I used to be a cook. I’ve cooked at a few restaurants, and have close friends still in the restaurant world.

Here’s something I’ve learned:

Don’t get the hottest hot sauce.

There are obviously some caveats here, but I will start with the broad generalization first.

In most cases, when a restaurant offers a single sauce in a range of ‘heat levels’, making the sauce follows a predictable pattern:

The hottest hot sauce is just the 2nd hottest hot sauce, with a bunch of heat added to it.

That’s a problem.

This is done without regard to how the finished product tastes.

So you end up with the 2nd hottest sauce made to taste less good and just hotter.

Who wants that?

Now obviously there are times this isn’t true.

A restaurant may have a ‘hottest sauce’ that is made differently from the 2nd hottest sauce. Different peppers, different ingredients.

But when it’s an option like: “Buffalo (mild, medium, hot, death)”, the hottest is just a hotter less good tasting version of the 2nd hottest.

The chicken tenders from BIRDCODE, set to their hottest level (CODE Breaker), falling victim to the don’t get the hottest heat rule.

If you are the type of person that thinks eating the spiciest of the spicy makes you tough, I guess keep going because nothing I’m going to say is going to change that.

But if you enjoy heat but also care about the taste, go for the 2nd when its the same sauce at different levels.

There are plenty of great hot sauces and spicy dishes out there that come by their spiciness not out of a desire to hurt you but trying to provide the best flavor while being hot.

Let’s go find them.