How many different hot sauces have you tried in your life? Could you count them all? And how many times have you tried to make your own hot sauce at home? What sort of success did you have with it? Not totally right?
Sometimes you get it right on the first try (just as we did with our Reaper Sriracha sauce), and sometimes it takes a little bit more experimenting to transform average sauces into perfect ones. And, just how do you do that?
Supposing you have a basic recipe that works for you… here are a few pro tips to manipulate that recipe to suit your taste buds.
Don’t Choose Crazy Peppers – We know you want to create a hot sauce with interesting peppers. Who doesn’t? But, that’s not the best way to craft a perfect hot sauce; you need peppers that you can get your hands on quickly, regularly, and affordably. Otherwise, how will you replicate your recipe? (And you’ll need to get through a few different batches before your truly happy with your recipe; even if it’s almost right on the first go.)
Don’t Underestimate the Power of Vinegar – Even if you use a lot more vegetables than vinegar; it’s an essential part of the hot sauce flavor. It’s not always a matter of buying the cheapest – or substituting red wine vinegar for white wine vinegar. You may need to spend as much time tasting and testing your vinegars as you do your chilies. And, remember, you’ll want to be able to buy this ingredient again; don’t choose an imported brand, unless you’re willing to import it yourself.
Remember That Different Methods Yield Different Results – If you roast your peppers, you’ll get a different flavor than you would simply chopping fresh peppers and boiling them. If you grill your tomatoes rather than buying the canned variety, the flavors will be wildly different. If you’re planning to make your own hot sauce regularly, you’ll want to find a compromise between time-consuming preparation steps and fast and easy methods.
Make One Change at a Time – Okay, you can add a pinch of this and a pinch of that every time you try to craft your hot sauce. But you don’t want to remove all the tomatoes if your sauce is mostly right already. You may want to cut down the number of tomatoes, or add an extra mango, but you shouldn’t make too many changes at once.
Small Batches Are the Key – Unless you have a supply of preservatives at home, you’ll probably have a difficult time getting through great big batches of hot sauce anyhow. But, it’s even more important to craft small batches of hot sauce that you can scale later when you’re trying to make the hot sauce that’s right for you.
Oh, and don’t forget to wear gloves! We can’t stress that enough – and we’ve seen some of the painful consequences that occur without protection. (We’re sure you can imagine most of them.