Most fire-eaters know of Sriracha from Huy Fong Foods; the beautiful, vibrant red garlic chile sauce in the clear plastic bottle with the bright green top is a classic in the pantheon of hot sauces. Well, I recently came upon a version of this venerable sauce put out by Original Juan of Kansas City who’re known for The Source extract, Da’ Bomb and Pain Is Good lines of hot sauces. I happen to like some of Original Juan’s products, so I was intrigued and had to see what they had done with Sriracha.
Firstly, Original Juan is known for putting extract in many of their sauces, but from what I can detect from the ingredient list and scoville rating, this is an all natural sauce with NO extract. The ingredient list is: red chilies, water, cane sugar, vinegar, salt, dried garlic, acetic acid, xanthan gum, ascorbic acid; as compared to Huy Fong’s Sriracha which conains: chili, sugar, salt, garlic, distilled vinegar, potassium sorbate, sodium bisulfite, xanthan gum. Both offerings have an appealing color, yet, the aromas of both are noticeably different. OJ’s has a significantly sweeter smell, with a more pronounced vinegar hit than does HF’s. Conversely, Huy Fong’s has a very well blended and balanced smell that is garlicky and pungent, with the sweet and sour notes being more subdued. HF’s Sriracha is also much thicker, and is much more manageable on all types of foods as compared to OJ’s version.
Flavor wise, OJ’s Sriracha matches its aroma in that though the chilies are definitely present, the sweetness from the cane sugar and bite from the vinegar are much more prominent than in HF’s classic riff. OJ’s Sriracha is distinctly reminiscent of teriyaki, and I think it would be great in an Asian themed wing glaze. However, I still think the Huy Fong version of Sriracha is superior. To me, the flavors are blended and balanced much more effectively, and the price of both sauces should certainly be taken into consideration. Huy Fong’s Sriracha runs around $3.00 for 17 ounces, while Original Juan’s runs anywhere from $2.99 (at the Original Juan site + shipping) to $5.99 at some stores, for only 7 ounces. So, with price and flavor and consistencies of the sauce all factored in, I would recommend passing on the Original Juan rendition of Sriracha. I think the flavor of OJ’s version is fine, and would be good as part of a recipe, but it doesn’t come close to offering a desirable alternative to Huy Fong’s illustrious product; especially when price and availability are considered, with Huy Fong’s Sriracha being a much better value.
Here’s a taste test on some egg rolls…