Posted November 4, 2007 by Brendan in Reviews

Review: Deer In Headlights Hot Sauce

Deer in the Headlights Hot Sauce

First Impressions:
Damn dude, that thing’s about to get slammed by a monster truck! Looks like about an 8-pointer”¦score! This sauce is from Georgia. I’m not sure what the deer scourge is like down there, but if you’ve ever traveled through my home state, you’ve probably noticed the gnarled meat-piles littering the sides of the highway, and you would agree with my assertion that deer have very few friends in Pennsylvania. Car mishaps aside, this is a state that closes school for the first day of buck season! I had a biology teacher─this is the God honest truth─who once famously buried an antlered, rotting deer head in the school courtyard to help it decompose! And yes, he found it on his drive to work! I have not only had deer in my own headlights, I have had them stuck in a grill of both the Jeep Cherokee and barbecue variety, seen them skid post-impact 30 feet in front of my car, and even had one run into the side of my car! Of course, I only say this to qualify myself as authority on deer in headlights, a seasoned veteran of vehicular homicide against ungulates, a- oh right, I have a sauce to taste, don’t I?

Ingredients: Water, chipotle peppers (chipotle peppers, water, vinegar, tomatoes, onions, sesame oil, iodized salt, spices), pineapple (pineapple, pineapple juice), habanero peppers (peppers, water, vinegar, erythorbic acid to promote color retention) Worcestershire Sauce (distilled vinegar, molasses, corn syrup, water, salt, caramel color, sugar, spices, anchovies, natural flavor, tamarind, soy lecithin), sugar, salt, pepper capsicum, garlic powder, moonshine (corn whiskey), cayenne pepper, xanthan gum, smoke flavor (maltodextrine, natural smoke flavoring, hydrated silicon dioxide (anticaking agent).

Deer in the Headlights Hot Sauce

The color of the sauce is what I would describe as brick-red, with a little seed or chunk of nondescript vegetable matter here and there and teeeeny tiny little white and black specks mingling about. The sauce holds together quite well; we don’t have the clearer, watery ring around the primary puddle that I’ve noticed in some sauces. It flows slowly, it’s viscous, you might say, even slower than marinara sauce, but without the coarse texture”¦it’s mostly smooth and it glistens…in the headlights? I haven’t seen deer blood up close in a few years, but I’m just gonna go out on a limb and say that that must have influenced the appearance of this sauce.

Alright, follow me here”¦ there is a smell I’ve been trying to identify that I’ve noticed with some other pretty hot sauces. It’s smoky, but in a different way than just plain chipotle smoky. I think the tomatoes may even have something to do with it. The smell is smoky and sweet, but my brain somehow translates it as “this is going to be hot,” and I’m usually right. My nose tingles and my mouth waters when I smell this smell. There is that smell, but there are some other sharp scents you pick up on as well; onions, garlic, and I think the Worcestershire gets a piece of the action too.

When I took my first cautious steps on the road to tasting this sauce, I was at once blinded by the veritable smorgasbord of wacky ingredients”¦ya got your Worcestershire (anchovies anyone?), tropical fruits, chipotle, habanero, and cayenne peppers, MOONSHINE (kids, I know what you’re thinking, but it’s a really bad idea). So needless to say, I was a bit overwhelmed by the impending onslaught of flavor that was about smack me in the mouth. As I brought the sauce-dipped pretzel to my lips, I froze. I was like a”¦like a”¦oh, I’ve never been good with similes”¦never mind.

For a second or two, you get a smoky-sweet. The sugar seems well-placed. The heat sets in pretty fast, but it doesn’t overshadow the aromatic onions and garlic your nose had detected earlier. I think I could even taste a subtle pineapple tanginess. Besides the heat (discussed below) there is an added afterbite from what I suspect to be a combination of Worcestershire and moonshine. It’s got a distinct barbecue sauce quality to it, but don’t go smothering it on your pork-butt”¦unless you are awesome!

Being a big fan of big heat, I really appreciate the burn of Deer in Headlights. It’s hot! The heat lingers for quite a while, but is only pant-worthy for about a minute a two, so you can keep coming back! And it lingers in the right place, having crept and settled into middle of your tongue. Then, it just sits there pensively, alert but paralyzed, like”¦like”¦damnit.

If you like heat, it’s right up your alley. If you like flavor, oh son, DH has got the flava! And for its intensity, the heat dissipates into food quite well, meaning it’s versatile, meaning it’s a great sauce to have on hand. In fact, my roommate made some pasta the other night, and I thought, wow this pasta sauce is great, having no idea that he had thrown a good amount of Deer in Headlights in there. I bet this would also be good on a cheddar and bacon cheeseburger”¦or better yet, venisonburger! But you know what I’m gonna use it for?

[As lights go out, multi-colored strobe begins, confetti falls from ceiling, and opening notes of “We Like to Party” by Vengaboys start playing, gradually getting louder, we zoom in on a box of cereal]

CRISPIX MIX!!! “Da-da da-da da-daaa-da! Da-da da-da da-daaa-da!,” etc…

[music-montage of yours truly preparing ingredients]

Deer in Headlights Hot Sauce




Shake ingredients in large Ziplock bag. Pour mixture onto cookie sheet. Bake in oven at whatever temperature strikes you as appropriate, checking frequently, until mixture isn’t wet anymore. Be careful of vapors when opening oven, seriously.

Deer in the Headlights Hot Sauce

Contact Info:
Hillside Orchard Farms
105 Mitcham Circle
Tiger, GA 305761-866-782-4995