FOOD: Taco Bell – Diablo Sauce [Discontinued]

Diablo Sauce 01On May 5, 2015, Taco Bell unleashed the Beast upon its unsuspecting clientele. A wicked pact was signed behind the closed doors of Yum! Brands headquarters. The souls of millions of Taco Bell lovers was the price. In return, the forces of Darkness would bestow Taco Bell their most powerful, most dangerous, most evil powers. Run! Save yourselves! La Diablo is loose!

…Well, la Diablo Sauce, that is. Taco Bell’s latest offering is Diablo Sauce, a new item that they claim is their “hottest sauce packet ever”. With a name that invokes the Dark Lord himself, this little packet has a lot of heat to live up to. Is it worthy of its Satanic title, or is it as Hot as a Hot Topic kid?

The sauce is served in a black packet with a pattern of little red flames on it. Like the other styles of sauce that Taco Bell serves, each packet is emblazoned with a little irreverent motto on it. The mottos on the Diablo sauces are especially snarky, including lines like “This is my warning level” and “Get on my level”. Out of the packet, the sauce is a lighter red color than Fire, leaning towards more of an orange shade.

We had an opportunity to taste this both on its own and in Taco Bell’s breakfast Biscuit Taco, which were being offered for free on May 5.

On its own

Diablo Sauce 02
The heat isn’t exactly “Diablo” hot, but it’s a considerable kick up from the warmth of Fire sauce. The underlying base of this sauce is tomato paste, but it’s got a much more “actually chilli” flavor than the super tomato-y other sauces Taco Bell offers. We detected some lime notes, and a considerable amount of red onion.
The worst flavor in this was that of soap – for some reason on its own it has a distinctive tang of soapy flavor, despite not having much in the cilantro department. A smoky, chemical-laden aftertaste lingers for minutes after consumption, with a lip-tingling and throat-searing burn.

Paired with others

A brief color comparison. The gang's all here! (Sorry, Fire-Roasted Salsa.)

A brief color comparison. The gang’s all here! (Sorry, Fire-Roasted Salsa.)

Of course, it’s a sauce, not a Bloody Mary (though pity to the unsuspecting person who thinks that might make for a good combination), so it’s not really meant to be enjoyed on its own.

In comes the Sausage and Cheese Biscuit Taco: sauceless and pitiful, a sad, sad excuse for a food product (so much so that it didn’t merit its own review, being overpriced and forgettable). Could something like this really be salvaged?
It turns out that the answer is a resounding “yes”. One packet of the sauce made a boring biscuit taco turn into a spicy flavor bomb. Though it’s not a hand-in-hand pairing (making it kind of baffling why they chose to promote the two items on the same day, since they don’t match well to each other), it still resuscitated the dry biscuit and rubbery sausage, making it almost not taste like eating car tires wrapped in flour.
We also tried it with the Beefy Fritos Burrito from the dollar menu, and it too was greatly improved with the addition of Diablo sauce. The better-tasting beef, rice and cheese made the perfect compliment to the tingly sauce. Either by unwrapping the burrito and adding it directly to the inside mix or by squirting it on bite by bite, it vastly improved the burrito experience.

One packet of Diablo sauce is definitely enough for almost any reasonably sized Taco Bell offering. The powerful spice of the sauce overwhelms the natural flavor of most anything it touches, rendering it simply “Diablo sauce flavored”. This isn’t exactly a bad thing – considering how dry some of Taco Bell’s offerings can be, the addition of a moist and flavorful element can really elevate a boring taco into a brand new experience.

5 out of 5 – Simply Superb!
Overall, this sauce is more “guy in a Satan costume” than “The Literal, Actual Christian Devil” spicy, but that’s not a bad thing – the guy in the costume is probably going to be more fun at a party, after all. This sauce pairs well with most of what Taco Bell has to offer, taking them a step above what Fire sauce could provide and making for a spicy experience. Without any doubt on our parts, this is the best sauce Taco Bell has and might ever have. We’ll be stuffing our pockets with these sauce packets and pray they’ll be added to the permanent line-up in the upcoming future. You’ve won our souls over this time, Yum! Brands – and we’ll take our burning punishment gladly.

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