Last year, just as the world's most iconic Sriracha sauce manufacturer, Huy Fong Foods, was facing a nuisance complaint–related closure of its Irwindale factory, Tabasco quietly launched its own limited-edition version of the wildly popular Thai chili sauce.
Made with the fairly basic combination of red peppers, sugar, garlic and vinegar, Tabasco's first attempt at Sriracha was unleashed sans announcement, and it never officially made it into the company's massive, 166-country distribution area, instead being available only online through its country store for $4.99 a bottle. (Confused by the hush-hush debut, some wondered why the company bothered to release it at all.)
Now, after taking a lot of heat in reviews (pun intended) and doing some rebranding and reformulating to the idea, Tabasco's new and improved Sriracha sauce is ready for its close-up, with a national release already in effect at Super Target stores nationwide.
The new version, which comes in a way more Huy Fong Foods–shaped squeezable plastic bottle, is undoubtedly (as the press release says) “inspired by the traditional sauce of the Si Racha region of Thailand,” but there's still clearly a taste of Tabasco in it, too.
Compared to the last iteration, its color and viscosity is more akin to the cheap rooster sauce everyone is used to, and the vinegar-forward inevitability of anything that comes out of the Avery Island manufacturing plant has thankfully been toned back, but — like the McIlhenny Company's chipotle and buffalo sauces before it — the not-so-secret ingredient is the tabasco peppers themselves.
A mash-up of epic condiment proportions, the new Tabasco Sriracha combines the best of both hot-sauce worlds for something that's more than its original attempt at mimicry. From the company's official tasting notes:
Tabasco Sriracha Thai Chili Sauce boasts hints of sweet garlic and just the right amount of spice, making it a versatile sauce that can be used as an ingredient or a condiment in everything from soups and pastas to meat and seafood. Every batch is made with tabasco pepper mash, which has been aged in white oak barrels for up to three years, giving the Thai-inspired sauce a hint of signature Tabasco flavor.
Whether Tabasco's Sriracha will ever be seen as a full replacement for the much-loved version from Huy Fong Foods remains unknown, but a more lucrative audience could easily be hot sauce–loving indecisives, those unable to choose between two of the most recognizable spicy red food-toppers on the market.
To get your hands on a bottle of this two-in-one, hit the Super Target in Palmdale (the only one in L.A. County) or splurge for a $3.99 bottle on the Tabasco website.