Taco Bell sauce is more than a condiment. It’s a cornerstone of the fast food lifestyle. And T-Bell Fire Sauce, laden with jalapeño, tomato puree, chili pepper, and onion, may be the Holy Grail for the Taco Bell sauce community—at least, as evidenced by a recent Salon article by Ashlie Stevens.
In the article, Stevens unpacks Fire Sauce’s impact on modern man and woman. From 36-year-old Jeremy Taylor, who survived on Taco Bell Fire Sauce after being trapped for five days in a car on a snowy Oregon back road, to Lifehacker food editor Claire Lower’s “Taco Bell Salt” recipe, to Fire Sauce-laced “black kimchi,” one thing is certain: the public relies on Fire Sauce for far more than a slightly zestier burrito. (Fire Sauce was also a key ingredient in Takeout staff writer Dennis Lee’s own surprisingly delicious Monster Sauce, which you should try if you get a chance.) But Stevens reports that Fire Sauce’s legacy extends beyond the savory realm: some chefs are using it as a component in caramel corn, and it sounds pretty good.
Toward the end of the article, Stevens presents her own recipe for Fire Sauce caramel corn, loosely inspired by Bon Appetit’s 2015 recipe for Buffalo Wing Popcorn. Stevens’s recipe calls for brown sugar, Fire Sauce, baking soda, and paprika. It sounds manageable, even if you’re a spice weenie like me; according to Stevens, Fire Sauce has a Scoville heat rating of 500, which makes it hotter than Louisiana Hot Sauce (450 SHU) but more tame than Cholula (1,000 SHU). If you’re feeling daring, check out the article for the full recipe and additional Fire Sauce inspiration.