How to Make Hot Sauce
Hey, George here! I’m one of the co-founders of Yellowbird and I’m the guy who cooks up all the concepts and recipes for the sauces we make here. People ask me all the time for hot sauce recipes and I usually tell them that you can make hot sauce out of almost anything. I’m also not legally allowed to give them our recipes even though they are printed right on the bottle. This post doesn’t contain any recipes or long, boring intros to maximize SEO. I just want to talk about SAUCE!
Hot sauce began very simply as a way of preserving flavorful, spicy peppers. The earliest hot sauces were likely from the Mayans and were probably just fermented pepper mash mixed with water. The oldest commercial sauce still in production today is Tabasco, founded in 1868, which is a pretty simple mixture of pepper mash, vinegar, and salt. Typically when people think of hot sauce they think of something like Tabasco that is very watery and very acidic. This is one style of hot sauce (Louisiana–style) but there are many different versions you can make.
Another thing I would like to add here is that you have much more flexibility with a recipe that you make in your own kitchen than anything that is commercially available in a store or online. Commercial bottlers of hot sauce have to meet strict guidelines by state, local, and federal authorities on food safety and preservation. Most shelf-stable hot sauces are required to be cooked and to have a minimum level of acidity to be retail-legal. If you want something outside of these parameters, you would have to find it in the refrigerated condiments section of the store which is not a section that even exists in most stores. Or you can make it yourself!