Learn how to make hot sauce on your pellet grill including many different variations such as jalapeno, habanero, chipotle, and even the terrifying ghost pepper!
Forget ketchup, forget barbecue sauce, if you really want to take your cooking up a notch, hot sauce will be your go to condiment. Versatile and easy to incorporate into almost any recipe (including dessert) a little bit of the right sauce can go a long way. It may be easy to go out to the store and buy a bottle, but homemade hot sauce on a pellet grill will incorporate those authentic smoky flavors missing from any mass-produced version. Plus, it’s more fun to experiment and build your own recipe. Who knows? You may even want to start your own hot sauce business!
Whereas in ketchup, the base ingredient is the tomato, in hot sauce, it of course is the chili pepper. Picking the right pepper will determine just how hot your hot sauce will be, whether you want mild and savory or scorching hot.
There are many different types of hot sauces from all over the world. To get you started, we’re going to teach how to make sauces that pair well with barbecue: Louisiana and Southwest.
When you ask for hot sauce at any restaurant, the waitress will most likely bring back a Louisiana style sauce. The sauce is made with either fresh or fermented peppers that are mashed with salt and vinegar.
The Hatch region of New Mexico is famous all over the world for the peppers that are grown there. As a result, many sauce makers in the Southwestern United States have invented their own style that uses fresh or dried peppers from this region mixed with several different ingredients. However, very little if any vinegar is used to make the sauce.
Different sauces use different ingredients, but these are the most common variations you will find:
Choosing the right chili pepper comes down to the flavor and level of heat you want your hot sauce. The fact of the matter is that there is a seemingly endless list of chili peppers to choose from. Some peppers are sweet, some are savory, and all have varying degrees of heat. Here is a list of common chili peppers and their flavor and heat profiles. For heat, we are using the standard Scoville Heat Unit (SHU) Scale which was developed as a way of determining and displaying to the consumer how hot or spicy a pepper is.
The Jalapeno Pepper is the most well-known chili pepper. It is likely responsible for most everyone’s introduction into the world of spicy foods. At a SHU of 10,000 it’s easy to see why. Jalapenos are hot enough to awaken the palette without being overwhelming. This is why you’ll see them on everything from nachos to Chinese food. Jalapenos are a great base for a mild to medium hot sauce.
Serrano peppers are an excellent choice for hot sauce due to their flavor and heat. Measuring anywhere between 10,000 to 23,000 Scoville Heat Units (SHU), a Serrano pepper is slightly spicier than a Jalapeno, which measures about 10,000 SHUs. They are similar in flavor to Jalapenos as well, tasting fresh and meaty. Serranos are great for smoking and roasting on the grill as well as a nice medium flavored hot sauce.
Did you know that a Chipotle Pepper is just a smoked and dried red Jalapeno? Nonetheless, we think it deserves its own section, because Chipotle Peppers not only lose some heat through this process (measuring about 5,000 to 8,000 SHU) the flavor profile changes as well. Chipotle Peppers exude smoky and earthy flavors. This creates a robust, savory sauce with mild heat. Chipotle Pepper Hot Sauce can be used as a cooking ingredient for a sauce in addition to a tabletop seasoning.
Originating from South America, the Habanero Pepper may look small and friendly, but don’t let its bright colors fool you. This family of hot peppers packs quite a spicy punch weighing in at around 300,000 SHU. For perspective, that is 30 times hotter than a Jalapeno Pepper. When it comes to flavor, the color does not deceive. Expect a fruity flavor with hints of citrus. If you plan on cooking with Habaneros, be careful. The oil that makes a hot pepper hot, can stick to and burn your skin. So, it is best to wear gloves while handling them.
Last on our list (but certainly not least when it comes to heat) is the Ghost Pepper. The Ghost Pepper measures a whopping 1,000,000 SHUs making it one of the hottest chili peppers in the world. The hottest, btw, is the dreaded Carolina Reaper which measures 2,500,000 SHUs!
The intense heat of the Ghost Pepper all but wipes out any flavor it may carry. When one consumes a ghost pepper, there is a slight delay. But once the heat kicks in, your mouth will burn intensely, your eyes will water, and your body will sweat. By then, any flavor the pepper may have will be a distant memory as your taste buds try to recover from the assault you just exposed them to.
And be sure to handle these peppers with the same care for any other super spicy peppers. Use gloves to avoid exposing the intensely hot oils to your skin. Also, be sure to not consume large quantities as that could seriously put your health at risk.
If you dare, Ghost Peppers can be smoked and roasted on the grill and then made into an extremely intense sauce. Remember! Very little goes a long way and handle the sauce with caution!
These two basic recipes can be altered with your preferred ingredients to make a sauce that is truly your own. After trying these out, go forth and experiment!
After all, the world is your oyster....errr pepper!
The wonderful thing about Louisiana Style Hot Sauce is its simplicity. There are three basic ingredients and that’s it: chili peppers, vinegar, and salt. This recipe mixes it up a little bit by smoking the peppers on the pellet grill before processing them into the sauce. Follow along and enjoy!
Servings: 4 to 5 cups
While this recipe incorporates more ingredients than the Louisiana version, the basic procedures are still the same. This sauce extremely versatile and is great for nachos, tacos, burgers, steaks, omelets, you name it!
Servings: 3 cups
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