Contrary to popular belief, the hot sauce Tabasco is not from the state Tabasco in Mexico. For over 150 years, the world’s favourite hot sauce has been made in the state of Louisiana in the United States.
In fact, it’s only ever been made there, and the McIlhenny family is definitely not planning on changing their location, ways or recipe. Every single CEO has been a descendant from the original producer and all the peppers are still picked by hand.
So, how does one farm manage to supply the entire world with their famous hot sauce?
From all the pepper plants, only the top 1% is chosen to be grown elsewhere so that they can keep up with the demand. Once the peppers are grown to its full size, they are sent to certain countries in both South America and Africa. There some spices are added, and the mixture is made into a paste and sent back to the Tabasco farm in the US where a sauce is mixed.
And that’s when time stands still, literally. Well, not all of time since it’s only three years, but it’s a long time for over 55,000 barrels of hot sauce to age in a warehouse. Each barrel makes approximately 10,000 bottles of our favourite hot sauce.
Then the paste is added to vinegar and mixed consistently for 14 to 28 days before it’s strained, and just before it’s bottled, a sample is sent to a tester. That’s right, there’s a person out there who tests Tabasco sauce for a living – and he gets paid for it.
In peak time over the festive season, the factory runs for five days per week, 24 hours per day. That’s what it takes to keep up with the demand.
Watch the Eater video below and enjoy the making of the world’s favourite hot sauce, Tabasco.
Image credit: The Bakersfield Californian