Posted June 12, 2006 by John in Reviews

Review: Shakey Jake’s Hot Sauce

Shakey Jake’s Hot Sauce – Where flavor’s the key. So says the white label on the plastic bottle. To call it understated would be generous; the bottle’s rather plain looking, and this bottle probably wouldn’t catch my attention on the shelf. But, as anyone who’s ever stumbled into a run down building and found a three-star Michelin quality restaurant knows, looks can be deceiving. And, some of the greatest wines I’ve ever had were served in unlabeled, clear bottles. So, I decided to move past the packaging with nary a hesitation and dive right in.

Ingredients: Tomato sauce, vinegar, habanero chiles, salt, garlic

On First Taste
Shakey Jakes is astoundingly thin for a [tag]hot sauce[/tag] that lists tomato sauce first and has no water content. The first taste make it clear why – it’s vinegar, vinegar and more [tag]vinegar[/tag]. I honestly couldn’t identify what type of chile was used by taste. The heat is very similar to Tabasco, low level with a few seconds burnout. Highly acidic but without any complexity to speak of. The garlic is undetectable. This sauce is about as balanced as a two legged tripod. For something that claims flavor is the key, Shakey Jake’s really doesn’t taste of much more than vinegar.

To search for a little background, and look for recipe ideas, I sought out Shakey Jake’s website, which was rather tough to find through Google. Not surprising, since even though the counter recounts hits everytime you move to a new page in the same site, I was visitor number 24,25,26 and 27. No recipes, but a little insight into Shakey Jake’s marketing stategy:

“My Hot Sauce is for everyday use, I’m not competing with all the occult sauces out there, I’m competing for the Tabasco and Frank’s Hot Sauce shelf space.”

Well, that explains the heavy vinegar content. Shakey Jake’s is better tasting than Louisiana’s original, and it has more heat than Franks. There’s no fermented taste like Tabasco. It falls solidly into the realm of mass produced, commercialized sauces spread across the tables of most American restaurants.

On Food

Too thin to use as a marinade, to much vinegar to use in a Bloody Mary or in chili, and without recipe advice from the website, I fell back to my one and only use for red vinegar sauces and gave Shakey Jakes a try on some scrambled eggs. It was, at best, unremarkable. I couldn’t help but wistfully glance at my fridge, dreaming of all the fine fiery nectars that lay so close to my grasp, and think that with as few breakfasts as one gets in a lifetime, it was a shame this was one I couldn’t savor.

If you like Franks or Louisana’s original, this sauce is a step up. In a footrace against Tabasco, it comes up just a bit short. It’s inexpensive, but save your money elsewhere. With all the great options on the market, you can find better options than Shakey Jake’s.

Overall Rating: 3.2 out of 10

P.O. Box 65
Tiro, Ohio 44887