Hot sauce—once the province of Texas Pete and Tabasco—has become a localized specialty that small-scale vendors everywhere want to claim as their city’s own recipe. Washington is no exception. We’re obsessed with the stuff these days—both making it and splashing it on everything from biscuits to barbecue. Here, eight local spins on the fiery condiment, ranked from sizzling to scorching.
Your fried rice will thank you for a dash of this sweet-spicy, Guamanian-style, soy-based sauce. $4.50 at Union Kitchen Grocery.
A savory blend of jalapeño, mustard, ginger, and spices can perk up seafood dishes. $7.99 online and at local stores.
Put DC native Brennan Proctor’s robust four-chilies-and-garlic “allsauce” on everything from barbecue to fish. $7.99 online and at local stores.
Local peppers (aji, ghost, cayenne) and time in rum barrels give these limited-edition bottles a unique kick. $7 on Etsy.
Smoked garlic, vinegar, and Thai chilies make for a bright, super-savory sauce. $8 online and at the store.
Woodberry Kitchen chef Spike Gjerde’s brew gets fire from Chesapeake fish peppers and mellowness from oak aging. $6.60 online and at local stores.
Don’t let cuteness fool you—fermented “chili bears” pack a punch, filled with a sauce made of chocolate habaneros and beer. $4.75 at number1sons.com.
Pepperly Love Fatal
The name doesn’t lie—our taste buds croaked after a smidge of this sauce made with Carolina-reaper, scorpion, and ghost peppers. $4 at relishmarket.com.
This article appears in the December 2019 issue of Washingtonian.