Things are about to get saucy...
Texas Pete Hot Sauce
The mildest of the three hot sauces, this was underwhelming to be frank (er, Pete?). When mixed with butter, it lost its spicy edge and tasted a notch too sweet. Good for people who are afraid of heat, or small kids.
Honorable Mention: Crystal Hot Sauce
This was a close second to Frank's for Best Hot Sauce. Vinegary with a kick, it sure makes the lips sizzle. Peppery, but in a pleasant way. We'd gladly eat wings coated in this hot sauce-plus-butter mixture.
Best Hot Sauce: Frank's Red Hot Original
"The most balanced," agreed tasters. A classic Buffalo wing sauce that will have you stacking up the wing bones like Jenga pieces in no time. Mildly sweet with a sour kick and spicy aftertaste that stays awhile. Tingle. Definitely big on the vinegar—it scored the highest on the tangy-ness meter. "Strong glutamate flavor," said one taster, noting the unctuous-ness of the umami from the saltiness of the hot sauce and added butter.
Texas Pete Buffalo Wing Sauce
"Tons of false butter flavor," agreed tasters. It didn't have much "wing" flavor at the core—too sweet and the heat hits too late. You end up tasting the chicken more than anything, even with all the sauce drenched on top. And you probably don't eat Buffalo wings for the chicken flavor...
Crystal Wing Sauce
"Almost a honey barbecue sauce," said one taster. Smokey and sweet, this one wins for Least Like a Buffalo Wing Sauce. "Tomatoey," noted another taster. Technically it just says Wing Sauce not Buffalo Wing Sauce, but it felt like a tease given our expectations.
Frank's Red Hot Wing Sauce
Good for heat fiends, but missing the butter flavor to round it all out. Spicy and vinegary to be sure, but slightly harsh without a much needed richer base.
Best Buffalo Wing Sauce: Anchor Bar
If you want a straight-out-of-bottle buffalo sauce, you might want to consider Anchor Bar Sauce. This one won because it lacked the artificial butter flavor that its competitors in this category suffered from. Though a little sweet, it was rounded out with heat. "Almost fizzy, it was so vinegary," said one taster.
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