The Key To The Best Hot Sauce Slather Is Leftover Cheese Brine

Is there anything that hot sauce doesn't taste good on? Sure, it can be put to use making chicken wings or spicing up a salad dressing, but how about using it in this spicy shrimp bowl recipe? It can even be used in sweet snacks like caramel corn for a salty-sweet-hot rendition.

There are myriad reasons why you should always keep hot sauce in your pantry, and by some estimates, there are well over 500 different varieties of hot sauces available in the United States alone. With a global market valued at well over $2 billion in 2021, it's no wonder celebrities like Ed Sheeran are getting into the hot sauce business.

One hot sauce use that might not have occurred to you involves a nifty marriage with feta brine to create a genius sandwich condiment or meat marinade. Feta brine is the salty water in which most high-quality feta cheese is packaged. This brine keeps the feta from turning sour or drying out. You can use feta brine in salad dressings, to lightly pickle items like fruits, veggies, and tofu, or even as part of a marinade. The latter use, as a marinade, is where we think the combination of hot sauce and feta brine really shines. And we're not alone. 

Combine hot sauce with leftover cheese brine

Food & Wine Culinary Director-at-Large Justin Chapple came up with this nifty hot sauce slather concept. As part of his "Mad Genius" series, Chapple shares surprisingly easy and delicious kitchen hacks, and this one is particularly clever. The combination of feta brine and hot sauce hits on a lot of marinade basics: It has salt, it has acid (via the hot sauce), and it has plenty of flavor.

We recommend trying a Louisiana-style hot sauce for this combination. Brands like Tabasco or Crystal are vinegar-based and will balance the creamy saltiness of feta brine. Just mix the two ingredients together until your desired heat level is reached, then use it to marinade proteins like chicken or pork before cooking them. Not only will you season the meat via the salt content of the brine, but you'll also impart a spicy, tangy kick to the finished product with the inclusion of hot sauce.

And don't worry about what to do with the actual feta cheese — try turning it into a whipped feta dip to serve as a creamy topping for your spicy, brined meat. However you approach it, combining hot sauce with salty cheese brine is one tip that's sure to heat up any dish in all the right ways.