Hot Sauce!


This stuff is the JAM.

By Ezra Klein

I like when it’s hot. And frankly, it’s okay if it hurts a bit. Hell, it’s okay if it hurts a lot. Even if I have to suffer the next day. It’s a good kind of pain.

We’re talking, of course, about hot sauce. Why, what were you thinking about?

I actually fear the long-term consequences of my taste for spicy foods. I routinely drive my roommates from the kitchen, coughing and sneezing, because the smokes from the searing chilis has settled heavily in the air. Presumably, I’ll wake up one morning and the last round of sichuan peppercorns will have simply eaten a hole in my intestine. But until then, I’m all about the hot sauce. Sriracha is my ketchup. Uncle Brutha’s No. 10 is my partner. Mark Bittman, however, says I can leave all that behind. That I can make my own hot sauce, pureeing bushels of chilis sumberged in white vinegar and spiked with salt. So two questions:

1) Does anyone out there make their own hot sauce, and have tips?

2) Does anyone out there have a secret awesome hot sauce that I should know about. After all, I already told you about Uncle Brutha’s.


18 responses to “Hot Sauce!

  1. This isn’t that helpful, but by far the BEST hot sauces I’ve ever had were Habanero-based sauces from Belize.

    Unfortunately, I’ve never seen any of them for sale in the US. I used to work for a guy that ran an interactive agency who owned some property in Belize and he’d bring them back with him whenever he went down there.

    Kind of an orange-pink color, very hot, but with a very tangy, almost citrus-y complexity…


  2. spencerackerman

    The sauce isn’t the only thing that’s hott!

  3. I don’t know that you can find it, but for really, really hot, but still flavorful hot sauce, I like B.J.’s Hi-Tech:

  4. verplanck colvin

    Sriracha is my new fave. while not as hot, Cholula has an incredible flavor to it.

  5. While living in South Africa for two years, I got addicted to Nando’s Peri-Peri sauce, which has lemon, garlic, and olive oil in addition to fiery African bird’s-eye peppers. And lucky for you, Nando’s just opened the first U.S. location of their peri-peri chicken franchise in D.C., near Gallery Place. Unfortunately, I moved from D.C. to Idaho last year. :-(

  6. I started making hot sauce this summer, with the chiles from the farmer’s market. I did pretty much what Bittman describes, except: 1) I took out the seeds and pith, to get a better flavor/heat ratio; 2) I added some garlic and spices (coriander, cumin, stuff like that) at the blender stage; 3) Instead of letting it sit and pouring off some of the vinegar, I just kept cooking it until it was a nice consistency, added sugar to taste, and then bottled it.

    If you make a batch with a single type of pepper, you get nice pure flavor of that pepper. But mixing a bunch of different kinds makes for a nice complex aroma. I especially liked these tiny round yellow peppers (don’t know what they’re called) that have a light, floral scent–although they’re very hot.

  7. If you’re going to make a habanero sauce, add some (OK, a good bit) of carrot to the sauce before pureeing. The starch will cut some of the heat, and the sweetness helps, too. While I love me some homemade habanero hot sauce, it’s just too hot unless you cut it with something.

  8. I like Tabasco.

  9. people who dont are elitists

  10. I’ve only seen it in retail in Hawaii, but Hula Girl Chipotle Habanero twisted my head around. Hot and flavorful and a wonderfully cheesy pin up label.

  11. Like Ron, I like to make habanero sauce w/carrots, to control the heat, add sweetness, and maintain the fantastic orangeness. I add little else besides salt and maybe a bit of vegetable stock. No vinegar. I think I learned this or something similar from a set of Jamaican recipes, which also offered the excellent idea of pairing such a sauce w/ a sweet soup made largely from bananas and coconut milk. Amazing.

    As for bottled sauces, I swear by Green Bandit’s herb-chili sauces, especially the basil-serrano. Some people put it on fish; I put it on everything.

  12. Love Melinda’s.

    Tabasco makes a habanero that I’m quite fond of.

    Cholula is a great mexican one.

    But Texas Pete is my go-to put on and in everything.

  13. Ooh, don’t forget the relatively recent addition of Chipotle Tabasco, which is great for adding that rich, smokey chipotle flavor to soups or, well, anything really. It really stands out from the hot-sauce crowd.

  14. Midwest Product

    I would reiterate the previous recommendations of Cholula. That stuff is basically liquid crack.

    Also, regarding the Times’ DIY recipe, I’d recommend giving it a try using banana peppers. Hardly anyone offers a yellow hot sauce, and they have a decent flavor to them in addition to their spiciness (much like habañeros, and much unlike jalapeños, IMO). And if the heat level provided by the banana peppers by themselves wouldn’t be enough to suit your preferences, you could always toss in a couple of orange habañeros to increase the spiciness without significantly altering the color.

  15. Midwest Product

    Oh, and I’m amazed nobody’s mentioned Dave’s Gourmet. The variations on the Insanity Sauce are all reliably very hot, and most taste great as well:'s_Gourmet

  16. Um, that ain’t Bittman what wrote the recipe. Kerri Conan. Credit where due ‘n all…

  17. You need to check out the DiChickO’s range of Peri Peri Sauces.

  18. Pingback: Pintos Barrachos and Humble Burritos « The Internet Food Association

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