RECIPE FOR HUSK HOT SAUCE
Reprinted with permission from Heritage by Sean Brock.
I’m addicted to hot sauce. I usually have a bottle in my bag or in my truck, ready to go at a moment’s notice. You never know when some pork rinds are going to need a little kick! When I was in culinary school, I collected hot sauces, often holding late-night tastings that usually ended in both pain and laughter.
My dear friend Linton Hopkins shared this recipe with me many years ago. I haven’t changed the technique at all, and we make several batches a year. You can make this hot sauce with any spicy pepper you can get your hands on or even a mix of peppers, but it’s important to find a chili with a nice flavor and a good level of heat. Try letting the hot sauce age as long as you can: we recently aged some in an old Pappy Van Winkle bourbon barrel for two years!
Hot sauce is fun to make, and it can also be a great homemade gift. You could even be official about it: but some mini hot sauce bottle to store it in and make some personalized labels. Most important, give your hot sauce a cool name and dare your friends to taste it.
Serves : 3 pints
5 pounds Charleston Hots or cayenne peppers
5 tablespoons kosher salt, plus more for final seasoning
1 gallon of white vinegar
Remove the peppers’ stems and discard. Roughly chop the peppers. Put them in a large container and toss them with the 5 tablespoons salt.
Working in batches, transfer the peppers to a food processor and pulse about 10 minutes, until the peppers have the texture of pesto. Divide the resulting “mash” between two clean 2-gallon canning jars. Make a cap by placing a coffee filter over the top of each jar and securing it with the ring from the jar’s lid (do not use the lids).
Put the mash in a cool area, with a maximum temperature of 80°F, and allow to ferment for 2 months.
After 2 months, remove the protective caps. There should be a beautiful red pepper mash underneath. Divide the vinegar between the two jars, carefully pouring it over the mash. Place fresh coffee filters over the tops, secure
them with the rings, and return the hot sauce to the same cool spot for another 2 months.
Working in batches, transfer the mixture to a blender and blend on high until smooth, about 7 minutes. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve (discard the solids) and season the hot sauce with salt.
Ladle the hot sauce into three clean pint canning jars, cover, and refrigerate. Tightly covered, the sauces will keep in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.