Hot Sauce Exposed
As I was getting my ultimate cheeseburger at Jack in the Box Thursday afternoon, I stopped off at the condiment bar to pick up some ketchup. Before the tiny packets could hit my bag, I noticed a mistake. What I had grabbed was not the red and white packs that we all know and love as that salty sauce called ketchup, rather it was Jack in the Box's version of hot sauce.
Being a newbie medium-core chilehead, I grabbed a few packs and decided to test it out and write a review. Obviously, this is not the case. Jack's hot sauce is un-reviewable. You might call this liquid a "ketchup with flecks" or "hot sauce without the hot."
The ingredients: water, tomato pasted, distilled vinegar, salt, chile peppers, modified food starch, dextrose, maltodextrin, spices including paprika, xanthan gum, dehydrated garlic, sodium benzoate and potassium sorbate, citric acid, monosodium glutamate, dehyrdated onion, Beet powder.
Do you know how many of those ingredients come in a jar with a cork on it? From a lab? At least 7.
I think that any hot sauce that uses water as the first ingredient should be passed over like a firstborn. The chile peppers don't even appear until ingredient number four, and then it doesn't even explain what species of chile pepper is included. I'd be willing to say it is dried, ground jalapenos or cayenne pepeprs. Probably the lowest grade thereof.
I could be wrong, but I thought it was taboo to put MSG in food these days. After a web search on MSG and reading the pros, cons, fors, and againsts, I have concluded that MSG is just like anything else. It should be eating in moderation. Or at TheWife likes to say "moderation is the key." Apparently, after a couple of decades of anti-MSG sentiment going through the food processing and restaurant community, there is now a backlash against such sentiment because it is now believed that MSG is not as bad as we were once led to believe. Just like anything else .... like DDT, you know?
Do you know that DDT is a chemical that can save millions of lives in Africa by cutting down the Malaria-ridden mosquito population? But no country will provide it to Africa because of the supposed health risk. The health risk is non-existent to humans in the quantities needed. However, since the chemcial does make a marked difference in the strength of bald eagle egg shells, consequently the U.S. bans the use of such pesticide.
The real point about Jack in the Box's hot sauce is not the use of MSG for a preservative and flavor enhancer, rather as a whole hot the hot sauce is full of more synthetic and chemical ingredients rather than fresh, natural ones.
I know Jack probably does it to save money. After all, the hot sauce and ketchup packs are complimentary, probably built in the price of the Ultimate Cheeseburger. Jack does have a reputation for selling two Tacos for 99 cents, and I could commend the average joe for wanting to spice things up a little bit. But as a true chilehead, I could not in my right mind consume something like this.
I am becoming a chilehead more and more every day. I keep hot sauce stashes in my normal everyday environs. I keep two bottles in the fridge at work: Yucatn Sunshine Habanero and Big Daddy Jake's Texas Pit Smoked. And at home is the veritable cornucopia of hot sauce in the fridge.
What you might notice about these collections, and most true chileheads already have noticed and would agree that really good hot sauce doesn't contain a bunch of artificial ingredients. It's fresh, natural, and will burn the papillae off your tongue.