NOSH: Abyssal Vodka Hot Sauce
You know, it’s starting to get cooler in the south. My peppers were having a hard time fruiting this summer because it was too damn hot, so I’ve been getting a slew of peppers these last few weeks.
Alas, the pep’ plants are starting to slow down.
And in all honesty, I was in a bit of a limbo; the plants were producing, but the yields were so erratic, I couldn’t go to market with them. Yet by the time I looked at how many peppers I amassed, I knew something had to be done before they went bad.
I mean look at them.
And those are just the spicy ones! I grew some of the dark purple, almost-black bells too, along with some bangle babies.
So I had all these pepp’s and not a clue to do. Then I got to thinkin’ about some things, and I realized the answer was crystal.
I’m finna make some hot sauce.
But just like everything I do, it needs to be as dark as a cosmic void in the bowels of space.
And so, I bestow upon you the results of my labours:
Abyssal Vodka Chili Hot Sauce
That’s right, it is as black as they come and I am damn stoked at the outcome. Of course, this was just me winging it for the most part, but I’ll walk you through it all, and let you in on some of my darker culinary secrets too.
So let’s get started. If you don’t have peppers poppin’ out of your backyard, not an issue. You can get some hot peppers of your choosing, along with some bell peppers from your local market or grocer. Just, you know, gauge your heat levels accordingly; for every 1 lb. of small hot peppers you get, grab yourself roughly 3-4 medium bell peppers.
Here’s a minimal list of everything you’ll need:
Alright. Turn your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
Grab some pans suitable for the oven and throw your peppers in them. Spacing them out will achieve a more even roast.
You might need more than one pan. I just grabbed my trusty cast-iron clad pals, and even they weren’t enough; I still needed to grab another baking sheet.
Next, prep your garlic by either cutting off the top of the bulb (if your garlic is small-medium sized) or smash the outer casing of the garlic to get the papery skin off larger cloves.
Grab some aluminum foil and stick your garlic in there. Drizzle a little EVOO and wrap them up so they’re snug like bugs.
After that, throw everything into the oven. Just get it all in there.
The garlic and your smaller peppers should stay in there for roughly 20 minutes. The garlic will look golden and a wee bit translucent, and the skin on the peppers will be soft and delicate.
Of course, if you want a bit more char, you can leave them in longer.
The bigger bell peppers will have to stay in for another 15 minutes or so after you take out your smaller items. Be sure to turn them periodically so that they roast evenly.
Oh and…if you’re really in a rush and you have a gas stove, you can definitely roast your bell peppers quickly by keeping them directly on the flame. Just, you know, watch them.
When your peppers are roasted, remove them from the oven and let them cool for just a moment.
Afterward, you’ll be taking to the tedious task of de-stemming your peppers. You can use a knife, but if they’re roasted proper, they’ll rip off nice ‘n’ easy.
And yes. I might have over roasted a few of the dears. If you do the same, it isn’t the end of the world! Unless you leave them in the oven to the point they resemble charcoal briskets, the end product will still be pretty damn good.
So anyway, here’s the part where you grab your food processor, blender, or other evisceration devices you have on hand. The weapon of choice this time around: my trusty Magic Bullet.
Load up your mixer with sweet and spicy peppers with a ratio of about two to three handfuls of spicy peppers to a bell pepper and a half (2-3 spicy – to – 1 1/2 sweet).
Once the peppers are in the mixer, add your vinegar, sherry, brown sugar and a bit of sea salt.
Pulse that a couple of times, and you should get something of a paste. Don’t worry if the seeds are present, they’ll break down after getting shredded apart sooner than later.
Now, I think usually water is added to hot sauces to get it closer to a liquid consistency.
But I rarely, if ever use water when cooking. Too bland, lacks flavour.
Instead, I let my good ol’ friend come out to play:
Ah yes. A staple in my liquor cabinet, I try to keep a few bottles tucked away for every occasion. If your local liquor shop doesn’t immediately have it, you can request it (if the shop owner is nice.) Alternatively, if you can get it shipped to you, that’s even better. I paid $20 bucks a bottle, so be sure to pay in that ballpark range for your spirit.
Go ahead and pour your vodka into your pepper mixture, taking care to get the consistency you want for your hot sauce. (If you want it thicker, easy on the booze. Thinner? Drown both you and your sauce.)
If you think this alone was going to get your sauce black, you are mistaken. There is a secret ingredient in void cooking you need know about. I will bestow knowledge onto you:
Activated charcoal is used in everything from toothpaste to cold-pressed veggie drinks to mud masks–you name it. If it’s black like the sole of a shoe, edible, and natural, chances are this stuff right here has something to do with it. Grab some from Amazon or your local gourmet / health food shop, because this is another pantry staple you need to have.
Just be wary with activated charcoal. Even though it’s used for detoxing, too much of a good thing can lead to problems later — like you being stuck in the bathroom for a hot minute.
Measure out your charcoal and blend it into your mix. At the end of your blending, grab a spoon and do a quick taste test. If it’s too hot, add a little bit more sugar. If it’s missing bite, add a little more salt. If it isn’t hot enough, you might need a bit more heat, and more peppers may be in order.
Remember, I was winging this…so by proxy, you kind of are too.
When the spice is right, go ahead and grab your containers to package your wonderful sauce. I went ahead and got these cute jars so I could gift a few of these and see how others like it.
Carefully pour your sauce into their new vessels.
Ugh, what the hell. I was using a funnel, ffs.
Ahem. Carefully package your hot sauce like so (or similarly):
And you’re done! I’m not sure how long it will keep, but I will say that you should refrigerate it immediately and use it when the occasion calls for heat!
…Which’ll be probably soon, because soup and sauce season is around the corner, if not already here.
And they say darkness begets cold. Ha!
Fire in the hole!
- 1 - 1 1/2 lbs of hot peppers (I had a mix of Black Hungarians and Buena Mulatas.)
- 3-4 bell peppers (Midnight Bell and Mini Bell Bangles were in my arsenal.)
- 2 bulbs of regular-sized garlic or 2-3 cloves of elephant garlic
- 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
- 6 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 3 tablespoons sherry
- 9 tablespoons dark brown sugar
- ~1 bottle Blavod Vodka
- 1 1/2 tablespoons activated charcoal powder
- sea salt
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Place peppers on a lined baking sheet or in cast iron pans. Spread out evenly.
- Prepare garlic by cutting of the top of bulb. Wrap garlic in aluminum foil and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.
- Place everything in the oven for 20 minutes. Bigger bell peppers will require an additional 10-15 minutes, depending on your oven. Turn periodically to roast thoroughly.
- After peppers are roasted, de-stem peppers and set aside.
- Place a mix of sweet and hot peppers with a 1 : 2-3 ratio into your food processor, blender, or similar device.
- Add vinegar, sherry, brown sugar, and a bit of sea salt.
- Pulse the mixture a couple of times until you get a paste.
- Pour vodka into the blend, and mix until you get the desired thickness and consistency.
- Add roughly 1 tbsp of activated charcoal to the mix.
- Season with salt, spice, and/or sugar re-actively.
- Package your hot sauce in bottles, mason jars or another storage vessel.