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Ever made your own Tabasco sauce?

I usually freeze our chilis for perking up Winter soups (get me! I’m Martha Freaking Stewart!), but this year, Uncle B got a little…carried away. That’s just under two pounds of red, ripe chilis. The ones on the right are hot, the ones on the left are O Sweet Jesus What Have I Put In My Mouth???

So I’m’onna make Tabasco sauce. Well, fake Tabasco sauce. The proper McIlhenny stuff means putting the peppers in a barrel, covering them with salt and fermenting them for up to three years.

Pff! Screw that!

There are a ton of recipes for a homemade simulacrum on the Web, and I have massaged them together into this:

1 pound peppers, 2 cups white vinegar, 2 teaspoons coarse sea salt

1. Don Hazmat suit
2. Roughly chop the ingredients together
3. Bring to a boil, then simmer for five minutes
4. Cool and puree
5. Store in the ‘fridge for two weeks to ‘ripen’
6. Strain through a strainer and put into jars

There’s no reason you need to know this, of course. I’m just posting it so I remember what I need to do.

That’s right. I’m using you guys as a recipe holder.


Comment from Janna
Time: October 24, 2012, 10:54 pm

2. a. Do not, under ANY circumstances, rub your eyes!!!

Comment from Christopher Taylor
Time: October 24, 2012, 11:10 pm

Or your naughty bits

Comment from Redd
Time: October 24, 2012, 11:15 pm

I always pictured you as a Nigellissima!

Comment from Scubafreak
Time: October 24, 2012, 11:21 pm

You should roast a batch before making your sauce. Really ups the flavor..

Comment from Pupster
Time: October 24, 2012, 11:39 pm

My arms are getting tired.

Comment from Deborah
Time: October 24, 2012, 11:39 pm

Darn black and white images. Can’t tell what color the chilies be …

Comment from Can’t hark my cry
Time: October 24, 2012, 11:52 pm

Proud and honored to serve, ma’am!

Hope it turns out well!

Comment from Laughing Buddha
Time: October 25, 2012, 12:49 am

@Christopher – you know from experience? Cuz I do…that’s brutal stuff.

Comment from Can’t hark my cry
Time: October 25, 2012, 1:01 am

Laughing Buddha–I think anyone who issues either of those warnings knows from experience. Noone takes it seriously until they actually violate the rule. Who would believe your entire universe could shrink down into a 1″ square patch of tissue screaming agony into the void?

And I’m pretty much assuming Stoaty is also experienced–why else the Hazmat suit?

Comment from Mike James
Time: October 25, 2012, 1:16 am

Proper utensils are important. Be sure to remember tongs, stainless steel vessels, cyclone fencing, barbed wire around the top, armed guards, biohazard signs, environmental waivers, maps of prevailing winds, evacuation plans, cover stories in case of accidental release, etc.

Comment from EZnSF
Time: October 25, 2012, 1:21 am

I grew one, just one, chili plant in my window this summer. 4 pints of pickled pepperoncini this week! Next year, Tabasco!

Comment from Steve Skubinna
Time: October 25, 2012, 1:57 am

Speaking of not rubbing your eye, be very careful when boiling the mixture. You really, really don’t want to catch a faceful of the steam.

Comment from Feynmangroupie
Time: October 25, 2012, 4:53 am

You forgot about covering the workspace in plastic, a la Dexter.

Comment from GenghisJohn
Time: October 25, 2012, 10:57 am

One of the peppers I planted this year was allegedly a sweet red bell pepper hybrid. When it started producing peppers I was presented with these odd looking red peppers that looked like a fat red Jalapeno. I took a few into the house and washed them off and took a bite. As it turns out some miscreant teens at my local garden store had switched the labels and I had just chomped down on a Bhut Jolokia or “Ghost Chili”. Not a fun experience, going in OR out.
Good Luck with your sauce.

Comment from Some Vegetable
Time: October 25, 2012, 2:44 pm

I’m with Scubafreak on roasting a batch. Originally a Pennsylvania boy, I ‘ ve had to gradually grow into loving peppers as the years pass here in the Southwest.

Now I wait every year for Hatch chilie season and try to roast and then freeze enough to last till the next season. I also love the fire-roasted salsa’s.

I’ve never tried making my own tabassco sauce, but I’e enough experience to say your should take all the warnings above seriously. Gloves are your friends as are -if not goggles, at least glasses. In Central America we enountered peppers hot enough to blister your skin when you sliced them.

God alone knows what an English badger might accomplish by giving hot peppers his best effort in a greenhouse.

Comment from Bob Mulroy
Time: October 25, 2012, 3:43 pm

No reason you can’t start like McIlhenny’s. Chop and crush them together with 5% iodide-free salt by weight. Let the natural microorganisms on them ferment them for a month or so.

Comment from Oldcat
Time: October 25, 2012, 5:12 pm

When I was a teen working in a Mexican restaraunt I was carrying a huge sheet tray of salsa pots and slipped on the floor and went down. The hot sauce (which isn’t too hot) got all over my face and nearly into the eyes. It scalded the skin on my face where it hit like a sunburn around the eyelids and forehead, though.

Comment from surly
Time: October 25, 2012, 6:56 pm

Anyone else tried the allergy spray with capsaicin? IT BURNS US!

Comment from Sigivald
Time: October 25, 2012, 8:25 pm

Bleh, vinegar.

Waste of good capsaicin, ruining it with acetic acid…

Comment from David Gillies
Time: October 25, 2012, 8:54 pm

I have a box of disposable nitrile gloves for handling chilis. They’re about $5 for a box of 25 pairs. Saved my mucous membranes on many an occasion. Plus you can stick them on your head and pretend you’re a chicken.

I cooked up some dried chipotles in a pan with some safflower oil and a candy thermometer a while back to make chili oil. Yum. Get it up to 100°C for ten minutes and it will kill any lurking bugs, including botulinum, without burning the peppers.

Comment from RealMc
Time: October 25, 2012, 10:00 pm

hmmmm……more pepper sauce….instead of Dick mayhap?

A small jar would be worth its weight in here in the new world……

just sayin’ not like I ever pick a winner for the dead pool anyway….<>

Comment from Pupster
Time: October 25, 2012, 10:15 pm


Comment from thefritz
Time: October 25, 2012, 10:24 pm

oooo! I like the idea of homemade stoaty hot sauce in lieu of dick…and since I am a two time winner…….

Comment from Bob Mulroy
Time: October 25, 2012, 10:51 pm

…and let’s not have a repeat of the elderberry cordial thingy.

Comment from Scubafreak
Time: October 25, 2012, 11:06 pm

LOL.. Obama told Leno that he’s dumb at math. You should do a pic of Count Barakula being driven back by Van Ryan wielding a PI symbol…. 😉

Comment from Deborah
Time: October 26, 2012, 12:38 am

Duh. I missed the word red. I have got to stop reading without my glasses.

Comment from Oh Hell
Time: October 26, 2012, 2:24 am

I strung a ristra of little chilies together once and licked the thread to re-thread the needle. Won’t do that again….

Comment from mostly cajun
Time: October 26, 2012, 2:18 pm

You make it waaay too complicated. Us Cajuns been taking care of this task easily for generations:


And it’s not that red, foppish stuff…


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