Hot damn—check this monthly hot sauce subscription service

By Jane Kellogg Murray

Spicy, intense, tangy, smoky, fiery—there are thousands of hot sauces on the market these days, and just as many adjectives to note their individuality. Those of us who dash it on everything—from eggs to sushi to steak—are always looking to up our sauce game, branch out from the norm, and sample some new labels.

Enter Fuego Box, a subscription service that delivers a curated box of hot sauces direct to your doorstep every month. Owner Mike McAdams has every intention of peppering the world with his selection of small-batch, artisan-made bottles. While the spicy condiment has grown into a billion-dollar industry, Fuego Box is focused on finding the best hot sauce producers you’ve never heard of. More importantly, they favor flavor over heat. “Sometimes when you think of hot sauce fanatics, you think of crazy heat, and that's just not what we're about,” he says. “We're about helping small hot sauce companies making incredible sauces.”

Boxes that come with three full-sized hot sauces run $27.95 to $29.95 apiece (with free shipping anywhere in the US)—you’ll never be able to buy those bottles individually for less, guaranteed. If three bottles 12 times a year is more heat than you can handle, opt for a single-bottle shipment (priced at $12.95 per month), or go for a one-time tasting—if only until you build up your pepper tolerance.
Tasty tidbits

  • Fuego Box scours the globe for small-batch producers worthy of your time. Past subscription boxes have included Landry’s Louisiana Red garlic hot sauce, a thick, gourmet-style sauce from the heart of Cajun country, where the peppers are sourced near the third-generation family hot sauce plant; and Marshall’s serrano-ginger-lemongrass Haute Sauce—a sweeter chile sauce with a delayed fuse, handmade with farm-fresh ingredients found in Portland, Oregon.
  • The company also relies on a passionate team of pepper-loving advisors, meeting regularly for hot sauce tasting parties, to pick the next round of flavor-packed sauces.

If you can stand the heat

Spicy sauces and chile paste recipes date back thousands of years, so compiling a comprehensive list of the world’s hot sauces would be close to impossible. But thousands of pepperheads have built a network, hosting meet-ups and events to revel in the fiery tastes together, such as at the annual Austin Hot Sauce Festival—now in its 26th year and the largest of its kind, drawing some 15,000 spectators each year. Such is the mass appeal of hot sauce, which is fast becoming the unofficial king of condiments—sorry, ketchup and mustard.