I was looking for something new to try, and I thought: what about making my own hot sauce ? I prefer more of a Tabasco type hot sauce, which requires a fermentation process. And so the journey began.
Google took me to various sites and experts. I spent a few hours doing research, finding similar techniques and tips and decided to dive in.
First up the Ingredients:
- 3 lbs jalapenos.
- Cold smoke tube or similar device w/ hickory pellets
- 4 Large sweet vidalia onions
- 20 cloves of garlic
- 4 carrots
- 8 dehydrated chipolte peppers
- 8 Quart mason jars
- 8 zip quart baggies
- 8 tbsp of smoked sea salt (or any sea salt, if using kosher then 12 tbsp)
- 8 cups of hot water
- Apple Cider (to taste)
7. STEP 1 To Y’all.com Hot Sauce- The Smoke
I bought a smoke tube, because I wanted to cold smoke some cheeses (that’s another article). This was perfect also for my veggies. I highly suggest the Amazen Smoke Tube. I have the 12″ one which gives me a good 4-6 hours of smoke. I used hickory pellets in my tube. I smoked 8 jalapenos and all the garlic. Quartered the onions. The bell peppers were for another dish. You could fire roast them, but, it would cook the enzymes out needed for fermentation. I smoked these for 4 hours.
6. STEP 2- Hot Sauce Ingredient Prep
Bring water to a boil and add sea salt and dissolve. Halve your Jalapenos, both smoked and unsmoked, keep separate. Put halves evenly in 8 jars. make sure 2 smoked halves go in each. Then smoked garlic and onions. again distributing evenly. thin slice carrots DO NOT peel. 1/2 a carrot in each jar. 1 chipolte per jar. Make sure your salt water is cool and put 1 cup each into jars. Now 1/4-1/2 fill those ziplock baggies with water and zip tightly. put on top of your veggies so that it submerges the veggies. If you have pickling weights those will work also, but everything needs to be submerged. Finally,cap those bad boys and hand tighten (do not over tighten).
5. STEP 3- The Hot Sauce Wait
So I put a towel in the bottom of a box and stacked my jars in there. Closed the box and stepped away for 3 days. Why the towel? Because once your concoction begins to ferment, there may be some spillage. This is why you don’t want to over tighten. Those gases need to escape. Otherwise, your jars will explode, which is no bueno.
4. STEP 4 – Fermentation Check
So, I wanted to check my fermentation. And, also, make sure my veggies were still submerged in enough liquid. The answer was a definitive a yes on both. I had pretty bubbles when I tapped the jar. I loosened and then re-tightened all my lids. and placed them back in my covered box.
3. Step 5 – The Reckoning
By Day 6 , I decided it was time to do the deed. If you want to wait longer, that will be fine. It would just allow more fermentation to take place. So. I got a big bowl, and put it beside my blender. Opening each jar and removing our “weights” . Pour full contents into blender and blend on high until you get a liquid consistency. Pour into bowl and move forward to the next jar and repeat. Once I did all of this, I added one cup of apple cider vinegar to the bowl and mixed. Now, you will notice that there is a “scum” so to speak that rises to the top. So, I took a strainer, placed it over the jar and began straining into my jars. That left a nice pepper relish behind in the strainer, which you can trash or save as a relish.
2. FINAL PRODUCT
I got 4 quart jars out of this. Went to the store and got quirt bottles and transferred the liquid over. 1 for me, and some for friends. The taste I got was unique. Apple cider and carrots gave a touch of earthy sweetness, and then BAM! the heat kicked in with a little hint of smoke. Almost like a smoky hot giardinera sauce. According to the “experts” this hot sauce will continue to ferment. All those tasty bacteria continue to change and deepen the complexity. Most folks say it will hold around a year in the fridge.
If you take your time with this, the tastes and experiences are endless. I want to do a smaller batch with some cherry peppers when they some into season. Also, maybe try a sriracha later. Best thing is all the bacteria is great for you! And the health benefits of peppers are well documented. If I change anything next time it will be a little less vinegar and I wouldn’t use the carrots , but more garlic and onions. This is just my flavor profile. Experiment with what fits yours! 25 Grillin and Smokin Tips