Posted August 6, 2005 by Nick Lindauer in Reviews

Busha Browne’s Pukka Hot Pepper Sauce

Pukka Sauce has been one of my favorite hot sauces for a while. I use it primarily as a table sauce, but I’ve added a few dollops to my cooking from time to time. While it’s certainly not a mild sauce by any stretch of imagination, it’s also not a super duper third degree burns on your tongue style sauce. For the purposes of this review, I put it through four tests of taste, and here are the results:

1. Direct application

The old toothpick dipped in, applied to tongue test. Because the sauce is based on Scotch Bonnet Peppers, Pukka Sauce packs a (pleasant) punch. The sensation never quite passes into the pain spectrum, although it does flirt with it, depending on the size of the dollop on your toothpick. Most long time chileheads will be able to tolerate and enjoy this sauce with no problems. People new to the hot sauce experience should probably keep a glass of milk and a slice of white bread handy, just in case.

2. Sprinkled on Cheese Fries

Pukka Sauce did really well in this test. The slight sweetness of the sauce is balanced perfectly by the tart vinegar, which reacts to the cheese on the fries, and makes an ooey gooey spicy treat to remember. Delicious!

3. Used in a sandwich

This is the one area I felt that Pukka Sauce kind of let me down on. On most hot sandwiches it did quite well, as most hot sauces will, but on a cold turkey and muenster sandwich (whole grain bread), the sauce was entirely too sweet, making the flavor of the sandwich all wrong for me.

4. Used in my secret Hot Sauce Showcase recipe

A bit of explanation is necessary here. Growing up one of my favorite dishes in India was Rajma. It’s kind of a vegetarian chili that’s spicy, but not really hot. When I moved to the US, I tried to learn to make it myself, with disastrous results. Over the last eight years I’ve modified the original recipe a great deal, making it kind of a cross between rajma and chili, and one of the things it’s really good for is to explore what a hot sauce will do to your dish if added when still cooking.

Anyway, Pukka Sauce worked wonderfully in this recipe because of the underlying sweet/tart flavor that blends well into the dish. Usually I have to sweeten the dish artificially (it’s not a sweet dish, but the sugar adds to the complexity of flavor), but that was not required here. The only down side was that I had to add quite a lot of Pukka Sauce to get the dish to the level of heat I like.

Texture and Consistency: The sauce has a vaguely jelly like texture, although it’s still very pourable. I’m not entirely convinced of its consistency from batch to batch. The very first bottle I had was given to me by a friend of mine, and had a white cap. In this one, the heat definitely scored well over the secondary flavors of sweet and tart. The next couple of bottles have had black caps, and haven’t been quite as hot. The one I have right now is not as sweet as the one before, but considerably less hot than the first one. So try a couple of bottles before you make up your mind on this one.

Overall Impression: Good for direct application and cooking in dishes that need a sweet/tart flavor. This sauce is also great as an addition to tomato based pasta sauces, both during cooking and as a table addition while serving. Not so good in a sandwich, and not mind blowingly hot. Good sauce for beginners who have just learned they like and can tolerate hot sauce, and now would like to go on to the next step.

Bottle Descriprion: Crushed scotch bonnet pepper sauce, extra hot and fiery. Use with discretion.

Bonus Bottle Description: In the 19th century, Jamaican Bushas would celebrate their prowess in the saddle by lavish entertaining when they would vie with one another to see whose cook could serve the hottest dishes. Busha Browne’s Authentic (Pukka) Hot Pepper Sauce was originally used as a table sauce and in the preparation of traditional ‘hot’ dishes. Today, pukka pepper sauce also has special application in creole and cajun cooking.

Ingredients: Water, Scotch Bonnet Peppers, Cane Vinegar, Modified Food Starch, Salt, Approved Spices, Grapefruit Seed Extract.

Nick Lindauer

The Original Hot Sauce Blog