It would be unfair to suggest that there are things that aren’t improved by a little hot sauce, but there are definitely foods to which it is more typically applied. But if, like me, you are looking to broaden your mind and add hot sauce to even more things, I have a few suggestions.
Eggs and hot sauce are actually a pretty typical pairing, but you usually see it applied to fried eggs, baked eggs, and scrambles. All eggs benefit from a dash or three of hot sauce, but hard-boiled eggs benefit the most (especially if the yolk in question is overcooked and powdery). The heat, acid, and hint of fermented sweetness of the sauce slices through the rich, sometimes tongue-coating yolk, cleansing your palate with fire and readying it for more hard boiled eggs to come. (I typically enjoy my hard-boiled eggs with a small smear of butter, so the hot sauce is even more of an enhancement.)
It also does amazing things to deviled eggs — even if you don’t add enough hot sauce to make them spicy, the acid and the peppery fruitiness make them a little more interesting, a little less heavy, and a lot more scarfable.
Watery, flavourless beer is greatly improved by the addition of an acidic ingredient, whether that be lemonade (for shandies), or pickles (for pickle beers). If you’ve ever had a Michelada or other red beer, you know that a bit of spicy-fruity flavour makes a shitty beer very easy to drink, and you can tap into that magic without all the usual Michelada ingredients. In fact, just a few shakes of hot sauce can transform a bland beverage into something unexpectedly delicious.
Put a Pickle in Your Shitty Beer
Until about five years ago, I was extremely into craft beer, particularly Belgians and anything spontaneously fermented. But somewhere along the line, I developed an allergy (?) or some sort of “condition” that causes me to sneeze every time I drink a beer that is not excessively light in flavour…
Hot sauce tamps down the bitterness, highlights the maltiness, and accentuates the small amount of yeasty character you often have to search for in mass-produced pilsners and lagers. You don’t need a lot — just a drop of two will add enough flavour to make a previously unexciting beer much more so. You are, of course, welcome to add more hot sauce if you so desire. I have nothing against drinking diluted hot sauce.
I know the Italians will yell at me for this, but it was an Italian man who first suggested I finish my red sauce with a little Tabasco. (To be fair, his mother does not approve.) Does the addition of hot sauce render red pepper flakes unnecessary? Of course not. But hot sauce brings a different, more astringent type of heat to the table, and the effects are immediate, allowing you to make last minute adjustments without having to wait for the flavour to develop. According to the aforementioned Italian man, “It’s cheating. You can just shake it in. And it tastes good.”