Perhaps no food category inspires such heated debate as hot sauces. Practically everyone has their go-to hot sauce, and they're often more than happy to tell you why it's better than your favorite hot sauce. And the editors of Gear Patrol are no different (to be honest, we're probably worse). The following guide was born on the company Slack, where a simple request for favorite hot sauce suggestions garnered 64 replies and ignited some spirited discussion. You undoubtedly have your own favorite hot sauce (feel free to let us know what it is in the comments). Collectively, the following 11 condiments are ours.

Hank Sauce Hank's Heat

Ryan Brower

Hank Sauce Hank’s Heat

Hank Sauce started as a business class project at Flagler College by three of my college buddies. It wasn't long after graduation that they actually made that dream a reality, and continue to do so in our shared home state of New Jersey. So while Hank's has a personal sentiment for me, it also stands on its own. Hank's Heat in particular is a versatile hot sauce that enhances anything from a breakfast scramble to an Ahi tuna sandwich. It's got a good blend of spices that isn't just a heat blast that overpowers your food, but it still provides a subtle kick. And at the end of the day, that's exactly what an everyday-driver hot sauce should do — enhance your food, not blast your tastebuds. — Ryan Brower, Senior Commerce Editor

Sriraja Panich

Zen Love

Sriraja Panich

It's not "that" Sriracha. This is the Sriracha brand that's most commonly used in Thailand, and on which the more familiar Huy Fong "Rooster" Sriracha is thought to be based. Huy Fong is a California company created by an immigrant from Vietnam, and though they make some good hot sauce, Sriraja Panich has the street cred, so to speak. If you're making and/or eating Thai food and you want that legit Bangkok street-food taste, this is what you want.

Sriraja Panich comes from the Thai town of Si Racha, and it's widely believed to be "the original" (though the history of such sauces is likely more complicated). It's nothing fancy, but this is what's made to go with Thai tastes such as seafood, egg or anything fried or steamed. (Pictured: homemade todman gung fried shrimp cake.) Compared to the American Sriracha, the Panich brand has a stronger taste and smoother texture. It's sweeter, spicier and more sour — but, most importantly, it's exactly the taste made to go with the kind of food you might get from a stall anywhere in Thailand. My wife is Thai and cooks Thai food almost daily, and this is the go-to brand in our house. — Zen Love, Associate Editor


Sean Tirman

Tapatio Hot Sauce

As a native Southern Californian and a lover of Mexican food (and Latin American food in general), Tapatío is an excellent hot sauce whenever you have rice, beans, tortillas and the like on your plate. It has enough kick to get you panting but not so much that the underlying flavors are burned away and you're left with just a sweaty heat. Genuinely, there is not a time I don't have a bottle of this stuff in my fridge. Just keep in mind, it is a bit vinegary and very salty, so you'll want to be cautious of that before you douse. — Sean Tirman, Commerce Writer

Frank's Red Hot

Will Courtney

Frank's RedHot Original Hot Sauce

This is versatility. No, it's not the hottest sauce out there, but that means you can use it in abundance, and in unusual places. I use it in pasta, in cottage cheese, even as part of a homemade salad dressing (hey, it's vinegar-based). I'm also a big fan of the flavor; it's the hot sauce that was originally used for Buffalo wings, and it brings that taste to whatever it's applied to. And who doesn't like Buffalo wings? — Will Sabel Courtney, Senior Editor

Torchbearer Headless Horseradish Sauce

Matt Pastorius

Torchbearer Headless Horseradish Sauce

It's HOT, it's creamy, a little goes a long way, and it's the only hot sauce I've had that makes ghost peppers actually palatable. Oh, and if you like horseradish, it's the first ingredient listed. Add in the cayenne pepper and you get different levels of heat hitting your tastebuds in different ways and at different times. It's just fun (and delicious). — Matthew Pastorius, Business Development Manager

Bravado Spice Co Ghost Pepper & Blueberry

Steve Mazzucchi

Bravado Spice Co Ghost Pepper & Blueberry

I love that this comes from way out of left field, with a basket of freshly picked blueberries. Really though, it's a kinda wild mix of flavors, a distinct blueberry note chased by a real wallop of ghost pepper-backed heat. That being said, it's certainly not your do-it-all hot sauce. It pairs best with mild breakfast foods like eggs, hash browns, pancakes and, what the heck, probably chicken and waffles. — Steve Mazzucchi, Senior Editor

Truff Original Hot Sauce

Johnny Brayson

Truff Original Hot Sauce

I've always had "expensive tastes" according to my mother, ever since I was a child and would request a lobster dinner for my birthday every year (I grew up in Maine, it wasn't that weird). My elevated palate has apparently continued well into adulthood, as I can't get enough of Truff's truffle-infused hot sauce. It's pricey for a hot sauce, but let's be real, it isn't really fancy — you can find it on the shelf at most grocery stores. What it is, though, is delicious.

It's not very hot (there is a Hotter version if you want more heat), but it does bring a nice amount of spice from red chilis that hits the back of your throat and works as the perfect complement to the black truffle that's the star of the sauce. The truffle's distinct earthy flavor is at the forefront here but never overwhelming, instead working in harmony with the aforementioned hot chilis and a surprising amount of sweetness from the recipe's organic sugar and agave nectar. It's a thick and rich sauce that's totally crave-worthy, and I've yet to find any food that it doesn't greatly improve. — Johnny Brayson, Associate Editor

Yellowbird Habanero

Hayley Helms

Yellowbird Habanero Condiment

There are a few things I love about this hot sauce: the smooth and spicy build-up to a robust finishing flavor; the unique texture that is thicker and more sauce-like than some of the more traditional, watery hot sauces like Tabasco; and the fact that it's made with organic and non-GMO ingredients. The flavor is bright and almost on the verge of fruity, followed by a swift kick in the butt that will leave you looking for a glass of milk. The Habanero flavor works well on anything from ramen bowls to eggs, avocado toast to roasted veggies. I put this on everything. — Hayley Helms, Associate Editor


Tyler Duffy

Cholula Original Hot Sauce

I developed a taste for Cholula in college. It was the preferred hot sauce of my favorite burrito place, Panchero's, in Ann Arbor. And I would add a generous helping onto my customary order of two "El Gordos." Cholula is not that hot. But I enjoy its thicker consistency and more well-rounded, not overly sodium-fueled flavor that enhances dishes like my chili without overpowering them. — Tyler Duffy, Associate Editor

Secret Aardvark Serrabanero

John Zientek

Secret Aardvark Serrabanero

This flavorful green sauce blends tomatillo and onion with serranos and habaneros for a bit of heat. It's a complex hot sauce that gets brightness from a bit of vinegar and lime juice, so it stands up to and complements a range of rich and bold flavors. The wide-mouth squeeze bottle is there for a reason — this is addictively good and you'll be reaching for it through a meal to add more to your favorite dish. Great on eggs, with tamales, on tacos ... even add it to soups or stews. — John Zientek, Senior Editor

Haff's More Cowbell

Ben Emminger

Haff's More Cowbell

This sauce from Ohio’s Haff’s Hot Sauce is more of a fever inducer than a prescription for the ailment. With Carolina Reaper as its go-to pepper, there’s no shortage of spice across this topper, yet the flavor is aplenty thanks to the notes of garlic and the present mustard seeds. The mustard also adds a little texture, too, which can really be a treat when mixed with chili or atop your favorite tacos. You’ll get a lingering heat post-taste, but that’s not a bad thing every now and again. Never question Bruce Dickinson … you’re gonna want this cowbell. — Ben Emminger, Associate Editor