Taste Test: Tabasco Buffalo Sauce vs. Frank’s Red Hot

A comparison of two greats.

Okay, so I had both Tabasco Buffalo Style sauce and Frank’s Red Hot, the Buffalo wing original, in my cupboard, and a taste comparison seemed like a no-brainer. Indeed, I’m sure there have been thousands of others since Tabasco’s version of wing sauce first hit the market in January, but it still didn’t seem right not to do one.

First off, Frank’s Red Hot is ostensibly the original sauce used in the first recorded batch of Buffalo wings created in Buffalo, NY., way back in 1964. Tabasco, has been around even longer, but their take on wing sauce is a new contender. To take away any significant market share from Frank’s, Tabasco would conceivably have to do one not only equal, but better. Now, I’ve been a fan of Frank’s for years, and have used it interchangeably with Tabasco Original when I wanted something a little different with less vinegar; so, I’m a fan of both, with no real bias.

The taste comparison was rather brief and straight forward, but my first impression upon trying both sauces was that Frank’s Red Hot is noticeably thinner in consistency. It also has a lot more zip in the vinegar department, and that can be a plus once butter is added to a wing sauce glaze. On the other hand, Tabasco’s Buffalo sauce was not only thicker, but also richer in overall taste, and a tad saltier. My resulting opinion is that both of these are great by themselves on a variety of foods, but I tend to prefer Tabasco’s version; especially for convenience sake if I don’t have the time to make a full blown wing glaze, yet hunger for a more than passable wing sauce to put on tenders or wings, straight out of the bottle. However, I did come across the suggestion of simply combining the two to get the best of both. I did that, combining about 2 parts Tabasco Buffalo sauce to 1 part Frank’s, and this mixture also has a lot of promise as a wing sauce base. Anyone who’s interested can figure out their own preferred ratios of the two, and find a balance that may be preferable to either sauce on its own.

Even though Frank’s Red Hot has a loyal following, I imagine that Tabasco’s riff on Buffalo sauce will gradually gain its own adoring fans. Either way, I see neither of these two going anywhere, and, gladly, suspect that they will both be with us for a very long time to come.

p.s. Frank’s Red Hot also has a Buffalo Wings sauce, but since Frank’s Original was the legendary sauce used in the first wings (and it’s the one I had on hand), I decided to use it instead. I may do a future comparison of Tabasco Buffalo sauce with Frank’s “Wings” sauce, but til then, this should suffice. :-)



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