There is more to good hot sauce than just the ‘hot’. Good hot sauce has good flavor. Terrific hot sauce has flavor that is practically bursting at the seams. The following recipe is fantastically flavor filled. However, people should understand that this is definitely hot sauce, so it doesn’t take more than a few drops in food in order to raise the heat and tingle the taste buds.
Commercial hot sauce isn’t a lot more than hot pepper juice in vinegar. Traditional “Tabasco Sauce®” uses Tabasco peppers, as the name implies. Tabasco peppers have a heat rating of between 30,000 and 50,000 on the Scoville scale, which makes them a moderately hot pepper. Tabasco brand hot sauce has a rating of 2,500 to 5,000, according to Tabasco Foodservice.
My recipe uses a combination of dragon cayenne peppers and jalapenos. Both are very flavorful. Jalapenos only have a heat rating of 3,500 – 10,000. However, dragon cayennes are hybrids with a rating of between 50,000 -100,000 and both jalapenos and dragon cayennes have a great deal of flavor. The dragon cayennes might be a little hard to find unless you grow them. However habanero peppers will work if used instead of the dragons. The flavor won’t be quite as good, but should still be a close second in taste. Note that dragon cayennes are heavy producers and one plant will usually produce more than enough peppers for this recipe.
Something else that is a little bid different about this recipe as compared to typical hot sauces is that since flavor is the most important part of good hot sauce, it also uses garlic and onion. It isn’t exclusively peppers. This does make the sauce just a little milder, but not a great deal.
I’m the only one in the house who enjoys hot peppers, so this hot sauce is perfect for increasing the heat and flavor of dishes like chili, while allowing other family members to eat theirs bland.
Hot Sauce Ingredients:
15 dragon cayenne peppers, diced
5 jalapeno peppers, diced
1 cup finely diced onion
3 tablespoons minced garlic
1 1/2 cups vinegar
1/2 cup water
1 scant teaspoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
Hot sauce instructions:
1. In a small frying pan, fry the peppers, onions, garlic and salt in the olive oil over medium-low heat until the onions are translucent. This usually takes 5-10 minutes or so.
2. Add the water and vinegar, stir and cook, uncovered, for an additional 15 minutes, then allow the mixture to cool.
3. Pour the mixture into a blender and blend until the mixture has no large pieces; about a minute or so. Put this through a coffee filter or fine cheese cloth retaining the juice. The juice is the hot sauce. Pour this into a jar that will hold at least two cups and cap the jar.
Allow at least a week in the refrigerator, preferably more, before using the hot sauce. The best flavor develops after 2-3 weeks.
Note that when cooking the peppers, the windows and/or doors should be open or your eyes are liable to water profusely. Also, everything used to make the hot sauce should be thoroughly washed with soap and hot water after making the hot sauce. The volatile oils that give the peppers their heat tend to cling to everything they come into contact with.
Important: Do not touch your eyes after handling the hot peppers, until your hands have been thoroughly washed and rinsed.
Also note that if you use peppers that have turned red, the sauce should be a red sauce. Using the green version of the peppers should result in sauce that is green. The flavor and heat shouldn’t be affected either way. Using more jalapenos and fewer dragons will result in a milder version. Also, removing the seeds prior to dicing and cooking the peppers should significantly lower the heat.
This is an exceptional hot sauce and it will keep many months in the fridge. Even if you don’t like hot foods, this is worth making for special guests who do. In fact, this sauce also makes wonderful gifts for people who love using hot sauce but who have to settle for using store bought, which is largely flavorless.
A few drops of this in my chili makes an outstanding dish. It also goes well on ground beef tacos, burritos, seafood or just about anything else that you want to add a little zing to.