A Not So Hot One

Hey folks, welcome back to another of my weekly reviews. This time, I want to talk about a Hot Ones featured favourite, made by Dawson’s in the US. Their Shawarma Sauce, from season thirteen:

One of the show’s milder features – Taking only the number two spot on that season – but one with a very clear and specific purpose. And it’s not a purpose that we’ve seen on this blog before, so I’m excited to see what unique set of flavours it brings to the table.

Though, if its presence on the show is anything to go by, those flavours should apply rather more broadly than just over the advertised shwarma.

Its packaging is as simple and limited in shades as last week’s sauce but this one looks so much better. With a worn, black logo on textured, off-white paper giving it a sleek, old-fashioned appearance that inspires trust, despite the company only being nine years old.

Which is, to be fair, quite a lot for hot sauce. Just not so much for some of the other product types that you’ll see clad similarly.

Breaking from those blacks and greys, though, the company name stands out in dark red, above and below the label. Its colour both drawing attention and reflecting that of the wax ontop. Which is, in turn, stamped with a rather mysterious seal:

Outside of looking like a heraldic shield, I have no idea what this symbol is supposed mean. Yet it, and the wax in general, only add to that air of time-worn sophistication. Well, that and act as an indicator for whether the bottle’s still sealed, I suppose.

The one thing which breaks from that traditional image is also the one indicator of which of the Dawson’s flavours lies within – An almost peachy, orange and yellow gradient strip across the bottom, holding the name of the sauce. Designed, I would assume, to mimic the colour of the contents.

Though they look rather greyer on my spoon:

Thick and creamy, with an aroma like a good tomato pasta sauce. Filled with the herbal notes of olive oil and bay leaf. But there’s something else. An undertone that I can’t quite place. So I give it a taste and, as it turns out, there’s no tomato in here at all.

The creaminess and herbs may match but what smelled like a rich, cooked tomato base is, in fact, cayenne. Just as savoury, of course, but considerably more peppery in its flavour and providing a tonne of texture with its seeds. Alongside an unexpected

heat, prickling my tongue.

And, just when I think that fire’s about to fade, in come the spices with the natural anaesthetic tingle of allspice to keep it going. As well as to provide a powerful, clove and nutmeg-like taste which pairs beautifully with the dry spices used in my local shwarma shops.

That high allspice content is what took the colour out of my display spoon but it adds so much more to my tasting and it’s what makes Dawson’s Shawarma Sauce perfect for its stated use.

Yet I can also see that allspice working wonders over tuna – Perhaps in a jacket potato? – and its herbs are right at home in a bolognese or lasagne. Though its real second home, if you ask me, would be a mix of the two. As found in the tuna and tomato empanadas of my youth.

Not quite the usual jamaican patties that I’d pair my allspice with but then, this is far from the usual jerk sauce that I’d find it in. Pushing far more of a creamy, cayenne-forward main flavour, which I really enjoy.

It is made from:

cayenne, vinegar, garlic, extra virgin olive oil, honey, spices, red chilli pepper, sea salt, granulated garlic, chilli powder.

And you can find everything else I’ve tried with its pepper here but I’d thoroughly recommend this sauce as something both a little bit different and thoroughly delicious.

3 thoughts on “A Not So Hot One

  1. glempsto July 19, 2022 / 3:43 pm

    That “rather mysterious seal” is just a capital D, just rotate the picture 90 degrees anti-clockwise.
    As for the sauce, I found the allspice/nutmeg a bit too much, but that’s probably my problem rather than the sauce’s as I’ve never liked them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Spicefreak July 20, 2022 / 7:04 am

      I enjoyed the spices but they’re definitely not subtle, so I can understand if they’re not for you. And I appreciate the heads up on that initial. I can’t believe I didn’t spot it sooner.

      Liked by 1 person

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