The Untold Truth Of Mad Dog 357 Hot Sauce

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We all love a good dash of something hot. If it's chicken wings as an appetizer while hanging out with friends or making adding hot peppers to your salsa, almost everyone enjoys a nice kick to the taste buds every now and then. But, as with all things, there are people out there who want the most extreme and desire to take things to the next level. These people aren't satisfied by mild jalapeño poppers or a dash of Tabasco — no, they crave something bold and intense. To these heat-seeking daredevils, a burning mouth is only a small price to pay for ultimate flavor.

Enter Mad Dog 357, described by PepperScale as "a habanero and cayenne pepper concoction that you should fear." With a slogan telling you to "Live Life to Its HOTTEST" (via the Mad Dog website), it's clear Mad Dog 357 isn't in the business of being boringly mild, but to instead burn a hole through the very concepts of heat itself. Yet, just what's behind the friendly-looking mascot and the colorfully radical graphics? What makes these sauces so infamously hot? Could readers stand the heat of Mad Dog's kitchen, or will Mad Dog be the beast of the heat once again?

The history behind Mad Dog

According to Mad Dog 357's story, the future head of Ashley Foods and hot sauce master David Ashley was working as general manager at Alice's Restaurant (yes, the one from Arlo Guthrie's famous song). Using the skills he picked up in multitasking and identifying high-quality ingredients, Ashley created the first batch of Mad Dog Barbeque Sauce in 1985. With encouragement from his wife, he moved into mass production of the blistering BBQ sauce five years later. 

While the official recipes of Mad Dog sauces are under wraps, the company gives quite a list of ingredients that are rather impressive for something as supposedly simple as hot sauce. The grocery list ranges from molasses, fresh peppers, and imported Tamari — a form of Japanese soy sauce (via MasterClass) — that has been fermented underground in wooden barrels to the exotic Bird's Eye African chili pepper. While Mad Dog may be hot stuff, it certainly doesn't skimp on quality.

Mad Dog is the hottest sauce in the world

Now, all that talk of quality ingredients doesn't mean a thing if you don't have anything to show for it, and Mad Dog certainly has the heat to back it up. They are currently the proud producers of the world's hottest hot sauce: Mad Dog Plutonium No. 9. This isn't just a fancy title or marketing bravado, this is the real deal. The sauce is made directly with 9 Million Scoville Pepper Extract, which is 60% pure capsicum — capsicum is the source of all that heat and spice you find in most normal peppers, via The Manual. In fact, The Manual's review gives us this frank comparison, just in case you still didn't believe them: pepper spray is usually around 5.3 million Scoville Heat Units, while Plutonium No.9 clocks in at 9 million Scoville Heat Units.

Adding to the intense flair that this little bottle of infernal delight gives off, there is a disclaimer included along with the bottle, ensuring that you "understand the potential danger if used or handled improperly." If it doesn't get more wild than that, it would be hard to find another sauce that is. 

Plenty of celebrity sponsors

If there's anything more wild than hot sauce made of ghost peppers, it's surely the world of rock 'n' roll. The Ashley Food Company has partnered with several legendary musicians who have flocked to the hot sauce company to create sauces that, just like their records, will assault your senses and leave you wanting more.

In May 2002, Joe Perry, guitarist of rock band Aerosmith, teamed up with Ashley Food Company to create his very own brand of hot sauce (via Mad Dog), Rock Your World Boneyard Brew Hot Sauce, a sort of "everyday" sauce composed of lime juice, peppers, onions, and garlic to give it a smooth, hot — but not too hot — finish. Perry, another aficionado of hot sauce (among other types of sauce), released a line of his own hot sauces back in 2003, and bottles of the stuff seem to be rare, fetching $30 to $40 alone on eBay.

In 2003, Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead collaborated with Mad Dog to release a new line of "Wok Sauces" (via Mad Dog), with flavors ranging from the hot and sweet Snake Oil Sauces to the "mystical" flavors of ginger, sesame, and tamarind in the "Otherworld" line of sauces.

Hot sauce and marijuana legalization

On October 11, 2016, Mad Dog released a statement regarding the controversial topic of legalizing marijuana, explaining just who in the world is joining the push to decriminalize the drug. Why would a hot sauce company care about legal marijuana anyway? Their answer was oddly just as blunt and surprising.

"We don't really care. What we do is create hot sauces that are so potent that they trick your brain into releasing endorphins and dopamine. The stems of these terms should look mighty familiar (morphine and dope are related words)," the blog post stated. "You'll feel elated after consuming super hot sauces. You'll be giddy (after you stop crying). We provide a way for people to get high. And we do it legally."

But just how true is this shocking claim? "Smokin' Ed" Currie, owner of the Puckerbutt Pepper Company, seems to agree. A former addict himself, Currie described how capsaicin activates the dopamine receptors in the brain, releasing a flood of endorphins and dopamine into the body to give you that same "rush" one would have to get from illicit drugs (via The Brooklyn Eagle). While not exactly discussing having a sip of hot sauce with your coffee, Healthline does describe how the quick release of endorphins helps with self-esteem and depression, even noting that eating something spicy can help with endorphin deficiency. 

Reviews of Mad Dog

If Mad Dog 357 is so famous, what does the public have to say about their so-called "extreme" hot sauces? Well, it would seem folks have nothing to say about it, as they're far too busy chugging milk by the gallon to give you any sort of explanation. 

Via the Amazon page for Mad Dog's Ghost Pepper Sauce, certain reviews from Amazon customers ranged from a woman's son who "who stuck a toothpick in to the depths of hell and stuck it in his mouth, and you would have thought the devil had gotten hold of his tongue" to "Super hot, but actually some nice flavor behind the heat!" 

ChiliWorld's review page for Mad Dog's 357 sauce is filled with rave reviews, from users claiming they add the burning hot liquid to tuna sandwiches to retelling thrilling stories of deliciously hot experiences that knocked the wind out of them.

Of course, there were those brave enough, or perhaps even foolish enough, to try Mad Dog's Plutonium No. 9. There are plenty of videos showing these culinary daredevils, ranging from 12-year-olds and grown men, attempting to brave the intense heat for as long as they could (via YouTube). Almost all of them have ended the same, with them getting the bang for their buck and reaching for a towel to mop up the sweat.