The summertime San Franciscan FOMO has felt all too real this year. While the sun shines brighter and the temperatures grow higher in nearly every other locale in the country, we have, until now, been caught in a springtime chill, waiting in agony for our typically tardy warm weather to arrive. After last summer’s underwhelming highs, watching the rest of the nation run around in bikinis and board shorts has left our expectations high for the next few months in the bay. Preparing to make the most of our two-month, almost-autumnal “summer” feels so high-stakes it’s practically like preparing for a battle royale.
To really make a splash at a summer party, the perfect bathing suit cover-up or cannonball will only take you so far. The champion guest of the pool party is always whoever brings the best food — an item that not only tastes great, but also leaves such a memorable impression, it feels like a slap to the face. Both of these criteria, luckily, can be ticked off the to-do list with a flavorful, easy-to-dose, and intriguing cannabis sauce.
Cannabis-infused sauces have been around as long as cannabutter, but have taken on a new appeal as casual consumption becomes more acceptable for the masses, and especially as subtle, microdosed intoxicants have gained new attention in the last year. Most are infused with only CBD or five-or-less milligrams THC per serving, allowing guests to spice their food as needed but still make it through the afternoon. Some sauces fail to pack a punch, while others are instant knockouts.
We know the stakes are high, and you need to bring a prizefighter to the party. So, we matched up the cannabis industry’s best infused dressings and condiments to find out who’s the real heavyweight. Back to your corners…
Round 1: Potli’s Chili Oil vs. Loud Grandma’s Chili Crisp
In our first corner we have Potli’s chili oil, with roots right here in the Bay Area. The company makes a variety of condiments and shelf-stable infused goods, the most popular of which is their honey. However, their chili oil is a strong competitor, too, with a smooth kick that’s perfect for anything from salads to toast to a bowl of piping-hot soup. The “going up” variety is infused with 10mg THC, while their “coming down” is infused with 10mg CBD. Each bottle contains about two servings. Best of all, their THC variety is strain-specific, infused with the social, sativa-hybrid strain Cherry Punch, so you know exactly what you’re in for the moment you take a bite.
In the other corner we have Loud Grandma’s Chili Oil, first conceived across the country in New York, New York and distributed by San Francisco-based pantry-good company Pot D’Huile. This seed-packed oil currently only comes in a CBD variety, though the company’s website claims a THC version is on the way. While that gives Potli’s chili oil an upper hand at the outset, Loud Grandma’s slightly more complex umami flavor, accented by fermented black soy beans like the Lao Gan Ma chili oil it’s made to emulate, make this one an absolute knock-out. Plus, unlike Potli’s 15 ml chili oil, Loud Grandma’s chili crisp comes in a slightly larger, 1.8oz package, making it a more stockable and cost-effective staple item.
Round 2: Dose of Saucy’s Barbecue Sauce vs. F.A. Nino’s Smokin’ Green Pot Sauce
The first competitor this round is a newcomer on the scene: Dose of Saucy’s Texas-Style Barbecue Sauce. The product is made by the founder of the buzzy CBD skincare company Taylor and Tess, Tess Melody Taylor, who draws upon her own Texas roots in making this tangy, spicy, flavor-packed sauce. Tomato paste and molasses stand out at first taste, followed by a strong chipotle kick at the end.
F.A. Nino’s Smokin’ Green Pot Sauce, however, puts up some stiff competition. The sauce is a jalapeño and serrano-based hot sauce with a significant bit of vinegar-y tang, well-suited for a wide range of cuisines from tacos al pastor to a mango-topped whitefish fillet. At 100mg THC per 6oz bottle, a few servings of this hot sauce still only constitute a micro dose, perfect for long summer days.
Both of these products are infused with nano-emulsion technology, a style of infusion technology that makes THC water-soluble and fast-acting. That makes these sauces a stiff match, both equally suited for anyone who wants the munchies to kick in by dessert. However, Dose of Saucy’s Barbecue Sauce wins this round, due to it’s perfectly addicting flavor balance of sugar, heat, and citrus-y tang.
Round 3: Potli’s Sriracha vs. Hot Sloth Hot Sauce
In another Potli vs. Pot D’Huile match-up we have Potli’s super-strong sriracha and Pot D’Huile’s pungent Hot Sloth Hot Sauce. Potli’s sriracha is a bit spicier than most and is also fast-acting, packed with about 5mg of nano-emulsified THC per teaspoon. Like with their chili oil, the company uses a specific strain combination — this time OG Kush, Lemon Skunk, and Purple Trainwreck — for a creative, upbeat effect they label as “play” on the packaging.
The Hot Sloth Hot Sauce is also strong, but with a spice that sneaks up on the taste buds from behind. The sauce is made with an interesting list of ingredients including japanese plum, habanero, and purple sweet potato, giving it an unusual, fruity complexity. Though it only comes infused with non-psychoative CBD, it serves up a lot of it, with 300mg total packed into the small, square 4 oz bottle.
Potli’s sriracha wins this round because, in the end, it’s versatility gives it a strong upper hand. While the Hot Sloth Pot Sauce certainly has intrigue, it’s hard to pair. It is really only suited for savory dishes that like a fruity topper, like pork chops or turkey breast.
The Final Round: Potli’s Sriracha vs. Dose of Saucy’s BBQ Sauce vs. Loud Grandma Chili Oil
In our three-way closing battle, we have a group of strong competitors so diverse, it’s surprising they’re in the same class. Potli’s sriracha came in with the heat, nearly knocking out the sweet barbecue sauce in the first couple of swings. But Dose of Saucy, with her Texas attitude, didn’t come to play, engaging in an all-out brawl while the Loud Grandma Chili Oil saved her energy on the sidelines.
In the end, it’s Loud Grandma who takes home the title, for what she doesn’t have in feisty spice, she has in versatile, umami flavor. It’s this sauce, in particular, that’s worth being a constantly-stocked pantry item, great for impressing guests or dressing up a take-out meal.
To beat her, they’re gonna have to kill her.