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Hot Sauce Is for Adventurers

Hot sauce may hurt, but it hurts so good! People who love hot sauce and other spicy condiments are significantly more open to taking risks than their counterparts who prefer blander foods. Hot sauce recipes typically call for chili peppers and an acid like vinegar or citrus juice. The active ingredient in chili peppers is a molecule called capsaicin, which dampens the pain signals sensory neurons send to the brain and also speeds up the metabolism.

What are Scoville heat units?

Hot sauce heat is measured by using a metric called the Scoville scale. Scoville units describe the amount of sugar water you’d need to neutralize the heat in an equivalent amount of hot sauce. Thus, if you have a teaspoon of a habanero-based chili sauce with a Scoville rating of 100,000, that means it would take 100,000 teaspoons of sugar water to dilute that chili sauce to zero heat.

Sweet bell peppers with a Scoville rating of less than 100 are the mildest peppers in the chili family. Sauces made with jalapenos and poblano chilis typically score between 2,500 and 20,000. Habanero- and scotch bonnet-based sauces range between 100,000 and 350,000 while sauces made from Bhut Jolokia aka the Ghost Pepper top the Scoville charts at 855,000 to 1,463,000. Commercial pepper spray is around 2,500,000 Scoville units, and pure capsaicin maxes out at 15,000,000 Scoville units.

What are novelty hot sauces?

While most chili sauces are manufactured as condiments, some hot sauces are manufactured purely to be hot. These novelty hot sauces often have humorous names and slogans that incorporate words and phrases like "100% Pain," "Insanity," "Mad Dog" and "Death."

Although these sauces can be used to add heat without flavor when you’re cooking up a batch of firehouse chili, more often than not, they’re collectibles that sit unopened on the rack. Fanatical chili heads are willing to pay a pretty penny for the right novelty hot sauce: A bottle of Blair’s 16 Million Reserve, for example, will set you back more than $500.

Content provided for informational purposes only. eBay is not affiliated with or endorsed by Blair's Death Hot Sauces & Snacks.