Hot sauce is made from the hottest peppers. This hot sauce is the perfect blend of sweet, tangy, smoky, and spicy!
There are always those few crops that end up being real champs in the garden and put more food on the table than you know what to do with. In Central Oregon, it was the squash plant. Once we realized we could encourage pollination by hand, we had Zucchinis and Crooknecks coming our of our ears, and only the inevitable late season frost put an end to the bounty. Grilled squash, stuffed squash, fried squash, squash omelets, please take some squash home!
In Georgia, we have found a few winners too. Salad greens thrive in the long spring season, and last years cucumbers didn’t do too badly either, but the biggest winner of all has got to be the not so humble pepper plant. When the season really gets underway in later summer and fall we’ve got more jalapenos and banana peppers than we know what to do with. We’ve got bags of frozen jalapenos from our first-year garden still taking up space the freezer!
In our never-ending quest to find new ways to preserve and eat this spicy bounty, we made plans to perfect our own hot sauce recipe. This is a perfect way to use them up! I use minced jalapenos sparingly in my recipes, but I can’t ever get enough hot sauce. It’s the perfect breakfast condiment, gives barbecue pizzazz, and is the taco’s best friend.
This last fall we were pretty busy planning our upcoming move back to Oregon and hadn’t paid much attention to the garden. When we started breaking down the watering system, and electric fence and preparing them for the move, we noticed that there was yet another flush of peppers turning red on the bush. In fact, they had been hanging out so long without our noticing that most of the crop was a beautiful deep red. There was only one thing to do. Make hot sauce and then make tacos!
We filled a 3-quart mixing bowl full of red jalapenos, a few green ones, and some rosy looking banana peppers too. We even found a few baby bell peppers hiding out and threw them in for good measure. We roasted all of them over a charcoal grill along with a large onion. After everything had a nice char on it we put it all back in a mixing bowl along with about a half cup of apple cider vinegar, a dash of lime juice, a couple of tablespoons of honey, salt, and a little cumin. We literally used up the last of the vinegar, honey, and cumin in the cupboard so it’s a good thing we didn’t need anymore!
We ended up with enough sauce to fill two pints, mason jars. I took half of it and worked it through a metal strainer to make a nice smooth sauce. We left the seeds in the other half which by the way, didn’t seem to add much extra heat.
The flavor was amazing! The naturally sweet flavor of the ripened, red peppers mixed perfectly with the smoke from the grill. One thing I don’t like is a hot sauce that tastes more like straight vinegar than peppers. This sauce was well balanced. And the heat was right up there with any of the contenders bragging in the store isles about atomic bombs and slapping your mamma.
It dressed our tacos up beautifully, and it has graced just about everything we could think to put it on since. One of my favorite uses was basting it directly on grilled chicken wings. I have been trying to make the perfect, “burn your face off” hot wings for several years now, and I think this hot sauce recipe may make the best hot wing sauce I’ve tried yet. If you make this sauce, and you should, you’ve got to give the hot wings a try too.
I hope peppers grow as well in our new location in Oregon because I can’t wait to make this sauce again!
1/2cupapple cider vinegar start with 1/4 cup increase to taste
1. Grill the peppers and onion over a charcoal grill until a nice char forms. 2. Add everything to a bowl, or blender and begin pureeing. 3. Add the apple cider vinegar and lime as you blend but don’t add it all at once so you can regulate how wet the sauce gets. 4. Add a tablespoon of cumin and a pinch of salt to taste. 5. Taste the sauce and cut it with honey in order to find that perfect balance of sweet, tangy, smoky, and spicy. 6. If desired, strain the sauce through a metal strainer for a smoother texture. 7. The flavors get better as the sauce ages in the fridge. 8. Enjoy!