Month 3: Zane & Zack’s Stinger X Review (September 2012)

Hello Hot Sauce Lovers!

Our third shipment of the Hot Sauce Club has officially been delivered.  Thank you to all of our club subscribers for your support of our Hot Sauce Club at, and welcome all of our new club members!

We had a busy month and we found a really tasty Golden Chile winning sauce from the great north-west in Renton, Washington! Tina and Sam from Zane & Zack’s World Famous Honey Co. jumped on the opportunity to send our subscribers two of their most popular hot sauces (in between their family vacation and jetting off to the 2012 Houston Hot Sauce Festival). We truly appreciate it Tina!

This month we get to try Stinger X and Four Brother’s Hot Pepper Sauce.

Name: Zack & Zane’s World Famous Honey Co. Stinger X
Origin: Renton, Washington, USA
Creators: Sam & Tina McCanless
Pepper: Red Cayenne & Habanero Chiles

Zane & Zack's World Famous Honey Co


Zane & Zack’s World Famous Honey Co. started in the summer of 2003. Sam had taken up beekeeping the summer before and wanted to come up with new, unique ways to use honey in different recipes. Since they both had a love for hot sauce and smoked foods, it seemed only natural to start out smoking jalapeños for chipotle.

After putting together a batch that they thought tasted great, Sam and Tina brought some to a friend’s BBQ. Everyone loved the sauce and asked where they could get some. When they found out that Sam had made it, they told him that he should definitely make more and share it with hot sauce lovers everywhere!

Over the following year, they handed out hundreds of samples and the feedback was great! Sam & Tina finally took the big step and  started a hot sauce company which they named after their two boys, Zane and Zack. Soon after, they landed on the shelves of their first store, the Hot Shop in Friday Harbor on San Juan Island. One month later their hot sauce was a Blue Ribbon Winner at the Western Washington (Puyallup) Fair in the honey products category.

In 2007, Sam and Tina took their sauce to their  first hot sauce trade show and they won big!  They took home the Zestfest Golden Chile Award for their ‘Three Brother’s Hot Pepper Sauce, the People’s Choice First Place for Best Hot Sauce, Best Hot Sauce and Grand Prize People’s Choice Best in Show! Additionally, the Honey Jalapeno Sauce received two third place awards in the Fiery Foods Contest.

Now let’s talk about the sauces you received this month!  We’ll start with the truly scorching hot sauce, Stinger X. You can read our review after the jump:

Stinger X Hot Sauce Review

Hot Sauce Review:

I picked up the package from Zane & Zack’s just before lunch on a hot, hot day in Las Vegas. I already knew lunch was going to be something simple, a margarita pizza – I just didn’t want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen creating more heat. I had two choices, the Four Brother’s Hot Pepper Sauce and the Stinger X. I knew the Stinger X was going to be the hotter sauce, having spoken with Tina about how we wanted to kick up the heat for our subscribers this month.

After I peeled off the seal and flipped the top open, I took a pause …flip top means controlled distribution of something that’s probably going to be pretty hot. I sometimes get carried away with new sauces and just assume I can take the heat, but that doesn’t always go so well.  I’ve learned ‘flip-top = caution’. So I grabbed a spoon, doled some out, and then let the taste buds decide. It was the right approach…

Stinger X Hot Sauce Up Close

Awesome! Look at that chunky rich, sweet honey hot sauce ..yes, looks pretty cool, but I can tell you, it has some KICK to it! It only takes a second to realize this sauce brings some very nice heat indeed. Honey start, followed by a sting, followed by a little more heat.  Red Cayenne is great, it makes my brow sweat and my nose run and I love the heat of Habanero chilies too, but let’s face it, if a hot sauce is nothing but heat, you are simply left with a product that is bitter. The first ingredient in Stinger X is honey which when combined with vinegar, really smooths out the heat and any bitterness, letting the flavor shine through! It’s hot, but I can handle this one. Let’s wake up this pizza ..flip-top be damned! …No, not really.

Stinger X Hot Sauce on Pizza

Yeah. Mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, garlic, basil, tomatoes… and a good turn of Stinger X.

Stinger X Hot Sauce on Pizza 2

Great combo, really great flavor, and a sting on the lips and tongue that was just what I was looking for. In fact I did seek out a little bit of coolness because my lips were burning and tingling a bit – I added some more after I took the pic – Enter a bottle of  ice cold Dos Equis and some ice cold coleslaw – they were a perfect compliment to this pizza/honey/fire combination.

Stinger X, like most hot sauces, is not complicated and has very few ingredients, but Sam and Tina have put together something that has some depth with Stinger X.  This one has to be tried ..and tried again. It’s a hot one, so this bottle is going to last a little longer than others I get. I think it’s a ‘light’ tasting hot sauce, so I’m not looking to put this on any heavy meats or anywhere I really enjoy savory, dark, heavy, thick mustard flavors. No, Stinger X is more on the sweet side, so this may be a hot sauce I put on pastas, pork, poultry, potatoes and pizza …where did all of these ‘P’s’ come from? Did I mention pineapple? I think Stinger X would taste pretty good on pineapple to be honest, but not pumpkin ..I don’t like pumpkin.

Dos Equis XX and Coleslaw Keep it Cool

The second sauce that was sent to our subscribers this month was the ‘Four Brothers Hot Pepper Sauce‘. This is also a very delicious simple sauce with less heat than the Stinger X …but the heat creeps up, it’s not an immediate burn. Four Brothers is a dark, thick ‘cap-top’ sauce, meaning you pour this one out liberally knowing it’s not going to be super hot – a little bottle tapping on the bottom may be required (shake well). Four Brothers brings a more savory Habanero and smokey Chipotle flavor, with a stronger salty-vinegar presence ..pepper and garlic rounds off the whole taste experience. Call me crazy, but I think this would go well on a caprese salad in place of balsamic vinegar – it’s a very fresh tasting hot sauce.

Four Brothers Hot Pepper Sauce Up Close

We liked (thumbs up)  Zane and Zack’s World Famous Honey Co on our Facebook page. They have updates, photos and other offerings on their page. If you want to learn more about them and their array sauces, or want to send them some feedback,  visit our Facebook page and check them out,  While you’re there, check out our other ‘likes’! –

Recap of Zack & Zan’s Stinger X Hot Sauce Review:

Best pairings: Pastas, pork, poultry, potatoes, pizza …and I am going to throw pineapple in here too.
Texture and Appearance:  Beautiful rich fire engine red with a good hearty mix of textured bits.
Taste:  Honey, Garlic and Habanero ..this is not a delicate sweetness, it’s called ‘Stinger’ for a reason. Shake well everyone!
Heat Scale : 7.5/10
Awards and Recognition: Zest Fest 2011 Golden Chile Winner!
Ingredients: 100% Natural, no additives, no preservatives. Honey, Red Cayenne & Habanero Chiles, Fresh Garlic, Onion, Vinegar, Spices, Salt, Natural Pepper Flavor.
Graphics/Packaging:  5 oz glass bottles, machine printed labels that are bright yellow, green and black. The logo and branding gets a little lost in the design on the bottle with the flames and the bee and all, but if you know what you’re looking for, or you order it online, it’s hardly an issue.
Final Thoughts:  This is the hottest sauce we’ve sent out so far, and it’s the second sweet/heat we’ve sent to our club (see Fire out the Hole!). Sweet and heat work well in my opinion, as long as it’s not too fruity. Honey is certainly a good base sweetness to work with.

(To try this hot sauce, and many more like it join the Club!)

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