Hot Sauce to Blow Your Socks Off

We love all things spicy. REALLY spicy. I was pissed when Sriracha changed their formula and became milder. That shit was the bomb and now I have to slather it on my food just to get some heat. We go through Tapatio like it’s going out of style. It’s only taken about a month for me to go through half a large bottle of it at work. Only I use it for maybe 4 meals per week. We have hot sauce on eggs, pizza, soup, and salad. I put cayenne in hot chocolate and flourless chocolate cake. Yes, we LOVE spicy.

We’ve been fairly unsuccessful growing hot peppers. The summers just don’t get warm enough. Our jalapenos arrive sweet. But Esperanza gave me a tip this year and it worked like a charm. She told me her grandfather’s secret of getting hot peppers. Plant a habanero with your other hot peppers and they’ll pass their magic onto them. Hot diggity dog, we got hot peppers – and lots of them.

We’ve been using them as needed in dishes, but I wanted to make sure to preserve some other than just pickling them. I searched for a great hot pepper sauce recipe. I thought I had found one. It didn’t say anything about it being a hot and sweet sauce but I should have known that it would be as I dumped an equal amount of sugar into the vinegar. I ended up cooking it down so far that it turned into more of a hot pepper jam than a sauce. While it’s really tasty, it wasn’t really what I wanted.

I wanted a vinegary concoction that had great flavor but wasn’t sweet. I looked quite a bit and never really found any that I liked. Another problem I was having was that I had a TON of peppers and most hot sauce recipes didn’t really convert well as they were based on volume measurements rather than weight measurements.

I decided to wing it and I’m really glad I did. This came out fantastic while also being incredibly hot. You can, of course, mix in sweet peppers so it’s not as hot. I used some sweet peppers like Red Marconi and mild peppers such as Anaheims, but I mostly used fish, Fresno, habanero, serrano, Thai Dragon, Kung Pao, and Aci Sivri varieties.

The secret to a really good hot sauce, and actually any good condiment or pickle is to always add a touch of sweetness. Not so much that it would be considered sweet, but just enough to cut the acid. This was one thing I found missing in most of the recipes I came across. While you can use regular sugar, I like the deepness of brown sugar for this sauce.

1 lb peppers – mix of hot and sweet depending on the amount of heat you want
1 c cider vinegar
1 Tbs salt
1 Tbs brown sugar
5 cloves of garlic – pressed

1. With gloves on, cut off stems of peppers and run through food processor until the juices begin to release. Put puree into a heavy stock pot.
2. Add the remaining ingredients and over medium high heat, bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
3. Using a stick blender, puree even further until there are no more lumps.
4. Fill hot, sterile, 8 oz jars leaving a 1/2″ head space.
5. Process in a water bath canner for 10 minutes.

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