Sauce, I decided to tackle their hottest sauce, Uhane Akai XXXX Hot Sauce. This sauce uses the infamous ghost pepper (as well as habeneros) as its heat source. Like all Tahiti Joe's sauces, the peppers are accented by a variety of unique ingredients like key lime juice, clam juice, honey and ginger. Unfortunately, with a sauce this hot, the other ingredients aren't necessary.

Flavor be damned with Uhane Akai. I'm fairly certain that your taste buds totally shut done as soon as a drop of this evil concoction hits your tongue. Like all the other extreme hot sauces that I've tasted over the years, I have a hard time evaluating the sauce's merits. I can't exactly say that I "enjoy" it. On the other hand, the sauce delivers on its promises. It's CRAZY HOT!

In a crowded hot sauce market, Tahiti Joe's is in a category of its own. Infused with sweet and savory elements of the South Pacific, their original Polynesian Hot Sauce is as good as it gets. Uhane Akai will singe, sear, and blister your tongue. If your the type of sadist that enjoys those sort of sensations, then grab a bottle and have at it. Based on the initial impressions that first two sauces made, I can't wait to try their other offerings.

Check out Tahiti Joe's entire sauce lineup at http://tahitijoeshotsauces.com/

Polynesian Hot Sauce: (5/5)
Uhane Akai: (4/5)

Sugar Hill Smoke House Sweet & Tangy BBQ Sauce

Sugar Hill is sleepy Atlanta suburb in Northern Georgia. It's also the namesake for Mike O'Rourke's newly produced BBQ sauce. The Georgia native's sauce is a blend based on childhood memories of the tangy vinegar dip used by the local smokehouse as well as the sweet, tomato based recipe that his mother brewed at home.

The result is a medium / thin red sauce that's both sweet and tangy (as stated on the label). Sugar Hill Smokehouse BBQ Sauce is packaged in standard 16 oz. glass bottles. The label / logo is simple, but appealing.

Like many Georgia sauces, Sugar Hill Smokehouse also includes a fair amount of mustard. This balances the sweetness and adds to the tang. The all natural sauce is sweetened with sugar and molasses (no HFCS). The spices / seasonings include the usual suspects.

I first used Sugar Hill as a finishing glaze for two nicely trimmed racks of St. Louis ribs. The sauce looked fantastic on the racks. It brushed on smoothly and created a great glossy shine. The color darkened just a bit under the heat, giving the ribs a magnificent mahogany bark.

The flavor of the sauce held up well to the heat. It lost a bit of tang, but a hint of mustard was still evident. The sugars got richer and deeper which complimented the salty rub and smokey meat. The sauce made the each bone appropriately sweet and sticky.

I later poured Sugar Hill Sweet & Tangy over a mound of smoked pork shoulder. I love tossing smoked pork into medium/thin tangy sauces. Sugar Hill proved to be a perfect BBQ sandwich sauce. It's thin enough to penetrate every piece of pulled pork, but thick enough to stand on it's own and be poured over the sandwich.

Sugar Hill Smokehouse Sweet & Tangy is great because of it's versatility. It's the style of sauce I constantly have on hand. It's suitable for nearly any BBQ application. Additionally, since it doesn't feature any real extreme flavors, it's the type of sauce that nearly everyone will enjoy.

Pick up a bottle of this delightful sauce Here.

Rating: (4/5)

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