Top Pick Of The Week

January 19, 2010

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So delicious, we ate this “Triple Hot” Big Papi sauce, which contains habanero and the hot-hot naga jolokia chile, from the spoon. All photography by Evan Dempsey | THE NIBBLE.

WHAT IT IS: Gourmet hot sauce, made in small batches.
WHY IT’S DIFFERENT: It’s all natural with great flavors in all four heat levels. The texture is beautiful—thick from the fresh chiles used to make it. And, oh yes, it’s made by a Major League Baseball player.
WHY WE LOVE IT: This is not sear-to-burn hot sauce; it shows how delicious a gourmet hot sauce can be. You actually taste the different fruits (chiles) in each blend.
WHERE TO BUY IT: At fine retailers nationwide and

Calorie-Free Gourmet Hot Sauce: Big Papi En Fuego Hits It Out Of The Park

We deeply regret that this wonderful product was discontinued in October 2011.


CAPSULE REPORT: One of the challenges of the food-writing profession is that, to do a really good job of it, you’ve got to taste everything straight off the spoon. Even hot sauce. Otherwise, the flavor of the bread, chicken or other food you’re using as a base gets in the way.

Tasting soy sauce from the spoon was a tough job. We were concerned that our Big Papi En Fuego hot sauce tasting would take out our taste buds for the rest of the day. But Big Papi is such a fine product, that even the XXX-Tra Hot version was enjoyable (very hot, but flavorful).

There’s a lot of small-batch hot sauce out there, made by hot sauce lovers who haven’t been satisfied with what they’ve found on the market. So they gather up the best ingredients starting with fresh chiles (many brands are made with chile extract—just a liquid without any texture or nuance).

One of those hot sauce lovers is the Boston Red Sox slugger David “Big Papi” Ortiz. Working with a product development company and the finest chiles, he’s developed a line of Louisiana-style hot sauce that is so flavorful, it’s a pleasure to eat from the spoon. Each is a different chile blend, and even the hottest of the four delivered great taste in addition to heat. We never go for hot salsa—we have a delicate palate. So consider how good these are.

And, they’re calorie free! Made from vinegar, chiles and salt, this is a condiment you can sprinkle onto (and into) anything. (See Page 2 for serving suggestions.) Read the full review and heat things up a bit.

This is the last of our low-calorie “healthy food month” Top Picks. Next week, it’s time to focus on the best Valentine’s Day chocolates and calories go out the window.

THE NIBBLE does not sell the foods we review
or receive fees from manufacturers for recommending them.

Our recommendations are based purely on our opinion, after tasting thousands of products each year, that they represent the best in their respective categories.

More Low-Calorie Top Pick Condiments

Anton Kozlik Mustard Kappa Maki Atomic Horseradish
Anton Kozlik’s Canadian Mustard. Worth going to Canada for, but you can order them by phone.They’re worth tracking down—these are the best mustards we’ve ever had. See the review. Real Wasabi. No matter how much wasabi you’ve eaten, you’ve probably never had the real thing. Not only is this real wasabi, it’s really, really wonderful. Read the review. Atomic Horseradish. Blows the supermarket variety out of the water. One tablespoon has just 6 calories and no fat, but lots of flavor. The mustards are also fab. Read the review.

Big Papi En Fuego Gourmet Hot Sauce: Hits It Out Of The Park


This is Page 1 of a two-page review. Click on the black links below to visit other pages:


Big Papi Hot Sauce Overview

There are two kinds of hot sauce: artisan hot sauces and the ones named Acid Rain, Beyond Insanity, Liquid Burial, Sudden Death and Widow’s Hot Sauce—No Survivors. The latter are bottles of liquid fire that bring out the chili-heads for competitions to see who can take the most searing heat.

In fact, one website that specializes in these blazing wares requires that, before you even see the goods, much less order them, you “hereby disclaim, release and relinquish any and all claims, actions and/or lawsuits that I, or any of my dependents, heirs, or family members may have relating to any damage and/or injury that results, or alleged to have resulted, from the use, consumption, ingestion and/or contact of any bodily part or organ of or from these products.”

Pass ‘em by, folks, pass ‘em by. Even if they’re mild or medium, pass ‘em by. Most are made with chile extract, that provides lots of capsaicin heat but little flavor and no texture.

Instead, focus your palate on artisan hot sauces like the Big Papi En Fuego line (en fuego means on fire, but in a good way). It’s made for people who enjoy good food and would never think of eating anything called “death” (except,  perhaps, trumpets of death mushrooms—“Death By Chocolate” cake is not a gourmet experience).


Hit a “Monster Double” and you get a green sauce instead of the three red varieties. This medium-hot sauce has delicious flavors of green jalapeño, tomatillo, garlic and cilantro.


If you like a little heat (or even a lot), these hot sauces are a rewarding experience. You can even get a mini sampler to try all four. Follow us to Page 2 to see how to use these gourmet hot sauces.

—Karen Hochman

Go To The Article Index Above

Continue To Page 2: Varieties Of Big Papi & Serving Suggestions

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