Pink Label - XHOT Applewood Smoked Habanero Pepper Sauce 5 OZ
Lucky Dog Hot Sauce Pink Label is an extra hot & extra delicious applewood smoked Habanero/Serrano/Ghost chile sauce, naturally sweetened with California Bartlett pears and luxurious dates from the Coachella valley of Southern California. The mildest of our extra hot sauces, Pink Label has a very subtle hint of applewood that really opens up on food. While not quite as hot as Black Label, Pink Label will leave your lips sizzling with habanero/ghost pepper heat while the complex layers of flavor to enhance any meal.
Pairing Suggestions: Pink Label is the perfect compliment to pork, especially carnitas! Also great on pulled pork, pork chops, pork roast, pork loin, and just about any other incarnation of pork. While the white vinegar adds sharpness, the subtle notes of pear & date really open up with pork. Of course this sauce is also delicious on eggs, sandwiches, breakfast potatoes, traditional Mexican food, pizza and just about anything else - the fruit notes are extremely subtle on most dishes. Garlic, onion and peppers dominate this unique and versatile sauce. Pink Label hits hard with flavor while building up in heat.
100% fruit sweetened with no cane sugar, Pink Label is yet another reason that Lucky Dog Hot Sauce is Food's Best Friend!
Lucky Dog Hot Sauce Pink Label is a Winner!
- 2021 Good Food Award Winner - Pantry Division
- 2020 Good Food Award Finalist
- 2016 The Hot Pepper Awards, 3rd Place, Smoky
- 2015 I Love It Spicy "Lenny" Award, Product of the Year
(based on highest average review score)
- 2015 Fiery Food Challenge, 2nd Place, Hot Sauce: Pepper Blend
- 2014 Fiery Food Challenge, 2nd Place, Hot Sauce: Hot
The Story Behind the Sauce
Pink Label was an inspired creation - I love me some carnitas, a braised pork dish found at many Mexican restaurants/taquerias.
What I didn't love was that most of my own hot sauce creations, in addition to the sauces I had in my collection at the time, were either too sharp, or too distinct to use with carnitas. Due to the delicate nature of the dish, I found that if a sauce is too sharp or too salty, it overpowers the flavor of the pork. If too distinct, all I taste is the sauce.
So I set out to remedy that and create a hot sauce specifically designed to work with the pork, not against it. When I think pork, I think fruit, but I don't typically make "fruity" sauces, as they become somewhat limited in application. I didn't just want to make a pork sauce, after all.
So I started experimenting with CA Bartlett Pears and habenero peppers. I was enjoying the results, but felt the attempts lacked depth. Pears lost some sweetness when cooked, so I added Coachella valley dates to the mix, and loved the results. Additionally, I felt that applewood would lend a subtle, back of the palate smoke flavor which would pair beautifully with pork, chicken, fish, beef and more. The more I experimented with this sauce, the more I loved it.
Years later, when I went to produce it commercially I ran into some difficulty. In late 2014, farmers market customers were requesting sauces without cane sugar. While I only had a small amount in the sauces, it was too much for them. I thought it might be a good time to revisit my smoked sauces, but the smoked peppers I could source weren't habeneros. Moreover, they were so smoky that the smoke took over the sauce entirely, and any semblance of subtlety was gone. Fortunately I had been to a food show earlier that year where I discovered the beauty of smoked sea salts.
It was a real light-bulb moment for me: it didn't matter what was smoked in the sauce, peppers or salts, so long as it was genuinely smoked!
When experimenting I found that I could fine tune the intensity of the smoke by offsetting the existing sea salt in the sauce with the smoked salts. Jackpot. I was in production less than 3 months later with what I consider one of my best, and most interesting sauces. A sauce that was ILoveItSpicy.com's "product of the year" for 2015. Those folks sure have good taste in hot sauce.
And to this day, I won't eat carnitas or pulled pork without Pink Label.