The Got Damn Hot Sauce
The Got Damn Hot Sauce
$6.00 for 12oz at The Got Damn Sauce
Ketchup, Brown Sugar, Mustard, Apple Cider Vinegar, Distilled Vinegar, Honey, Lemon Juice, Pickle Relish, Garlic Powder, Cayenne Pepper, Red Pepper Flakes, Onion Powder, Vanilla Extract, Habanero Powder, Chili Powder, Butter
Serrano Barnes and Dante Gorham are the duo behind The Got Damn Sauce. They both attended Howard University, graduating with degrees in Business and Physical Therapy, but their hearts really lied in cooking, leading them to create The Got Damn Sauce in 2015. Beyond the two barbecue sauces and numerous hot sauces the two sell under that brand, they also have a catering side business called Grand Chef Auto in their home base of Los Angeles.
A strong tangy tomato aroma fills the nose on first whiff of this sauce. While there's some sweetness in there giving it a ketchup-like character, the strong tingle in the nostrils lets you know your in for more heat than sweet. Playing supporting roles in the aroma are a mild mustard pungency and more layers of tanginess than your average sauce, which is hard to pinpoint the source of, but there is a hint of citrusy lemon at play on top of the standard vinegar.
Thickness & Texture
This rusty orange sauce has a semi-glossy sheen and a medium texture to it from the spices and some veggie bits here and there. The sauce is opaque, but thanks to its light color you can see a lot of small white and orange spice specs along with a few larger ones too. The sauce's thickness sits right at the medium mark while its consistency is akin to thinned tomato paste that's lightly syrupy. From a suspended spoon the sauce first falls in a large drip followed by a fast, uneven pour that ends with three to four slow drips before stopping and leaving a medium coating left clinging to the silverware.
Out of the Jar
The very first taste is of a sweet tomato ketchup which almost instantly pairs with mustard to add depth and pungency. As the sauce settles on the tongue, the vinegar builds upon an initial light tanginess while the spices come in at the same time, giving an oniony undertone and earthy pepper profile. There's something really unique at play that I couldn't put my finger on until I read the ingredient list and saw "pickle relish," which adds a very distinct tartness. You have to act fast to taste all of these flavors because the pepper's heat comes on faster and much stronger than your normal sauce. Very quickly the sauce turns incredibly spicy, and then when you think it has hit a peak, it just keeps going and puts your mouth on fire. It elicited a hiccup response in me, which happens only in the hottest of the hot sauces. You would think the aftertaste would be all heat at this point, but there's still a lingering tang and tastes of mustard as well.
Slathered & Cooked
This sauce coated the chicken in a medium, even layer that baked down well over indirect heat. When transferred to the hot side of the grill, there was medium caramelization, just a little sauce loss, and no overt burning. I took a lot of pleasure in the first few bites where the sweetness and heat found a nice balance that let you taste the two extremes along with everything in between. But a couple more bites in and my mouth was left scorching and it was hard to taste anything more in subsequent bites than additional heat. It wasn't so spicy I couldn't eat the entire leg, but by the time I was done, my lips were left with a pretty intense tingle.
Put to Use
Longtime readers already know that I love a good spicy barbecue sauce, and that leads me to often try a brand's hot version first since that's the one most likely to leave a lasting impression on my taste buds. The Got Damn Sauce has a regular and spicy recipe, so I started with the hot, but it proved this may have been one of the few exceptions where the other way around would have been a wiser more. The Got Damn Hot Sauce is definitely "got damn hot." Not too many bottles deliver on the heat you might expect based on their name, but this one did, and if you want a barbecue sauce that will leave your mouth burning and nose running, you need to look no further. The base of this sauce tasted really unique and delicious, but once the wave of peppers came in, it was hard to taste anything else and fully appreciate everything so great going on under the hood. It's normal for me to tick up a sauce's rating for extra heat, but I actually went the opposite direction here because the spiciness was at an intensity that I personally felt interfered a tad too much. It masked the light flavor of the chicken, but it might be better served when used on heartier meats like brisket. I think the ideal scenario for this sauce would be pairing it with a sugary rub to get sweet and spicy into a better balance. I would also use this as a finishing sauce for extra-hot barbecue wings, the type you might challenge a friend to try to eat the entire plate of.