Cold Winter, Hot Sauce

Locally made condiments bring on the firepower

Michigan winter. There is denial, there is anger, and there is snow and ice. But in the end, there is only acceptance — that and whatever strategy we can devise to brace ourselves against the biting chill. Enter the hot sauce. These Detroit-area-made condiments are capable of heating things up any time of year, but their firepower becomes ever more crucial as winter sets in. They make a great team with any foodstuff — on tacos, burgers, hot wings, or eggs. And they make great stocking stuffers, too.


Street Eatzz: 313 Foodie Sauce

Spice rating [1/5]

Now a Detroit staple, the habanero sauce crafted with Michigan dried cherries, tomatoes, carrots, and cider vinegar packs a pleasant cherry sweetness up front followed by a spicy kick at the back. With an emphasis on flavor over heat, it’s right to be dubbed a “foodie” sauce instead of a hot one.

Swat! Sauce Lil’ Prik Thai Pepper Concoction

Spice rating [2/5]

Swat! Sauce comes from the kitchen of The Fly Trap in Ferndale. The Thai-style concoction includes dried chilies, rice vinegar, garlic, tamari, and brown sugar, resulting in more of a sweet experience than a spicy one. Excellent for marinades, tofu, or whatever you want to swat it on.

Clancy’s Fancy Hot Sauce: Mild

Spice rating [2.5/5]

Clancy’s is the Ann Arbor go-to, and for good reason. The tamari and bouillon concentrate lend it an umami (savory) flavor while the Michigan honey, ginger, and cayenne peppers add a mix of sweet and spicy. Originally crafted more than 30 years ago, nowadays it’s hard to eat in A2 without finding some on the table.

Scotty O’Hotty: Premium Habanero Sauce

Spice rating [3.5/5]

The award-winning, Dearborn-based Scotty O’ Hotty Premium Habanero is a spicy, peppery concoction with a lingering habanero burn. Like all of Scotty O’Hotty’s sauces, it’s beer-based, gluten-free,and low in sodium, making for a distinct choice among condiments. As the O’Hottys like to say, “It’s not your grandma’s hot sauce.”

Papa Turt’s: So Hot It Hurts

Spice rating [4/5]

There are no big surprises in Papa Turts’ list of ingredients; instead, the surprise is in the heat that sneaks up slowly, which is just what you’d expect from the sinister-looking turtle on the label. Among the five tasted here, Fowlerville-based Papa Turt’s was deemed the hottest, though not to the point of inducing pain, thankfully.