Scott Roberts – Review of Benito’s Original Naranja Habanero Hot Sauce

Review –

Benito’s Naranja Organic Hot


Scott Roberts December 30, 2008 at 7:01 pm food

Benito’s Naranja Organic Hot Sauce
Ladies and gentlemen, I’m a sucker for vegetable and carrot-based hot sauces. You give me a good one and I’ll keep coming back like a sad little puppy dog begging for more. Now up at bat is Benito’s Naranja Organic Hot Sauce, a tasty-looking concoction that uses fresh organic and all-natural ingredients.

Ingredients: Onions, Tomatoes, Carrots, Garlic, Vinegar, Lime Juice, Cayenne, Jalapeno, Habanero, Serrano, and Thai Peppers

Aroma: 4.5 out of 5. Very fresh and light. I sensed hints of vinegar and garlic, blending in with a pleasing vegetable aroma. I’m not joking; after a few sniffs of Naranja, my mouth started to water.

Texture and Appearance: 4 out of 5. Naranja is a bright orange (of course, naranja is Spanish for the color orange), probably due to the presence of carrots. The sauce in my bottle contained very, very few minuscule dark specs amongst the pure orange mix. It’s consistency is a ground-up, mashed fusion of veggies, peppers, and watery liquid. It’s simultaneously runny, clumpy, and pasty. My review bottled came with an optional plastic dropper piece to fit on the top of the bottle. I didn’t use it for my review, as I wanted to get a sizable dose of the sauce on my food; but for proceeding uses, the dropper was fine, for the sauce is thin enough to allow enough to be dispensed with each shake.

Taste Straight Up: 5 out of 5. I poured a small puddle of Naranja on my plate and fingered some into my mouth. Immediately there was a blast of some of the freshest, strongest, tangiest vegetable flavors I’d ever had the pleasure of placing on my tongue. If I hadn’t known any better, I could have sworn someone had just picked some produce straight from the garden and made a nice picante salsa.

I noticed there was a complete lack of a saltiness (I guess some sauce makers rely on the white stuff in their condiments that my mouth was expecting it) and it made Naranja taste relatively bland by comparison. A moment later, though, unexpected high notes slowly materialized: the tartness of the vinegar and lime juice, small peeks of onion and garlic, and the slight searing sting of peppers. It seemed bizarre that these flavors didn’t come out for the first few split-seconds of time. It’s akin to a gorgeous swimsuit model being in a darkened room. First, you would shine a flashlight on her wonderfully tanned and toned stomach. Attractive, but incomplete. Then, someone would turn up a dimmer switch for a ceiling light to full brightness to reveal of of the most beautiful sights your little eyes have ever seen. In Naranja’s case, it’s your taste buds drinking in all that delightfulness.


Taste With Food: I shook generous amounts of Naranja on a flatbread wrap with grilled chicken breast chunks and melted monterey jack cheese. Good God, was it good!


Ever since I acquired my bottle, I’ve been dousing this sauce on just about everything I’ve consumed, save for my morning coffee. I can’t get enough of it!

Serving Suggestions: I could think of a hundred great culinary applications for Benito’s Naranja Organic Hot Sauce, but why don’t you grab a bottle and see for yourself?

Heat: 2 out of 5. It’s got medium-level heat. I was expecting a bit more fire because of the habs and thai peppers, but since the sauce tastes so great it’s certainly not a letdown. The heat hit the front of my tongue and lingered for a while after eating.

Label: 2 out of 5. It shows a peaceful outdoor scene, and on the back a photo of a man (Benito?) lazily sitting by a river. For some reason, it really doesn’t represent contents of the bottle.

Overall: Like the label states, Benito’s Naranja Organic Hot Sauce is “A Delectable Addiction”.Benito has really hit on something special here. Again, I love carrot-based hot sauces – in particular, Tabasco’s Tabanero, but this may be the best of it’s kind I’ve ever eaten.

You can get the goods at


DEFCON SAUCE FREE SAMPLE DAY (and free wings :o) ) April 12th,2008

Yesterday, Del and I swung down to St. James Gate in Maplewood for all you can eat wings provided by the crew at Defcon. We arrived around one in the afternoon. The bar was packed with hot wing conneisseurs. I immediately shouted for a long trail draft and hit the wing stand hard! They had three grades of sauce for the public to sample (Mild, Medium, and Very Hot). Devo and I started with three mediums and one hot each. I found the mediums to be extra tasty, an excellent mix of that tang that I have come to expect in a good wing sauce, accompanied by a slow steady release of sting. Then it came time to try the hot….I didn’t really realize the intense heat of the sauce until I took a swig of beer, and then another and another, then I realized the lingering pain would not subside. Needless to say, we took a subsequent break from the VERY HOT (aptly named) and retreated back to the medium grade. At that point I couldn’t taste any heat in the medium grade wings (taste buds were totally burnt out) so I sucked down another Long Trail (or three???) and went back for some more very hots ( a machismo thing I guess). Anyway, I found them to be more tolerable the second time around, but it still took me almost ten minutes to eat three wings which is definitely a first! Some friends showed up, only one of whom had the guts to try a wing on wing day. She had one very hot and was runnin’ for the hills. The heat was so intense that she got three completely naked wings after that and would not try any more sauce. Apparently they had a little contest in which contestants had to consume ten wings in four minutes without drinking anything before having to sit and flail for another four minutes in order to win a prize (some sauce or a shirt I imagine). Needless to say there were no takers from our group.

Eventually, I introduced myself to the owner and handed him a bottle of Joe’s #1 Jalapa which he very much appreciated. I thanked his wife for warning me about the very hot, before purchasing a 16 ounce bottle of the medium grade sauce. When I asked them if I could get a picture, the owner (whose named I already zoned out on) insisted that he put on the gear which consisted of a full gas mask set up with the “hazardous” effects (see photos below).

I’m looking forward to their next appearance which is in Union, NJ some time next month. Cool people….kick-ass sauce!

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