Posted August 25, 2005 by Adam in Reviews

Review: Big Daddy Jake’s Texas Pit Smoked Hot Sauce

My eyes lit up when I pulled this small, unassuming bottle from its bubble wrap cocoon. I smiled, secretly knowing why I had been given this particular sauce to review. I had told Nick that I was really into chipotle sauces right now, despite America’s faddish obsession with anything called so. Also, the fact that it was called Texas Pit and that it is bottled in Texas probably are the other reasons it sits in on my kitchen counter right now.

Let me back up a moment. I called the bottle small and unassuming. That it is. But the label is not unassuming at all. Enough to get anyone’s attention right away is the picture of a grown man dressed up in a white dress. It reminds me of that guy that was selling the wedding dress on eBay last year. When I accepted my position as contributor to the Hot Sauce Blog, I had a suspicion that I would be sent some bottle of hot sauce with a black label and a skull and crossbones on it that said, ‘Eat this and die!’

But no. I get a dude in a dress.

Visual  So let’s get down to it. Despite the humorous quality of the packaging, Big Daddy Jake’s Hot Sauce does not disappoint when it comes to setting things on fire. Through the clear glass bottle I could see that the sauce takes on a brownish hue with yellow and greenish tinges of color. Of course looks can always be deceiving when it comes to hot sauce; but I had the feeling there was some serious whupass lurking within its murky depths.

Before I even had a taste, I turned the bottle over to check out the ingredients list. Much to my surprise, vinegar was not the number one ingredient, nor was water. The number one ingredient was smoked pepper, and lot’s up them to boot. The list included banana orange habanero, red and yellow scotch bonnet, serrano, guajillo, cayenne, and ancho. Strange – not one mention of napalm anywhere.

Beyond that was the usual assortment of vinegar, water, syrups, onion, salt, etc. But what really struck me as very impressive was the absence of strange chemicals that you might find on a cheeto bag. No msg, no sodium benzoate, no colorings, none of that phony baloney stuff. Just plain, pure ingredients. Big Daddy Jake had gone up one notch in my book, and I hadn’t even tasted it yet.

Smell  Smoked, definitely smoked. Sure, the label doesn’t say chipotle, but that’s what chipotle means. Smoked. The vinegar was just a mere hint of smell behind the smoky smell of the roasted peppers.

Flavor: Big Daddy Jakes’ hot sauce has a very strong flavor of smoke. It borders on the edge of too much smoke flavor, and it even tends to taste burnt at times. Other than that, the flavor is very good. The banana habaneros and the scotch bonnet flavors really shine after having been smoked, and the maple syrup cuts the sour of the vinegar, an added bonus in my opinion.

The Heat  There is no doubt about it; Big Daddy Jake’s brings the heat. But the manner is very strange. I liken it to this phrase: In like a lion, and out like a lamb. The heat of the habaneros comes on strong right from the start. It sticks around for only a minute or two, then is gone. This is a very strange occurrence, as most hot sauces tend to pack a punch and leave you hurting long afterward. I suppose this is due to the addition of the maple syrup.

I would recommend this sauce for any type of food that you might expect a chipotle sauce to be used. Grilled pork and chicken would do nice, as well as grilled shrimp. I spiced up my ham and cheese sandwich by mixing the hot sauce with a little bit of mayonnaise. It’s a concoction I like to call Ten Mile Island Dressing. Just mix 3 parts real mayonnaise with one to two parts of the Big Daddy Jake’s Smoked Hot Sauce.

Incidentally, I mixed the dressing in an empty baby food jar. Later, when TheWife arrived, I said, “I put a baby food jar in the fridge on the bottom shelf with the letter ‘F’ on the lid. Please don’t feed it to the baby.”

“What is it?”

“Spicy mayonnaise.”

“What’s the ‘F’ for?”


Overall, I really liked this hot sauce and would recommend it to intermediate hot sauce users for the heat, and for advanced hot sauce users for the flavor addition to other foods. I thought the flavor was great, thought the smokiness could be reduced slightly. A great hot sauce with a funny label. I can’t wait to try Big Daddy Jake’s Mango Habanero Jelly.

Rating: 7 out of 10 chiles.