I’m a chili-head and have so been for a good 50 years. By chili I usually mean bottled sauces as well any hot cuisine typically Indian, Indonesian, Thai, Mexican and so on – bring it on.
Regarding the bottled sauces, I’m often asked which I rate as the best. Having tried literally dozens over the years my day-to-day chili sauce is Endorphin Rush (Scoville 33,390). Endorphin Rush, surprisingly hailing from Chicago, has a beautiful balance of flavorful richness and depth (not the overpoweringly brutal pepper as many are) with a nice lush viscosity, and is still up there in strength though hardly anywhere near the strongest.
- Avoid novelty bottles. Typically you are paying for what might be amusing packaging but if it’s quality you are after, then this is wasted money. They do make nice knickknacks for a man cave though. I’ve seen a few macho-men brought to their knees uttering curse words that would make a sailor blush, when despite my warnings, insisted on demonstrating their Scoville mettle. They godda learn the hard way.
- Avoid the highly runny ones. Few chili or hot sauces that are vinegar-based are decent but two that do meet muster are Ass Kickin‘ and Tabasco — but they really don’t figure highly on the Scoville scale.
- You do not need to refrigerate.
- Strong but top-notch chili sauce can really lift a stew without anyone realizing the “scary” ingredient. Dave’s is good for this – I often used a couple of drops of Dave’s insanity sauce special reserve, millennium edition to achieve this but one doesn’t have to use such a fancy sauce — Endorphin Rush will work perfectly.
Possibly the most informative chili online resource is Scott Roberts.