Playing with Fire: How to Make Gourmet Hot Sauces at Home

Head to any local gourmet shop and check out the independent hot sauce section, and you’ll discover two things: there are tens of thousands recipes available, and they all have to do with either 1) the devil and/0r 2) butts. Usually both. Just check out this photo from Jungle Jim’s near Cincinnati, Ohio. That’s four full rows, plus endcaps and features.

created at: 08/23/2010

All this guesswork and annoying imagery/titles is likely to make one stick to the classics: Frank’s, Texas Pete, El Yucateco, Cholula, Tabasco, Valencia, and the like. But, in the height of produce season, with those bold grass green, red, and orange chiles punctuating your garden, there’s every reason to try to make your own.   Melissa Clark from the New York Time’s offers two easy options, one red and one green. “EVERY time I contemplate making my own hot sauce, the label on a bottle in my pantry comes to mind, on which a red-faced, bug-eyed, fire-breathing devil cries an ocean of tears. I also think about those warnings that accompany most of the hot sauce recipes I’ve read. Unanimously they strongly advise against inhaling the stinging vapors, lest you permanently scar your lungs. All of this, combined with the fact that commercial hot sauce is cheap and tasty, has put me off the project. But when scarlet, gold and neon-orange chili peppers hit the farmers’ market this summer, I decided it was time to set caution aside and give it a go. I wanted to preserve the peppers’ stunning hue and burning bite, and hot sauce seemed like the best way.”

Tangy Salted Green Chiles

Garlicky Red Chile Hot Sauce