Garlic is one of the tastiest and well-used ingredients in a hot sauce and many other types of sauces. The possibilities for its use as a flavoring surpass most spices and ingredients because of its bold and distinctive flavor. There are over 1,000 brands of hot sauce that use garlic in some form or another in their hot sauce recipes for this reason.
Garlic is rarely used raw in a hot sauce because this is when it is strongest, and it can overpower other ingredients. Garlic can be roasted for a deep, rich flavor but this will also remove some of its pungency. Powdered, dried, or flaked are some of the more common forms of garlic found in a hot sauce recipe.
Few people may know that garlic has many different varieties. Each of these varieties is slightly different in size, color, and flavor. These attributes may not be as present or noticed as much as some of the processing that garlic goes through before it becomes a sauce.
How garlic is processed will contribute to how it tastes depending on whether it is cooked, roasted, toasted, pickled, or fermented and this can be reflected in the hot sauce. However, because a hot sauce goes through so much processing or blending the subtleness of these flavors may not be recognized, especially if there is a long list of ingredients.
Garlic powder is one of the more common forms of the spice as it is used in a hot sauce recipe. It is easy to store, doesn’t require any processing, and still adds a lot of flavoring. Garlic powder is made by dehydrating whole peeled cloves at low heat to remove the moisture and grinding it into powder form. This is a form of garlic that is easily dissolved in a hot sauce and shouldn’t take further processing.
A hot sauce recipe that lists dried garlic, dehydrated garlic, garlic flakes, or garlic powder is all going to have similar reactions and flavoring used in a hot sauce. They are all processed similarly by removing the water or moisture content. Their flavor becomes more intensified and concentrated but there isn’t much that distinguishes the flavor within a hot sauce.
All of these forms are found in many successful hot sauce products but any further information on how the sauce is made is their Trade Secret. Because garlic has such distinct flavor chances are manufacturers of hot sauce are probably not using much processing that is “secretive” and just simply throwing it in the hot sauce recipe.
Fresh is best! Fresh garlic has a very strong pungent and almost bitter flavor to it. If fresh garlic is listed as a hot sauce ingredient it most likely goes through some form of a cooking process along with the other ingredients to reduce its pungency but also helps infuse the strong flavor into other ingredients. Using fresh garlic, either chopped, minced, or crushed, and reducing the sauce bring out its rich flavor even further.
Minced, chopped, crushed, smashed, pureed, scrapes or granulated are all forms of garlic that have gone through a step of processing to help release its flavor before it is added to the hot sauce. This preprocessed form could save a step in your process of making sauce but the overall flavor doesn’t have much of a different impact within the hot sauce. It is probably listed with the prefix of minced, chopped, crushed, etc. because that is the form it was in before it was blended into a hot sauce.
Fermented garlic or black garlic isn’t used very often in a hot sauce recipe and if it is then it probably gets fermented with the hot peppers and other ingredients. It is made by soaking whole garlic cloves in salt and water brine for weeks without letting in any air. Fermented garlic will have a dulled flavor to it and will become as tangy as vinegar.
Roasted garlic is my favorite form of the spice. If it is done right the cloves become a delicious and buttery, spreadable condiment that can be eaten plain. This form of garlic will have a stand-alone flavor but won’t overpower the other ingredients. Roasting garlic reduces its pungency but still retains its flavor and brings out its sweetness. This is often combined or roasted along with other ingredients.
Pickled garlic undergoes a similar process as fermentation but uses pickling spices. Instead of a brine mixture, it would use vinegar and spices found here. Although spicy pickled garlic is becoming popular it is not often that it is combined with other ingredients in a hot sauce.
Garlic oil is an oil that is infused with fresh garlic flavoring. Whole garlic cloves are soaked or preserved in a variety of different oils to give the oil a mild garlic flavor. The garlic flavoring will not be as strong, and the hot sauce recipe will contain additional oil that may not be necessary.
Garlic salt is another form of garlic rarely used in hot sauce recipes. It is a simple mix of garlic powder and granulated salt. For many foods, garlic salt is used as a topping or finish and not so much within the recipe. Most hot sauce recipes that use garlic will also use salt as this is also a very common ingredient so garlic salt may not be necessary.
Garlic chives are used in a lot of Asian cuisines but are not found in hot sauce recipes very often. This is a specific form of a chive plant with a garlic flavor. There is a lot of waste using garlic chives because only the tips of the chives are used. Toward the bottom or stalk of the plant will be bitter and tough.
Don’t over use
Overusing garlic can ruin a recipe and a hot sauce. Although it seems like the flavor of garlic can’t be overused its pungency and strong flavor can easily overpower a recipe. Often the flavor takes days before it is infused completely in a hot sauce recipe as it sits and lets the ingredients permeate together. This is where the garlic may seem to overpower the recipe. Adding salt will only intensify it.
Other garlic forms
Like many ingredients garlic can come in many forms and undergo many different processes before and after it is added to a hot sauce. Some forms will affect the flavor, consistency, and appearance of the sauce more than others.
Smoked garlic will have a strong smoky flavor that will be present throughout the hot sauce. This is often combined with other smoked ingredients like hot peppers to make the flavor even more evident. The only downfall is that the smoking process can take a long time and have added costs.
Sautéed garlic is minced or chopped garlic lightly cooked in a skillet with oil. This will also bring out a strong garlic flavor and will be very aromatic. Like smoking, this can also add an additional process to your hot sauce-making endeavors.
This could be any form of boiling, blanching, or heating the garlic to slightly reduce its strong flavor. Most often if garlic is cooked it is done along with other ingredients on low heat to reduce the contents to a thick and rich sauce, with lots of garlic flavor.
Toasted is a process where heat is applied to one side as opposed to all sides like roasting is. The flavor is similar to roasted but may produce charring. Once blending the charring will appear as “black peppery” speckles that contribute to the appearance.