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Best Salsa Dallas 2010 - Gun Barrel Hot Sauce

Readers' Choice: Quesa-D-Ya's

The folks at Gun Barrel Hot Sauce appear quite proud of their roots 60 miles southeast of Dallas, which would be Gun Barrel City, of course, where the company began in 1989. But we're most proud of Gun Barrel's move to Dallas, where it makes the best hot sauce you'll find in a city with no shortage of options. While a bit pricey at $4.99 per pound and only available at select grocers like Whole Foods, Gun Barrel's ingredients are straightforward and as fresh as you'll find. There are four varieties—mild, medium, X Hot and XXX Hot—but we've only tried one, the XXX. Perhaps it's our propensity to buy things that say "XXX Hot" no matter what they are, but we stumbled on the ideal blend of spices. No need to mess with perfection.

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In hot sauce, remember that it is better to start out too mild than too hot. And if you cannot handle the heat or do not care for sauces, they don’t consider yourself as one of the chiliheads.

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I was always a bit shy of too hot until I was put into near cardiac arrest when eating fried shrimp with hot and sour in Vietnam. I was stunned into an agonizing immobability, drenched in sweat and with beer, water, rice and ice only adding to the sensory fire. After about five minutes, the heat diminished enough for me to realize all the flavors of the sauce; pepper essence, sweet and tasty, and combined with the sour citrus taste. When my head cooled off, the heat and humidity of the day felt mild and balmy where before it was hot and humid. Endorphins addicted me instantly and I now find Jolokia the perfect pepper for *everything.* Start hot and find a new reality ...


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