There are hot sauces, and then there are the world’s hottest sauces. Everyone has a threshold they can tolerate. Capsaicin works a little differently on each person, of course.
For some, the idea of the world’s hottest sauces is not even on their radar, they can barely handle a drop of Tabasco on their food. Chili heads, on the other hand, have an entirely different scale they use to measure depth (and burn) of hot sauces. For these folks, it is less a question of hot sauce versus the world’s hottest sauces; instead, they’re ready to explore the hot as Hades world of pepper extracts.
So, what’s the difference?
Putting the World’s Hottest Sauces in the Ring
Hot Sauce – using rather mild peppers, such as jalapeno or poblano, and combining them with vinegar, salt and possibly a few vegetables creates this food additive. Hot sauces are meant for consumption by the general population, so they usually register under 50,000 Scovilles. There are hotter sauces, such as Mad Dog Inferno which rates a solid 90,000 on the Scoville scale (keep in mind that Tabasco only weighs in between 2500 – 5000 Scovilles).
World’s Hottest Sauces – created in much the same way as traditional hot sauce, except that capsaicin extract is used as the base rather than whole peppers. There is a clear differentiation determined by Scovilles, between hot sauce and the world’s hottest sauces. This line is drawn around 100,000 Scovilles, but it does vary as more and more chili heads grow to love the hotter sauces. What's the upper limit? Somewhere around 800,000 to 900,000 Scovilles. That is an incredible range! Within this range, heat is still bottled as a sauce, such as 357 Mad Dog Hot Sauce (at 357,000 Scovilles) or some of the 357 Reserves which top a respectable 600,000 Scovilles.
Pepper Extracts – this is not a hot sauce. Pepper extracts simply take the capsaicin from the pepper, leaving the rest of it behind. More significantly, extracts blow the world’s hottest sauces out of the water – because they’re not diluted with vinegar and salts. Pepper extracts are pure, concentrated heat. Typically, one drop of pepper extract is enough to flavor an entire pot of food. Anything more and even chili heads may catch on fire. The Scoville range? Let’s just say it runs from the 1 Million Scoville Pepper Extract from Ashley Foods to 16 million Scovilles, which is the number assigned to pure capsaicin.
So, what will happen if you put the world’s hottest sauces into a ring with pepper extracts? Well, you can’t, but you can try them out for yourself at home. Why not try living life to its hottest? It’s more delicious than you can imagine.