Updated: Dec 31, 2020
The Art of Pairing Classic Favorites with Bold Flavor
By Chelsea Vincent
From sea to shining sea, we all love the pep in our step from a little extra flavor and spice. But each area tends to have its own way of doing things, from the jobs we do to the recipes we celebrate and share.
Despite our differences, hot sauce is here to stay. As Quartz recently explained, since the year 2000, the hot sauce market in the United States has outpaced BBQ sauce, ketchup, mayo, and mustard combined, growing at a whopping 150%. Clearly, we like some oomph with our food.
While we can agree that just about everything tastes better with hot sauce, the type of sauce you choose can enhance different foods in different ways. With four distinct regions in the USA – the Northeast, Midwest, South, and West, according to the Census Bureau – knowing your way around hot sauce pairings can take your summer to a whole new level.
Whether you’re setting off on a road trip or re-imagining some of your favorite dishes from places you love, we’ve got your back. Here’s a run-down of quintessential regional favorites, complete with perfect pairings from the El Yucateco line-up.
The Northeast: Hearty Seafood & Staples
New England’s coastal towns and Colonial influences still endure today, with delicious Clam Chowder, Baked Beans, and New England Boiled Dinner – which combines corned beef and variety of vegetables into a one-pot, beloved meal – topping the charts locally. Red habanero peppers can help to bring out the flavors in these dishes, without overpowering the traditional tastes we have grown to love.
Pair with: El Yucateco Red Habanero Hot Sauce
The Midwest: All About Links
While we all love our hot dogs for camping trips and the Fourth of July, the Midwest reigns supreme, when it comes to combining meat and breading. Hot Dogs in Chicago, Corn Dogs in Indiana, and Beer Brats in Wisconsin never seem to go out of style, and for good reason – they’re juicy, delicious, and the epitome of summer! For a modern twist on these classics, a bit of island flair complements these items with a fresh, light taste.
Pair with: El Yucateco Caribbean Habanero Sauce
The South: Tried, Fried, and True
Ah, the good ole South, where most things need a bit of lard or oil to be deemed delightful. Take Fried Chicken (or Catfish), Shrimp & Grits, or Collard Greens with Bacon as perfect examples. To add a bit of smoky, rustic flavor to these tea-tempered plates, opt for a pairing which brings chipotle into the mix. You won’t be disappointed, and you’ll pay homage to that other familiar Southern favorite, barbeque.
Pair with: El Yucateco Chipotle Sauce
The West: Farm – and Ocean – to Table
Last but not least, the West brings us favorites from the Pacific and the mountains, including Poke (thank you, Hawaii), Rocky Mountain Oysters, and Bison Burgers. These distinctive flavors are fantastic with a hint of sweet-and-salty smoke, which can take the place of eel or barbecue sauce to create a rich, robust taste in every bite. Pair with: El Yucateco Black Label Reserve