Andrew Zimmern's Favorite Hot Sauces Really Pack A Punch

When a famed chef with 150 hot sauces in his possession dishes on his family's favorite bottles, we listen up. And when these spicy recommendations come from former host of "Bizarre Foods," Andrew Zimmern, we know he's not about to wax poetic about generic brands like Tabasco. Zimmern has taken to the internet to offer fans a glimpse at two pleasantly piquant condiments that have charmed the chef and his family.

Zimmern first showcases a bright orange Portuguese hot sauce called Mazi Piri Piri. The second bottle, which he calls his "all time favorite," is Hot Sloth, a flask-like bottle of vibrant magenta sauce. Both sauces are relatively thick in texture and produced in small batches, and they offer very different tasting notes. It's clear that Zimmern likes variety, and if you do as well, you can likely find creative places for both of these sauces in your meals.

The $20 piri-piri sauce is a limited offering, which means that online orders of the product (which also retails in select cities) are confined to a maximum of five bottles per person. Hot Sloth, which is said to imbue foods with a slow and creeping heat (thus the name), retails at $36 and is even harder to track down, as it's often sold out. Do your research before the next batch makes its way back onto shelves, or you might miss out.

Andrew Zimmern's favorite piri piri sauce builds on tradition

Piri-piri is the Portuguese spelling of the African Bird's Eye, also often called the peri-peri. Fans of chicken chain Nando's may recognize the term, as the tiny peppers play a role in the company's trademark chicken marinade. Piri piri also makes a great alternative to sriracha. Developed in Portuguese colonies in Mozambique, a basic recipe includes an acidic ingredient, garlic, pepper, and some kind of fat. The Mazi label that Andrew Zimmern loves puts a slight spin on this, influenced by co-founder Peter Mantas's experience with tasting it in Portugal. Mantas is better known as a former manager of musician Bon Jovi, but the man can rock a hot sauce, as well.

Zimmern describes Mazi's piri piri as balanced, noting its tart finishing notes, which likely come from the lemon and vinegar in the formula. The sauce's producers also add smoky whiskey and tomato to round out the citrusy, hot peppers. The product is aged for a week in oak barrels to develop its flavor, and oils are emulsified into the final sauce to ensure the texture is creamy and silky.

This sauce can serve as not only a fiery dip and condiment, but as a marinade, as well. Its acidic ingredients and plentiful salt make it great for grilled chicken and other mild proteins like shrimp, tofu, and pork. You could make your own Nando's copycat recipe, but with an even more complex and savory punch.

Hot Sloth uses unconventional ingredients for a unique sauce

Hot Sloth is the result of chef innovation. It was created by chef Andrew Zimmern's industry friends Mike Bagale, the former executive chef of three-Michelin-star eatery Alinea, and Kat Odell, former editor of Eater L.A. The spicy condiment gets its deep pink color from dragon fruit, a mild-tasting yet vibrantly-hued piece of produce, and sweet habanero peppers adds a floral taste and spicy-but-manageable kick.

Tasters will also find a complexity and slight savoriness among the sweet ingredients, thanks to the addition of umami-rich white miso and umeboshi. Umeboshi are a type of Japanese pickled plum cured with shiso leaves, and they're distinctly salty and tart. Perhaps the most unique ingredient is 300 milligrams of CBD, infused via pressed hemp oil and olive oil, which is thought to provide a subtle mellowing effect. The result is a hot sauce with depth and versatility, and fans claim to put it on all three meals of the day.

The sweetness of Hot Sloth's ingredients, along with the zesty fermented undertones, make the flask of sauce a natural companion for rich, cheesy foods. We'd imagine its sweet-salty components and lack of garlic would make a great ingredient to add to caramel sauce. Those curious about topping ice cream with hot sauce may also find this magenta condiment worth testing out.