Hot Sauce Help

Discussion in 'Sauces, Rubs & Marinades' started by pugsbrew, Nov 5, 2017.

  1. pugsbrew

    pugsbrew Smoke Blower

    OK, I have read and read and I'm still not any closer to making a "Tabasco" type/consistency hot sauce.

    I just received some hot peppers, I think serrano, and made my first attempt.

    What I used:

    1 qt white vinegar
    1 med onion
    5 oz of carrots
    3.3 oz hot peppers - chopped, seeds included
    1 T sugar
    2 t garlic
    1 t salt

    Simmered for 10 mins, cooled, then blended. As predicted, I have a mash style of sauce, not the "Tabasco" consistency. Oh, and it's not all that tasty.

    So, how do you guys make hot sauce, and what ingredients/recipe do you use?

  2. motocrash

    motocrash Smoking Fanatic

    It's simple,you just need a used Jack Daniels barrel,torch,salt and vinegar......Oh yeah and 3 years.
    Following company tradition, peppers are picked by hand. To ensure ripeness, pickers compare peppers to a little red stick (le petit bâton rouge); peppers that match the color of the stick are then introduced into the sauce production process. Peppers are ground into a mash on the day of harvest and placed along with salt in white oak barrels (aging barrels previously used for Jack Daniel's Tennessee whiskey[8]). To prepare the barrel, the inside of the barrel is de-charred (top layer of wood is removed), torched, and cleaned, to minimize the presence of any residual whiskey. The barrels are then used in warehouses on Avery Island for aging the mash.

    After aging for up to three years, the mash is strained to remove skins and seeds. The resulting liquid is then mixed with vinegar, stirred occasionally for a month, and then bottled as finished sauce.[9] :)
  3. pugsbrew

    pugsbrew Smoke Blower

  4. bluewhisper

    bluewhisper Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    This is my method for making a pepper sauce that can go through a squirt-top bottle:

    First, keep to only red or green peppers, because blending them makes a brown sauce. Yes the Baton Rouge is a measure of color and what other state names its capital after a pepper harvesting tool?

    Start with red peppers of choice, maybe blended with orange or yellow peppers. I prefer habaneros but you could use anything you like.

    Cut the stems off and scoop out the seeds but you don't have to worry about getting every seed. Chop the peppers and you have the options of adding onions or garlic, depending on what finished product you want. Simmer them gently until tender.


    Then puree in a food processor. You'll probably have to do this in batches, depending on how much you're making.


    Then, force the puree through a sieve, using the back of the ladle to push the puree through the mesh.

    Return to the pot and simmer some more, as you wish. Add salt and vinegar to taste, but you need at least some as preservatives. Cooking destroys some of the capsaicin so the longer you cook it the mellower it gets. You end up with a smooth sauce that can go through a squirt top. It will have more pulp than Tabasco. Then just funnel into bottles or canning jars for a boiling-water bath.


    The pulp in the sieve is a by-product which you can use to flavor a batch of hot vinegar, or maybe put into a batch of chili or bbq sauce..

    I'm currently using a batch of habanero sauce I made in 2004 and it's still good after 13 years.

    In the hot sauce biz, the bottles are called woozies (slang for Worcestershire). Failed batches are called "fizzies" if they ferment and bubble, or "fuzzies" if they grow mold.
  5. pugsbrew

    pugsbrew Smoke Blower

  6. dr k

    dr k Master of the Pit

    I saw this process on how it's made (Science channel.) Maybe people can Youtube or google it. Also, how the thermapen instant read thermometer is made. I give away Ghost Peppers and Lemon Drop peppers I grow and dehydrate the rest for storage and grind to a powder to more easily measure and add to my favorite store bought hot sauces. These Ghost peppers have a Tabasco color before turning fire engine red but had to be picked before the first freeze.
  7. dr k

    dr k Master of the Pit

    Peppers are perennials so if you pot them they can be brought in over winter. After leaves fall it can be cut back to where the new growth small leaves are and water occasionally. I leave it infront of the sliding glass door all winter. That way your ready to start growing peppers in the spring when others are planting seeds or seedlings. You get an extra flush of peppers every year!
  8. bluewhisper

    bluewhisper Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Jim Campbell used to run the Mild to Wild Pepper Company. He rented space in an apple orchard south of Indianapolis to grow his peppers. In 1998 he posted a message inviting chileheads to come and glean his field after his harvest and before the freeze. I asked for and received permission to camp in the orchard overnight. I froze my a$$!

    So began Open Fields. The exact location is not publicized but let's just call it Area 37.


    It became an annual campout on the last weekend of September. At its peak there would be ~200 people and more food than any one person could sample.


    Everyone took peppers home.


    Jim quit the biz to devote his full time to being a fire fighter, and the field is no more. But the event carries on without the field. Now people bring their own peppers to share.


    So it goes.
  9. dr k

    dr k Master of the Pit

    Now that would be a great event for outdoor cooking and camping. Sharing different peppers and getting seeds for the next growing season.
  10. bluewhisper

    bluewhisper Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    You would love it, a bunch of foodies with beverages. And toys.

    Roasting pods with a propane torch



    Sunday morning embers and a dutch oven


    Habanero tequila


    All kinds of field kitchens

    Hot sauce/salsa contests


    It's a smaller event these days but it's still fun. For 2018, I'll bring back a jar of the Red Problem #1 sauce from 1998. That was made from red habaneros which I picked on the morning after the freeze. Driving home with buckets of those was like having a leaking tear gas cannister in the car.
    ab canuck likes this.
  11. dr k

    dr k Master of the Pit

    The first time I dehydrated four trays of Cayenne peppers at home over night was the last time I did it in the house. I woke up with swollen watery eyes and a burning nose and throat. I was acclimated to the smell and couldn't figure out what my problem was until I came back in from taking out the garbage. Now it's all done in the garage.
    - Kurt
  12. bluewhisper

    bluewhisper Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I love the smell of habaneros in the house. Jim had some big home-made dehydrator rigs in the basement and the aroma filled the place.
  13. tallbm

    tallbm Master of the Pit

    I'm not major pepper head but I have made a few sauces out of dehydrated peppers and out of fresh peppers.

    In my trials I have found a simple universal approach that will make some good hot sauce regardless of fermentation or not (if you want a tabasco clone, I'm sure you must ferment).

    This approach does no fermentation and is simple:

    1. Heat a little veggie, canola, or sunflower oil in a pot (NO olive oil)
    2. Add Onions and/or Garlic to the pot and saute a bit (if you have onions and/or garlic which I would suggest you have in your hot sauce)
    3. Add peppers (fresh or dry) and saute a little to help bring out their flavors, like 2-3 minutes should work
    4. Add Water, Salt, and other dry seasonings
    5. Bring a to simmer
    6. Simmer until there is almost no water left and you basically have a thick mush/mash
    7. Let cool a little and throw in a blender
      *****Key step coming next
    8. Add Vinegar and other juices/sauces (Lemon Juice, Lime Juice, Fish Sauce, or whatever your recipe calls for)
      ***** If you add the liquid stuff in step 6 and simmer until thick then you will cook out a lot of your liquid ingredients and you can produce some undesirable flavors, just try over cooking lemon or lime juice and see what kind of bitterness you get
    9. Blend for a couple of minutes or until things are at a consistency you desire
    10. If going for a thicker heartier hot sauce you are basically done at this point
    11. If going for a more liquidy hot sauce then pour the blended mix into a colander/strainer/or some kind of filtering device that is SITTING OVER A LARGE BOWL :
    12. Taking a spoon press the sauce into the strainer to force the liquid through the strainer and into the bowl. Do this until you have a thick paste in your strainer that is no longer producing liquid. You will likely have to do this in batches until the blender is empty.
      1. Save this thick paste in a separate bowl
    13. (Optional Step)Once all of the pressing is done, take the thick paste and place into a double layer of Cheese Cloth and then twist and squeeze by hand to get any remaining liquid out of that thick paste
    14. Let sauce sit in fridge for a few days or use immediately
    15. Keep sauce Refridgerated and it SHOULD be good for probably 2 weeks regardless of the ingredients, but do your research so you don't poison yourself!!!!!
    16. Depending on the PH level (based on amount of Vinegar, Lemon Juice, or other ingredients) the sauce may hold up for a loooooooong time refrigerated
    17. (Optional) If canning you should be following an approved canning recipe to begin with. If this is your own recipe then you better make damn well sure that the PH level AND the ingredients used will hold up to water bath canning. You can also Pressure Can but be SURE you cover the amount of time and pressure based on the ingredients you used for your hot sauce. READ UP ALOT on safety if attempting to can, this is a completely separate topic!!!
    So if you follow those steps you can basically make a non-fermented hot sauce anytime you please, with any kind of peppers and be ready to rock. It won't give you exact Tobasco flavor but I'll be damned if it doesn't give you a great hot sauce that is a little different, but comparable to what you are looking for.

    Let me know if this helps and best of luck! :)
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2017
    daveomak likes this.

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