Hot sauce is a very important part of our cultural landscape. I mean, what other condiment — besides maybe ketchup – can you add to almost anything? But before your shake that bottle one more time over your burger, soup, or eggs, let's take a second to consider how it's made. While you might think it's as easy as mashing up some peppers and vinegar and throwing it into a jar, it's actually a lot more sophisticated process.
A video created by Business Insider was recently posted on Twitter and it's getting a lot of attention. Why? Because as much as we all love hot sauce, a lot of us have literally never thought about how it gets made. And the process is a lot fancier than you may expect. In the video Business Insider shows the entire process of making Tabasco sauce, following the seeds for the Tabasco pepper (a pepper originating in Mexico and Central America) as they go into the ground, to when Tabasco's iconic green cap is placed at the top of their unique little bottle.
For each deliciously spicy bottle made by the Tabasco sauce company, created and owned by the Louisiana-based McIlhenney family since 1868, the entire production process takes a little over five years, which makes the hot sauce's production akin to what some might deem the most precious of foods: wine and aged cheese.
First, they start with properly ripened Tabasco peppers that farmers compare to a special red stick called a "Baton Rouge." Only after the peppers reach that specific redness can they be picked.
Afterwards, these peppers are crushed with salt to create something called a pepper mash. It's there they age the mixture for no less than three years. (Is your mouth watering? Mine is watering.) Once aged, they're combined with their final ingredient, vinegar, and it's mixed for a period of months. After all that, you've got Tabasco sauce.
All this watching Tabasco sauce being made has given me a big hankering for something fried and Southern, so if you'll excuse me, I have some shopping to do.