Posted May 24, 2007 by Nick Lindauer in Reviews

Review: Blue’s BBQ Habanero Reserve Hot Sauce

Blue's BBQ Habanero Reserve Hot Sauce Blue's BBQ Habanero Reserve Hot Sauce

It’s here, it’s here! Well… more like, it’s finally available to buy! First annouced here on the HSB on March 12th and followed by the announcement of a collector’s edition on March 30th, Steve Burnham is finally ready to sell Blue’s BBQ Reserve to the masses! And boy has he ever done that! Hot Shots has picked up his sauce and I’m sure Peppers won’t wait around too long before picking it up either.

Blue's BBQ Habanero Reserve Hot Sauce

I’ve talked with Steve for quite some time, since writing the review for the Original Carolina Pepper Sauce and I’m very pleased to see that all of the feedback that he reached out for from chileheads around the globe has made it’s way into Blue’s Habanero Reserve. (Little known fact: It was originally named Blue’s Habanera Reserve) In fact, back in November of ’06, I sent the following feedback to Steve:

Steve –
Just gave v2 another whirl, here are my “back of the envelop” notes:
– Color & Appearance: Looks like a Bloody Mary mix.
– Smell: I smell tomato sauce with a bit of spice.
– Thickness; Notably thicker then the original version, but still fairly thin.
– Taste: First, the taste of tomatoes/tomato sauce hits your tongue. Then it’s followed up by the full flavor of the sauce ““ spices and all.
– Heat: Does not seem to be as hot as the first version, but my tasters could be off today.

Overall: I like this sauce ““ I think you’ve got a winner on your hands. I would like the heat to be a bit hotter, since you are going for a Habanero theme ““ I think the heat needs to hit the back of the throat a bit more. Maybe reduce the tomatoes and add a few more habaneros. But all that being said, I’m still going to finish off this bottle!

Blue's BBQ Habanero Reserve Hot Sauce

Ingredients: Lemon Juice, Cider Vinegar, Fresh Red Savina(tm) Habanero Peppers, Tomato, Cayenne Pepper, Chili Pepper, Black Pepper, Sugar, Salt, Garlic, Xanthan Gum.

So how does the final product compare to what I tried in November? I don’t have that bottle to do an exact comparison, but judging from my notes above, the final version is an improvement of great magnitude.

– Color & Appearance: Deep red color with visible evidence of peppers (seeds) and black pepper
– Smell: The first thing I smell are the red savina peppers, followed by a lemon scented vinegar wave and then the additional spices & seasonings.
– Thickness: This sauce pours very well but doesn’t go all over the place. The consistency is perfect – pourable, yet it holds steady on food – none of that running all over mess.
– Taste: Now I see why it’s called “Habanero Reserve” – Steve estimates that there are at least 10 red savinas in each bottle (in a 150 gallon run, 265lbs of red savinas are used). The first taste is of the habaneros, followed by the lemon & vinegar and then the additional spices (just like the smell).
– Heat: With red savinas being the first thing that you taste – it’s not the full force, knock you off your chair type of heat, but more along the lines of the sit back and enjoy the pleasant burn heat. I’d give it a 7 on the HSB Heat Scale

Overall: Blue’s Habanero Reserve isn’t just habs – it has what I could only describe as a “Blues” BBQ element to it. When you first taste it, yes, you get the full flavor of the red savinas, but they are quickly mellowed by the other elements in the sauce and all of the ingredients play together to create a nice melody for your mouth. Steve has stepped beyond the SAS (specific application sauce) that was the Original Carolina Pepper Sauce and created a hot sauce that I’m more the happy to use on anything that I come across. If you haven’t gotten yourself a bottle of Blue’s Habanero Reserve yet, then head on over to BluesBBQ.net and drop Steve a note on the “Let Us Know” page of the site. Just make sure to order 4 or more bottles (1 to keep and 3 or more to eat)!

Blue’s BBQ, INC.
1260 Boswell Court
Concord, NC 28027

Nick Lindauer

The Original Hot Sauce Blog