Posted May 24, 2006 by John in Reviews

Review: Capitol Punishment’s Red Roasted Gar-Banero Hot Sauce

The Gar-Banero is a lively, red-colored sauce with a very smooth texture, a few seeds floating around, and an easy to pour consistency which sticks to food very well. The aroma is of garlic and vinegar. The label reads, “Super Hot Habs meet with kickin’ roasted garlic and shallots to make this flavorful and punishing sauce.”

Ingredients: Red Habaneros, vinegar, water, onions, garlic, carrots, shallots, sugar, salt, herbs.

On First Taste
The flavor of the Gar-Banero [tag]hot sauce[/tag] is an evenly balanced blend of garlic, vinegar, and pepper taste. The vinegar is plentiful but well used, and plays well with the roasty flavors. The taste is much more comprehensive than a typical red vinegar sauce; the whole amalgamation come off with a single, bold flavor rather than as isolated components. Enjoying the flavor, I doused a cracker with a decent sized puddle and downed it.

A few seconds after that hit my tongue, the true nature of the Gar-Banero was unleashed. A significant and completely unexpected fire erupted in my mouth. It was similar to the heat you get from an extract sauce, or from eating a very small piece of a habanero directly – a veritable kick in the mouth. In fact, the heat was so high that it made me forget about the flavors all together.

Heat Analysis
After letting my tongue cool down for a while, and still in a bit of shock about the wallop this non-extract sauce packed, I was curious to test exactly how hot the Gar-Banero was. Since I don’t have an HPLC machine on hand, I tried to compare it to known quantities. Which means, it’s just my perception of how hot the sauce is relative to others, and may not necessarily indicate the real Scoville rating of the sauce. That disclaimer aside, I began by taking a drop of Endorphin Rush (mild extract sauce, 33,000 SHU) and letting it burn out – about 1.5 minutes. Then, a drop of Blair’s After Death (50,000 SHU) and let that burn out, about 4 minutes. Finally, I tried an equal sized drop of the Gar-Banero; I did that one last to make sure that any tolerance I was building up worked against the Gar-Banero, since I didn’t want to overstate it’s heat.

The Gar-Banero took just under 3 minutes to burn out. Furthermore, it was a far sharper, more potent heat than the Endorphin rush. It was not as intense as the After Death, but it wasn’t far behind. No doubt about it, this sauce is a legitimate scorcher hiding in the innocence of a red vinegar sauce!

On Food

For my repertoire, red vinegar sauces are a bit limited by nature. But I do quite enjoy them on breakfast food. So, I took the wife out to breakfast to put the Gar-Banero through it’s paces. I used the sauce on a tomato, onion, mushroom and cheese omelet and on sausage links on the side. The Gar-Banero performed extremely well, and had me in a full forehead mist by the end of the meal.

In Conclusion:
Although a bit limited in use by nature and by the high heat level, Capitol Punishment’s Red Roasted Gar-Banero is a very good hot sauce. If you’re looking for a good tasting red vinegar sauce that packs one hell of a punch, then the Gar-Banero is for you. Chef Gordon has definitely come up with the answer to the boring, run of the mill red vinegar sauce – you won’t be disappointed.

Overall Rating:
To do this sauce justice, I’m breaking out of my typical rating scale into 2 components, heat and flavor which are combined for the overall rating.

Heat: 9.6 out of 10

Flavor: 8.0 out of 10

Overall: 8.8 out of 10