tabasco sauce, packets or bottles?
September 19, 2010 12:57 PM   Subscribe

Is Tabasco sauce in bottles different than Tabasco sauce in packets?

It seems like it's just got to be. Tabasco sauce in packets tastes different (better on some things, like pizza), seems to separate if you leave it sit long enough, and doesn't seem as hot.
posted by scharpy to Food & Drink (10 answers total)
Even if they taste the same coming from the factory, Tabasco sauce in a bottle is more likely to be refrigerated, since you keep it around for a long time after you've opened it. The refrigeration alone could affect the taste.
posted by John Cohen at 1:28 PM on September 19, 2010

I find that the tabasco sauce in bottles separates somewhat, leaving a thick residue around the neck.
posted by b33j at 1:30 PM on September 19, 2010

Hot sauce does not need to be refrigerated. Its primary ingredient is vinegar, which makes it nonperishable for all intents and purposes.

Shaking it up should recombine it if it's separated, but then I'd probably just throw out a bottle that got truly gross and replace it with a smaller one I'd be more likely to use up before it went icky.
posted by Sara C. at 3:32 PM on September 19, 2010

Well, I always keep my Tabasco sauce in the refrigerator, and it's always fine. My stepmom keeps her Tabasco sauce in the pantry and it got so discolored we didn't feel safe using it. I don't know how old it was, but I don't think she uses dramatically less Tabasco sauce than I do.
posted by John Cohen at 3:56 PM on September 19, 2010

I grew up (in Louisiana, for Chrissakes!) keeping hot sauce in the cupboard. We never had a problem with discoloration or anything else. I've only met people who keep it in the fridge since I've moved up north. I still think it's weird.
posted by Sara C. at 4:07 PM on September 19, 2010

The Tabasco company makes several varieties of sauce. (Garlic Tabasco!)
They have different heat ranges.
They don't mention packaging methods, so it's hard to tell.
But each sauce has a range of scoville units, so its possible that the packets you have are a little cooler. It's also possible that being packed in small quantities leads to more rapid deterioration, I suppose. But who knows.

As I recall, the teeny tiny bottles that come in MRE packages are just as hot as the big bottles.
posted by SLC Mom at 4:16 PM on September 19, 2010

Where do you get packets of Tabasco? I'm in Louisiana and I've never seen them. Maybe because everywhere here just has a bottle on the table?

Anyway, bottle Tabasco does separate if it sits long enough, which seems to be your experience with the packets. I think they're probably the same product.

Hot sauce in the refrigerator? That's weird.
posted by CheeseLouise at 5:21 PM on September 19, 2010

Response by poster: @CheeseLouise the Panera near where I live in Denver has the packets. I consistently overestimate how many I need when I go. Sometimes being wrong works out really well.
posted by scharpy at 5:41 PM on September 19, 2010

Best answer: it is possible that it is a different formula but probably not (i didn't look up the ingredient legends). the glass bottles are always open to the light, which can cause changes in flavor (light oxidation) over shelf life (that is the reason most milk jugs are not clear...more opaque...and other foods as well). plastic packaging could also cause a slight difference in flavor as glass does not react with the vinegar.
posted by catseatcheese at 8:04 PM on September 19, 2010

I buy MREs in the flea markets here in Seoul (they're great for taking on hikes), and they used to have these teeny-weeny glass bottles of Tabasco sauce in them. Not more than 1.5 inches high, I guess. (Here's a picture showing the range of Tabasco bottles in my cabinet, including the little MRE baby bottle). I'm guessing they stopped including them in the MREs since they're glass, for Pete's sake.

But yes, I always thought the sauce in the little bottle was a little browner in appearance than the others, and a little more heavy on the salt/vinegar flavor than the pepper. Maybe that's an MRE long-term storage issue and these little bottles weren't exactly fresh from the factory.
posted by holterbarbour at 10:48 PM on September 19, 2010

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