#3 brings us to Rising Sun Cinnamon Chipotle Hot Sauce from Rising Sun Pepper Farm.
I expected this to be a mild sauce, after all it is an apple based sauce and uses chipotle as the name implies. With a review of the ingredients, I saw that the first ingredient is indeed apple juice, but chipotle is the fifth ingredient of seven. In case you are unaware, ingredients are listed in order of quantity in the recipe. That means that the first ingredient listed has a higher proportion than the second and so on. The fact that chipotle is so far down the line ins’t a surprise; the peppers in hot sauces can often be towards the end of the list, especially if it is a more mild sauce or uses a heavily flavored pepper.
What is a bit of a surprise is that the second ingredient listed is habanero peppers. I went into this thinking I was going to get a nice easy day with this tasting and now I’m thinking I was wrong. To round out the ingredients, we have vinegar, honey, salt, and spices. Seems simple enough.
When I broke the seal on the Apple Cinnamon Chipotle Hot Sauce and took a nice deep whiff, I was instantly reminded of an apple pie. It doesn’t smell exactly like a sweet apple pie, but if you’ve ever had a more savory version that is deeply spiced- that’s what I get from the initial smell. It smells really good and is quite inviting. There is definitely a hint of heat in the scent, but it doesn’t seem overwhelming.
This is an interesting hot sauce for me. I was trying to think of ways to use it in cooking and what it would be really good on. I came up with two things from the get go- brats and roasted potatoes. Probably not at the same time, but I’ve had sausages with apple in them and also roasted potato wedges with apple chunks cooked in. Both were really good and I think adding this hot sauce to regular brats and instead of apple chunks would be even better.
So, it was time to taste. I was a little hesitant to take a spoonful because of the habanero, but I wasn’t so worried that a toothpick taste is in order. So, I pour some in a little sauce cup and grab the old go-to tortilla chips- the real ones and not the mystery grain organic type. The smell was definitely flowing and the apple-cinnamon combination was beckoning to my tastebuds through my nose. Remember those cartoons where the character was pulled by the scent of something cooking in the distance? You know, where the end of the scent “cloud” turned into a hand and pulled them along? That’s what I was thinking. Yes, I did watch a lot of TV as a kid, hence the continual TV references.
As soon as the sauce hits my tongue, the scent is confirmed. There is no doubt that apples are a predominant part of this hot sauce. Coupled with the cinnamon and spices, it makes for a slightly sweet and fruity taste that is really well rounded out to the savory side. Realize that the previous statement and the one to follow all happened within a second or two, but the first taste of pepper is definitely the smokier chipotle. Then, the heat hits. At first, I thought it was going to just be a little kick. It wasn’t just a little kick.
Maybe I was just a bit sensitive to it when I tasted it, but the heat just kept on growing, and growing, and growing. When it finally peaked out, I was already digging through the fridge for something to cool it off as the many sauceless chips I had consumed weren’t helping one bit. By the time I got the cream cheese out and started to destroy the packaging with a knife to get it open, the heat had subsided and the flavor of the apples and cinnamon was back in the forefront. I passed on the coolant and just let it ride.
I was really surprised by the heat on this one. I wasn’t expecting it at all. Maybe that’s why it seemed so hot. I don’t have any potatoes- okay, I do, but I’m not going to go through the process of cooking them from scratch. Sorry. I do have some brats though and conveniently enough, I started the grill before starting this tasting.
I’m going with three methods here. The first is to cook a brat to juicy, plump perfection and then dip it in the hot sauce. The second is to cook it the same way and then dip it in a mixture of the hot sauce and mustard. The last is to paint the hot sauce on during the cooking process.
After it’s all said and done (eaten), I found that straight dipping was just a little too much for my tastes. It wasn’t the heat, as I knew what I was getting into at that point. The brats and the straight sauce dipping just didn’t do it for me. The mustard and sauce combination, however, was a different story. It was really tasty. I used a powdered mustard mixed with just a little bit of water- not as much as you would normally use to mix it. Then, the addition of the sauce made it the perfect consistency. The snap of the mustard added to the bite of the heat and the compliment of savory mustard flavor really made it a delicious dipping sauce. I missed out on having sauerkraut with this one, that would have been amazing.
The last method, painting it on, was also really good. A lot of the heat was subdued in the cooking process, but enough remained to keep a nice heathy kick. The apple and spice flavor remained strong and that flavor matched very well with the brats. I would definitely serve these at a BBQ, even for folks who are not so acclimated to the heat.
The bottom line: 6 plus on heat/7.5 on flavor. If you like savory apple flavor combined with some pretty hefty heat, you’ll love this Rising Sun Apple Cinnamon Chipotle Hot Sauce.
I’m really looking for some more ideas on how to use this one in cooking, so please chime in with ideas and I’ll give them a try.