Summer is upon us, which means that a shift in your food world is imminent. There will be loads of barbecues to attend, camping trips to cater and morning brunches to enjoy on the patio. And while a myriad of condiments might be enjoyed between all of the various warm-month meals, don’t overlook what a great—and versatile—addition hot sauce brings to the table. As it happens, Colorado is a hot spot for the stuff, too, with local makers dotted all over the state who are busy fashioning their one-of-a-kind recipes. This season, put down your beloved Sriracha and spice up summer dishes with some homegrown labels instead.
Horsetooth Hot Sauce
City: Fort Collins
Sauce: Smokestack Lightning
Spiciness Rating: 3.5 / 5 peppers
Based in Fort Collins, Horestooth’s motto is that “heat mixed with great flavor is best,” and we agree. You will too, once you try one of their cleverly named mixtures like the Smokestack Lightning, which takes smoky Chipotle peppers and marries them with Cayenne, fresh garlic and onions to produce the umber brown sauce. Try with sweet potato fries, or drop it in a burrito for some extra kick. If it’s done its job, they say, you’ll be sweating profusely (or at least mildly perspiring) in no time.
City: Boulder / Gold Hill
Sauce: Wildfire Hot Sauce
Spiciness Rating: 5 / 5 peppers
Carolyn and Leland Oxley founded Motherlode Provisions (named to honor Gold Hill’s mining heritage) in the wake of the Fourmile Fire. And though it’s a more welcomed sort of flame, their hot sauce is still a force to be reckoned with—one whiff of the bottle is enough to clear out your sinuses and make your eyes water, in a good way. Made from rich vegetable bases and four different kinds of peppers, the sauce is all-natural, so you can feel good about throwing it on all of your favorite egg or meat dishes this summer. motherlodeprovisions.com
Redlaw Sauce Co.
Sauce: Scorpion Hot Sauce, green label
Spiciness Rating: 2 / 5 peppers
Made with the super potent scorpion pepper and serrano chiles, this sauce manages to be surprisingly kind to taste buds. After 19 years in the restaurant biz, Justin Chinchen (more commonly referred to as Hollywood) started his own line of all-natural sauces designed to bump up the heat in any dish you fancy more excitement from. The green Scorpion sauce is especially good paired with breakfast—cowboy eggs, hash browns, coffee (yeah…some people do this)—for bite without the sting.