The Hot Ones Sauce You Absolutely Must Try For Yourself

We've learned some truly wild stuff from "Hot Ones" interviews. The iconic, innovative show brings on some of the world's biggest celebrities to dish about their lives while chowing down on unique and increasingly spicy chicken wings. If you're a spice lover, your mouth has probably watered as you watched guests' eyes do the same. But when it comes to the many sauces featured on the show, one stands above the rest.

When Mashed tried 19 sauces from "Hot Ones" for a hands-on ranking, La Pimenterie's The Forbidden Fruit came out in a scorching first place. Hailing from Montreal (where chilly Canadians may need an extra burst of heat), it measures in at a whopping 124,000 Scoville heat units: the metric used to measure the heat of hot peppers. While it's more manageable than some ultra-extreme sauces (which can reach into the millions), it's still many times hotter than common choices like Frank's Red Hot (just 450 Scoville units) and Tabasco (about 2,500 units). 

Tabasco is a good sauce to have in mind when trying The Forbidden Fruit. La Pimenterie makes it in a similar way, fermenting and aging the mashed peppers to infuse them with smoky oak and flavoring them with vinegar and salt. This simple preparation is supplemented with a hint of garlic and shallots — though just enough to complement, not compete with, the peppers. All in all, The Forbidden Fruit combines a premium taste with everyday versatility: the perfect qualities in a hot sauce.

A spicy ranking process

While "Hot Ones" has used a wide variety of sauces, Mashed's ranking stuck to the ones used in Seasons 19 and 23. Taste testers took a page out of the show's book and sampled them on chicken wings in order from mildest to hottest. Flavor was the primary criterion, but the list also took into account factors like heat, versatility, and uniqueness.

Doing this for 19 different sauces may sound like a lot, but it's nothing compared to how the sauces on "Hot Ones" are chosen. The show's co-creator, Chris Schonberger, and Noah Chaimberg, founder of hot sauce company Heatonist, start with a selection of 20 to 30 sauces, which they repeatedly sample as they narrow down the list. The pair spend an hour or two per session repeatedly tasting and re-tasting each potential option, with predictably fiery results. While spice fans will find something to love in just about every "Hot Ones" sauce, there's no doubt La Pimenterie's The Forbidden Fruit is worth adding to the top of their list for their next batch of wings.