Rooster vs. Rooster

I love hot sauces.  Mexican, Asian, Southern, thick, thin, red, green, brown.  I'm not picky.  I love them all.  Los Angeles' own Sriracha Thai-style hot sauce is one of my personal favorites. It has a white rooster and green screwcap on a backdrop of bright red deliciousness that is recognizable from 50 yards away.  For those who have some difficulty pronouncing Sriracha, they just call it Rooster-sauce.

A Louisiana-style hot sauce is also always a staple in our house.  Usually these are watery, vinegary, and often have a backbone of paprika and black pepper notes.  Tobasco took the Louisiana-style to the moon and back.  Even celebrity chefs like Jaques Pepin use it; like advocating the addition of a squirt or two into his French onion soup.

I'm not a big fan of Tobasco. Although I'll sprinkle it, I feel like it lacks much flavor.  Maybe I'm just too used to it.  Maybe your average bottle at the diner has been sitting next to the sugar, salt, and maple syrup for 6 or 7 years.  In any case, for Louisiana I prefer Crystal and Red Rooster.

I decided to put Sriracha and Red Rooster into a Title Bout, pitting them in a no holds barred battle of the heat...

 

In the first corner with the little green cap, hailing from Los Angeles, at 31 years of age and weighing 17 ounces, fighting in a Muay Thai style, from Huy Fong Foods, SRIRACHA!!!

In the second corner with the bright yellow shirt, from New Iberia Louisiana, 83 years young and weighing 12 ounces, fighting in a Southern Preying Mantis style and from Bruce's Foods, RED ROOSTER!!!

Round 1

Round 1: Trader Joe's Toaster Oven Gorditas

Trader Joe's Toaster Oven Gorditas

Both levels of heat were appropriate and necessary, the Gorditas are pretty bland on their own.  Although neither sauce was anything like a Mexican picante sauce, they both worked well.  The dry corn pupusa-like shells absorbed the sauces almost completely.

The Result:  A Draw!

Both were good and I couldn't eat these things without hot sauce.

 

Round 2

Round 2: Deep Dish Pizza

Deep Dish Pizza

We opted for a layer of spicy Giardiniera on this and it was a load hotter than either of us expected.  My face and neck sweated profusely as I pounded out this battle but I prevailed in determining a winner.  I can't say I entered the fight without prejudice, I fully expected Red Rooster to win.  I have been putting Louisiana hot sauces on my pizza since before I learned how to use a fork.

The Result: Sriracha!

I liked the strategic placement the squirt bottle top provided and how the thicker Sriracha stayed where it was placed.  It also has a little sweetness which may have given me that extra edge against the heat to continue judging.

 

Round 3

Round 3: Tin Roof Sundae

Tin Roof Sundae

Oh no he didn't!  Oh yes he did! This half gallon of Tin Roof Sundae kept taunting me every time I went into the freezer, haranguing me, challenging me.  Well, with great power comes great responsibility and I couldn't let anyone down in case they were looking for a hot sauce comparison with ice cream.

The Result: Sriracha!

Again, I came in with prejudice.  I thought the garlic in Sriracha would make it an unbearable mix with the fudge swirls but when I hit a peanut, it reminded me of Pad Thai. The Red Rooster has no distant cousins on tin roofs.

 

Round 4

Round 4: Taco night!

Taco Night!

This was a tough decision.  I wonder if I did this battle with Taco Night 10 times what the end result would be.  The sharp vinegary-ness of Red Rooster was strong and held its own against the seasoning of the ground beef.  

The Result:  Sriracha!

Again, both sauces worked well but it was the smart-bomb delivery system that comes from the magic green squirt top.  I was able to place the exact amount on each bite right where I wanted it to hit my tongue.  This was a close, hard-fought battle.

 

Round 5

Round 5: Breakfast Sandwiches

Breakfast Sandwiches

Eggs, cheese, English Muffins - a staple around here.  Having a good hot sauce makes a good thing wonderful and this was another fight I was especially interested in the outcome.  The paprika and black pepper notes in the Red Rooster aided their cause well, the garlic and catsup-y consistency of Sriracha benefited their camp.

The Result: Sriracha!

I think it came down to our American association of eggs with catsup.  Sriracha is like catsup's bigger, more worldly older brother that spent time abroad and came back kissing women on the cheek and saying things like, "Ciao." 

 

Round 6

Round 6: Thai Food

Thai Food

This battle was in Sriracha's back yard.  We had some Pad Thai and some Eggplant in Green Curry.  The squirt bottle top was playing in the Thai fighter's favor but the piquant acidity of the Red Rooster put up a solid defence.

The Result: Red Rooster!

Well, if you bet on Sriracha winning this one, you lost.  I'm not exactly sure what it was that I liked so much in the Red Rooster; maybe it added some flavors that were not already present in the Thai dishes that gave it a little more depth.  Who knows?  

 

Round 7

Round 7: Chicken Tacos and Homemade Black Beans

Chicken Tacos and Homemade Black Beans

This was another close one.  The Red Rooster had an early lead, that Sriracha closed in on.  Both faired well.  Although either would suffice in lieu of a real Mexican hot sauce, I would have much rather had some Tapatio, Pico Pica, or Valentina (mmm, Valentina).  

The Result: Sriracha!

In the end, it came down to delivery again.  With a finger-food, like a taco, precise delivery is the key to success.

 

 


Round 8

Round 8: Stouffer's Frozen Lasagne

Stouffer's Frozen Lasagne

The Stouffer's product is a good one as is, and especially with some homemade garlic bread and a salad - but it could still use a little pick me up.  I tend to touch this up with a dash of hot sauce so this was another result I was curious about.

The Result: Sriracha!

Again I thought Red Rooster would take the cake, again I was made a fool.  The garlic melded well with the Italian fare.  That little green squirt top is like a flavor laser, it goes right where you want it.

 

The Final Countdown: Sriracha wins with a 6-1-1 record.  I didn't think it would be the landslide that it was.  I love my Louisiana-style hot sauce and I especially love Red Rooster.  There are always 4-6 hot sauces in the rotation at any given point in our fridge.  It's not as if I am going to put Sriracha on everything and it does surprise me a bit that it won so many close battles.  It is one heck of a condiment however, and there's good reason why Huy Fong Foods is now building a brand new $40 million, 655,000 square foot facility to keep up with demand.

Long live sauces with roosters on them!

Posted
Authordavid koch
CategoriesHumor

The New Pepsi Challenge

In the late 1970's Pepsi began doing public blind taste tests where subjects would take sips of both Coca-Cola and Pepsi - and choose which one they liked better.  They found they had a slight edge in these tastings over Coke and ran the claim, "Nationwide, more people prefer the taste of Pepsi over Coca-Cola."

I remember these ads clearly.  I also remember being a big proponent of Coke at a young age, but I couldn't tell you why.  Even though Pepsi was, "The Choice of a New Generation," I felt angry that so many foolish people would incorrectly pick Pepsi when Coke was so clearly better.

In his amazing book Blink, author Malcom Gladwell actually describes some of the nuances of taste tests that the Pepsi Executives may-or-may-not-have knowingly taken advantage of.  When testers are asked to take only a sip, Pepsi, being slightly sweeter than Coke may be chosen more often even though many might think its flavor cloying over the course of a whole drink.

Anymore, the two are equal in my book; and although I don't drink sodas often, they go great with Mexican food.  When I figure out why, I'll let you know.

So, what's the New Pepsi Challenge?  Last year, Pepsi and Mountain Dew released "Throwback" versions of their sodas made with cane sugar instead of corn syrup.  Just like the good old days, you know, 1980.  They were released only for a limited time and came in old-fashion cans, which I think look pretty cool myself.

I bought a 12-pack of each the Throwback Pepsi and the regular one and conducted my own New Pepsi Challenge asking testers to see if they could choose the one made with real sugar over the one made with corn syrup.

While some people just made their guess, some added that they preferred one over the other.  Some people even said, "I think this one is corn syrup AND I think I like it better."  Although I could discern a very slight difference in flavor, I couldn't tell you beyond a guess which one was which.  I also didnt prefer one over the other.

They both tasted like sour carbonated sugar water.

And your results:  8 vs 8.  A tie. 

Posted
Authordavid koch
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I had seen the blind tasting done on the TV show Top Chef a handful of times but what made me actually want to sit down, get blindfolded, and do it was an article in the April 2009 issue of Saveur, titled "Dream Job."  It was written by Bryan Miller a restaurant critic for the New York Times from 1984 to 1993.

Miller said that he would place dried herbs on his tongue a few times a month to try and identify them.  Like culinary push-ups, now I was intrigued by the blind tasting.  His Kryptonite?  Dried turmeric, Miller states "To this day, I wouldn't know the spice if you rolled my pillow in it."

We set up our own Top Chef-Style Taste Test.  With three people, we each tasted the other's picks, not tasting our own.  One of us would set up their tray and administer to the test to one while the third was in another room.  

I went first.

Dave's Picks
  1. Currants
  2. An Orange wedge
  3. Turmeric
  4. Raspberry Jam
  5. Oyster Sauce
  6. Smoked Paprika
  7. Coconut Oil
  8. Wasabi Peas
Dave:  "As I suspected, currents threw them off
Posted
Authordavid koch
CategoriesHumor, Science
3 CommentsPost a comment