At the last place I worked, we had someone who thought he could handle the insanity which is Dave's Sauce. He was a miniature hard ass, a really weird quiet kid who despite being 5' tall, and weighing less than 100 lbs, was to join the Marines in a few months. He said "yeah, hot sauce, no big deal." So we dared him -- we'd place a drop on a saltine, and he had to go for as long as he could without anything to drink. He gladly agreed, and told us that he'd be able to drink straight from the bottle.

At that point, we told him that if he did that, it'd be suicide. Besides, the stuff was the collector's edition, coming in its own wooden box.

So my coworker brought in the bottle, as planned. We did not have a saltine, we had a couple of nacho chips -- which works even better. We asked him how much he wanted, he said "pour, and I'll say when." Normally, one drop will nearly incapacitate a full-sized man for a few minutes, so we gave him a drop to start out with. He wanted more, and reluctantly, we gave him more. Remember, this dare was for him to NOT take a drink of water for as long as possible. We probably ended up with around 6-7 drops of the sauce before we decided that any more would kill a man of his size. He tackled the chip head on -- put the entire thing into his mouth, chewed and swallowed. About 5 seconds later, his face turned the brightest shade of red I've ever seen, he broke out a sweat, yet he insisted (with a really weird voice, as this stuff can really mess you up), that nothing was wrong, it was "wussy" in its strength, and he could handle more. As soon as he ended that statement, he got up from the table, ran out of the room, only to reemerge 15 minutes later.

He mysteriously disappeared the next week. It is not known whether or not Dave's Insanity Sauce was to blame.

I found this stuff while in Old Town Albuquerque. There's a little shop in the square that only sells chile products and hot sauces. There was an entire wall of this place filled with hot sauces. They had a 1-10 rating scale under each sauce that marked the intensity of the sauce.

If there is one thing to be respected about New Mexicans, it's our incredible resistance to hot food.

There were two sauce bottles in the bottom right hand corner that had a warning sign above them. It said, and I quote: "Not for consumption by anyone with a heart condition or pacemaker, any type of intolerance to hot food, or pregnant women. PLEASE use one drop at a time." I was impressed. One of the bottles was individually packaged in a small black velvet bag, tagged "Scorned Woman".

I was impressed, but to this day I have never attempted to try this on anything. I've never seen it sold anywhere else since. The other was labeled in a slightly more friendly manner, with a picture of a happy little sunglass-wearing red chile pepper laying out under the sun. "Dave's Insanity Sauce" read the label. I took it to the counter, where the owner of the store reminded me that "Thees stuff ees no joke, man." He pointed out the small type on the side of the label where it claims that the sauce will also remove driveway grease stains and strip wax floors, a claim I can't support, but would love to try. I paid for it and took it home. I use about six drops in a stew for four. That's pretty good.

Dave's Gourmet Insanity Salsa: a first-hand review.

Enjoying food touched by Dave's Insanity is an exercise in masochism — a wonderful run in the flowers with the devil firing all the nerve endings behind your eyes. But in a good way. A tiny fork-tip full of Dave's Gourmet Insanity Salsa is enough to turn the tamest microwave burrito into an engrossing survival challenge: you ask yourself, do you have what it takes? Crying, you reply, "no, no, water, mama, mama..." nose running. Once again, a hot sauce has assured you of your own mortality. Later, your gastrointestinal fortitude will be tested as well. Hope that you are up to the challenge, for there is no turning back. This is not a product created by Dave Thomas, available at your late-night Wendy's drive thru. This is Dave's Insanity, and it doesn't kid around.

Dave's Gourmet Insanity Salsa ("The Hottest Salsa in the Universe") comes in a 12oz jar. This implies that it is intended to be used as a fairly standard salsa into which one dips chips. While I suspect some can take it, I would be very surprised if no deaths had been caused by this product. This 12 oz jar emblazoned with his trademark pepper-in-the-sun (under an umbrella, with sunglasses) should last you most of your natural life. Contains tomato sauce, onions, red savina chiles, habañero chiles, pinapple juice, thai chiles, garlic, cilantro, other spices, and salt.

Dave writes:

I have used a specially grown California habanero pepper (@326,000 Scovilles) in my salsa to create the most intense heat with a super salsa flavor. Warning: use this salsa one taste bud at a time. Thank you."

Refrigerate after opening.

Dave's Insanity Sauce is widely regarded as the Grand Poobah of "extreme" hot sauces. In its wake, there have been scores of imitators brought to market, some hotter than Dave's wares, and some tastier, but Dave's original Insanity Sauce will always be the most recognized. It's kind of like Star Trek: The Next Generation ... It is in many ways superior, but will never be as recognized as the original.

"Boy, this stuff is hot." -- Bryant Gumbel of The Today Show, in an unusual ejaculation of enthusiasm.

Dave's Insanity Sauce first came into being in 1992 or 1993 while Dave Hirschkop was managing a Mexican restaurant/bar in Maryland called Burrito Madness. One night Dave began experimenting with extremely hot sauces, which he fed to the drunk patrons. To his surprise, the drunks either got really quiet or left in a hurry. Thus, Insanity Sauce was born, named because you'd have to be insane to enjoy the stuff. Many people (myself included) proudly proclaim that they are indeed afflicted with such an insanity.

Dave submitted his product to the National Fiery Foods Show in New Mexico one year, probably 1993, and despite the nature of the show, Insanity Sauce was banned for being too hot, largely because of the presence of capsaicin extract in the sauce, as previously no one had added it to something deemed fit for human consumption. The fact that Dave showed up at the show wearing a straitjacket did much to further the image of Insanity Sauce.

The stuff is made from various parts of red savina habanero peppers, which is regarded as one of the hottest peppers in the world (though the Indian bhut joloka pepper is almost three times as hot). As a result, the whole packs a whopping 326,000 Scoville Heat Units (as opposed to Tabasco Sauce, which boasts a feeble 3,700 SHUs). Other ingredients include tomato sauce, onions, vinegar, spices, soy oil, garlic and salt.

It also packs a hella mean punch. Take a toothpick and dip it in the sauce, then touch the tip of the toothpick to your tongue. At first you'll think, "This isn't so bad... it's actually kind of tasty." If you don't feel like savoring the smokey, barbeque-like flavour (or if you can't discern it amid the mass of chemical burn your tongue has become), you'll immediately be making a mad dash for the nearest source of liquid in an attempt to extinguish the nuclear heat currently spreading its way across your mouth and down your throat. Most people use it only by the drop and only as an ingredient, not a condiment -- it's much, much too strong to be used as a condiment, except to a very small number of truly crazy people. Sautée a chicken breast in olive oil and one drop of Insanity Sauce and you'll see what I mean. Dousing your tongue with petrol and then setting it afire probably wouldn't be as hot.

Heat level: 10+ -- don't let this fool you, though, as there are a few varieties of Insanity Sauce that are even hotter, such as Gourmet Insanity Sauce, which weighs in at 10+++.

If you're curious about trying this fiery delicacy but can't find it in your particular manusquire, I recommend ordering a bottle from:

or from Dave himself:

Log in or registerto write something here or to contact authors.