Dare to pair: The dish on winning hot sauce combinations

Photograph: Shutterstock

The hottest couples around aren’t on the red carpet, but on the plate, bowl and glass. With Technomic’s recent Flavor Consumer Trend Report showing that a solid 77% of consumers prefer foods that are moderately or very spicy and 62% reporting that they are likely to use it on certain, if not most foods, there is a bumper crop of ideas for pairing hot sauces with foods and beverages.

In addition to menu staples like wings and hot-and-spicy chicken sandwiches (which have had headline-making resurgences on menus all over) operators can kick up menus by incorporating hot sauces into an array of dishes.

Here are some ways to heat up sales by pairing hot sauces with other ingredients:

Grilled Steak Salad with Buffalo Vinaigrette: Who says Buffalo sauce is only for chicken? Grill or cook sirloin steak, let rest and then slice on the bias and set aside. For the dressing, mix together equal parts Frank’s RedHot® Buffalo Wings Sauce and vinaigrette dressing. To build the salad, combine two cups of romaine lettuce with a cup of mesclun greens and garnish with sliced/diced cucumber, grape tomatoes, blue cheese crumbles, crumbled bacon and diced celery. Arrange steak slices over salad and drizzle with three tablespoons of Buffalo Vinaigrette. 

Creamy Cheesy Buffalo Chicken Flatbread: Combine a cup and a half of Frank’s RedHot® Original Buffalo Wings Sauce with a pound and a half of cream cheese, a cup and a half of blue cheese dressing and three quarters of a cup of Monterey Jack cheese. Blend in three pounds worth of cooked chicken, heat to melt cheeses and combine well. Spread flatbread with a half cup of buffalo chicken dip, leaving a half-inch border, and top with a few more pieces of diced chicken and cover with more cheese, then bake. Garnish with celery and blue cheese and cut in wedges to serve.

Operators can also add heat to other menu items, like snacks and drinks.

For instance, mix hot sauce, honey and ground cinnamon and toss with popcorn for a zesty bar snack. And, going beyond the classic Bloody Mary, create a hot sauce-infused cocktail like a Red Rum, made with ginger beer and dark rum along with a half teaspoon of Frank’s RedHot® Original Cayenne Pepper Sauce, or a Michelada, made with beer, fresh lime juice, two dashes of Frank’s RedHot® XTRA Hot Cayenne Pepper Sauce and Worcestershire sauce.  

This post is sponsored by McCormick For Chefs®


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