The main ingredient in pepper spray is capsaicin, which is also the chemical that makes hot peppers spicy. So put two and two together and you should be able to use pepper spray in place of hot sauce, right? Well, not so fast.
We weren’t going to be the guinea pigs and try it for ourselves, but ask anyone who’s experienced being pepper sprayed and they’ll tell you that it’s an incredibly unpleasant experience. Your whole face burns, and if any gets in your mouth, it’s like eating a really hot chile pepper. But if you live to eat really hot chile peppers, could pepper spray deliver that endorphin rush you’ve been craving?
First, a little background on pepper spray. Because it’s designed to essentially be consumed, it’s actually considered a food product; it’s just pure concentrated capsaicin mixed with some sort of dispersing agent and occasionally food dye. So yes, you can treat it like hot sauce, but it’ll be spicier than any hot sauce you’ve ever had, and it’ll also be extremely bitter with a nasty aftertaste and none of that fruity flavor that even really spicy peppers have.
A couple folks on Quora actually tried this out for themselves (or witnessed someone who did) and the end result is about what you’d expect: Hardy chile heads only endured because they’d built up a tolerance for really, really spicy stuff, and amateurs immediately regretted it.