If you’re into hot sauce, you’ll enjoy discovering ten untold truths of Tabasco. This hot sauce brand is made from Tabasco peppers, as well as a couple of other savory ingredients. The company’s collection of hot sauces are made by the McIllhenny Company. This company’s factory is located in Louisiana, on scenic Avery Island. In the old days, the hot sauce was packaged with the same diamond-shaped logo that is found on bottles of Tabasco hot sauce today. One fun fact is that the hot sauce used to be sold in secondhand cologne bottles. They were accessed from a glass supplier in New Orleans. The company’s founder, Edmund McIllhenny, passed away in 1890 and his son, John Avery, took over the company and expanded it. He left a few years later, to join The 1st US Volunteer Cavalry Regiment, which was known as the Rough Riders. It was Teddy Roosevelt’s regiment. John Avery was replaced by his brother, Edward Avery, who modernized the company and continued to expand it. Today, Tabasco is the world’s premier hot sauce brand. It’s a brand with USA roots and so much authenticity. Now, let’s uncover more spicy Tabasco secrets…
10. The Company Was Formed in 1868
Products from Tabasco have been produced since the company launched in 1868. Headquarters are still in the same Avery Island location. This Louisiana company is best-known for its Original Red Pepper Sauce. This famous hot sauce company is owned and operated by the McIllhenny family. The recipe for the original hot sauce gets passed down through the generations. After the American Civil War, it was time for Reconstruction in the South. During this period, food tended to be bland and there weren’t a host of food options available. People ate what they could get their hands on. With a mind to spicing up the local cuisine, the company’s founder, Edmund McIllheny, created a red pepper sauce recipe that would add excitement and taste to even the blandest food.
Edmund loved to garden and he loved to eat. When he was gifted with Capsicum frutescens pepper seeds, which came from Central America or Mexico, he planted them in Louisiana, on the island, and then nurtured them with care. He loved the spicy taste of the peppers. As time passed, workers at his pepper farm started using small red sticks, called “batons rouge”, to assess the ripeness of the crop. These little red sticks are still utilized today.
9. The Sauce Contains Vinegar, Salt and Tabasco Peppers
The original red pepper sauce has just a trio of ingredients, which are salt, vinegar and red Tabasco peppers. The premium quality of the peppers, as well as the ideal blend of ingredient quantities, is the reason why this red pepper sauce has become legendary and beloved. The peppers are aged to perfection before being used to make this spicy and addictive condiment. When it comes to quality, the team at Tabasco don’t cut corners. Over the years, they’ve added a variety of new products to their lineup, but the original red pepper sauce is still available. It’s a perennial favorite.
If you want to experiment, take a break from the original sauce and try one of the other sauces, such as Green Jalapeno Sauce, which is perfect for Mexican recipes and dips. Another option is Chipotle Pepper Sauce, which is renowned for its smoky taste – it’s an ideal choice for barbecues. Other choices to enjoy include Buffalo Style Hot Sauce, which is perfect for sandwiches or wings, and Habanero Pepper Sauce, which is the hottest, spiciest option in the Tabasco collection. The Habanero sauce is a Jamaica-type hot sauce with fruity elements. If you’re into Garlic, go for the Garlic Pepper Sauce, which is made from a trio of peppers and premium garlic. If you love complex flavor profiles, opt for the Sweet & Spicy Sauce, which offers perfect balance. This sauce is designed for dipping. The last choice is Sriracha Sauce, which offers decadent garlic flavor, along with zero preservatives. As you can see, this brand has you covered. There is a pepper sauce for everyone.
8. Some Chilis Are Grown in Louisiana
There’s a chili pepper field right in Avery Island, which is owned by the Tabasco company. Some of the company’s Tabasco peppers are grown onsite, while others come from other places. Demand for Tabasco products is high, so the company needs to source out red peppers from an array of global locations. That being said, there’s always the chance that the Tabasco peppers in your latest bottle of Tabasco hot sauce come straight from the American South. The company has grown exponentially over the years. Today, it employs two hundred people, based on figures from 2014. It’s current CEO is Anthony Avery Simmons.
During the Sixties, the need for more peppers than the Avery Island fields could produce led to an operational change at Tabasco. The company couldn’t meet demand by growing the peppers only on Avery Island, which measures about three miles across. So, company execs decided to ship the pepper seeds to Latin America. These days, the Tabasco company owns farms in Latin America. Naturally, the company continues to grow peppers on Avery Island. Some of them are utilized for research and development purposes. The company once tried to add more automation to the pepper picking method, to speed up the pace of harvesting, but no machine could assess the ideal shade of red for ripe peppers. This is why these delicious and spicy peppers are still picked by hand. Workers utilize little red sticks to match the peppers to the ideal color.
7. They Keep The Chili Seeds in a Bank Vault
Genuine Tabasco pepper seeds are precious, and this is why the powers-that-be at the Tabasco company keep their red pepper seeds locked up in a bank vault. The team at McIlhenny Co. are serious about protecting their seeds from natural disasters. After Hurricane Katrina, the company takes no chances when it comes to keeping its supply of these seeds safe and sound. Every year, the company harvests the most impressive plants, dries their seeds and uses them as the foundation for the following year’s crop. After the seeds are dried, they are divided. Half of them go to one location for secure storage. The others go to a vault. We don’t know where the vault it. We’re not supposed to know. It is top secret information. Most people don’t realize that these seeds are so important. They are the backbone of a very successful hot sauce company with a rich heritage. Without these seeds, the hot sauce produced by McIlhenny Co. might not taste the way that it should, and everyone knows how genuine Original Red Pepper Sauce from Tabasco is supposed to taste.
6. It’s Produced By The McIlhenny Company of Avery Island, Louisiana
Tourists love visiting Avery Island and seeing the Tabasco team produce the pretty red bottles of hot sauce. This company has always been based in Avery Island, Louisiana. One fun fact about Avery Island is that it’s a “salt dome”. The Tabasco company uses salt from Avery Island in its hot sauces and this is yet another reason why Tabasco hot sauce is different from so many other pepper sauce brands. Avery Island is situated in the Iberia Parish of Louisiana. It’s within a few miles of Vermilion Bay, which leads into the Gulf of Mexico. The population of Avery Island is small. We’re talking 150 people. That’s the same number as the number of years that the company has been in business. In 2018, Tabasco hit the 150 year mark. That’s an important milestone for the company, and for Avery Island.
5. It’s a Great Add-on for Fried Chicken
Some foods pair so well with Tabasco sauce. One of them is fried chicken. If you want to add some spicy kick to your next batch of homemade, Southern-fried chicken, be sure to use a recipe that comes straight from Tabasco. Combine a teaspoon of salt, a quarter of a cup of original Tabasco sauce and three cups of buttermilk in a big bowl or large, resealable freezer bag. Mix up the ingredients and then add raw chicken. If you’re using a bowl, cover it. The next step is adding the bowl or bag to the fridge. Leave it to chill for at least six hours, and up to 24 hours.
When you’re ready to cook. mix two cups of regular flour, a teaspoon of garlic powder, half a teaspoon of onion powder and a quarter-teaspoon of black pepper to a dish with shallow dimensions. Then, dredge your poultry pieces in the combined ingredients. Let the chicken rest in the mixture for ten minutes. After this step, add a single inch of oil to a deep and big skillet. Put a deep-frying thermometer onto the skillet. Then, turn the skillet on. The heat level should be medium-high. Heat up the oil until it reaches three hundred and fifty degrees. Then, fry up the poultry, batch-style. Turn it once in a while as it’s frying. It should be golden brown. It should also be cooked right through. It usually takes ten minutes per side to get perfect results. After the chicken is fried, move it to a wire rack with a baking sheet underneath.
4. It’s Perfect For Fish, Too
Adding a single tablespoon of Tabasco sauce to your fave fish recipe will be such an easy way to boost spiciness. Tabasco is a convenient product. It can be used so many ways. Add it a marinade for fish, use it to make spicy salsa that tops a fish filet or simply sprinkle some of the hot sauce on top of baked fish. The only limitation is your own imagination. The official Tabasco website features tons of amazing fish recipes, as well as recipes in other categories.
Everyone has their own preference when it comes to a heat level for hot sauce. If you prefer milder taste, add half a teaspoon of hot sauce, instead of a whole teaspoon. If you love spicy food, go for a teaspoon or more. Usually, a teaspoon is the ideal amount for fish recipes. It adds plenty of kick without overpowering other ingredients. Experimenting with Tabasco sauce is fun and a lot of people don’t realize how well it pairs with seafood. Whipping up a classic gumbo, which contains seafood and meat, will be a great way to use Tabasco sauce. Gumbo is the type of traditional Louisiana recipe that honors the Tabasco brand’s Southern roots.
3. Other Chilis are Grown in Africa and Latin America
We already mentioned the fact that the company couldn’t grow enough peppers to meet demand in Avery Island, and then sent seeds to Latin America. However, we didn’t mention the fact that Tabasco peppers are also grown in other locations. One of them is Zimbabwe, Africa. The seeds for pepper plants always come from Avery Island, no matter where they are grown. Aside from Zimbabwe, you’ll find Tabasco chili pepper fields in Zambia, Peru, Honduras, Mexico, South Africa, Mozambique, Columbia, Guatemala and Ecuador.
None of these peppers are every harvested with machines. They’re always picked by hand, because the peppers need to be exactly right in terms of ripeness. Otherwise, the pepper sauces produced by Tabasco won’t taste as good as they might. Workers hand-pick the peppers, based on their color. They have to be the ideal shade of red. The traditional method used to pick peppers hasn’t changed much over the years. It’s an old-fashioned system that endures because it really works.
2. The Hottest Hot Sauce Causes Physical Reactions
The hottest hot sauce in the Tabasco lineup probably won’t cause a physical reaction, unless you really overdo it. Habanero Pepper Sauce is the spiciest sauce from McIlhenny Co., but it’s not the hottest hot sauce in the world. That being said, some people may definitely react to it. Some of us have higher hot sauce tolerances than others. To find out why hot sauce causes physical reactions, we headed for the Scientic American website.
Apparently, spicy foods stimulate skin receptors which typically are responsive to heat. The receptors function as pain fibers. These receptors are responsive to heat and cold extremes, as well as stimulation that’s mechanical, such as cutting and pinching. Chile peppers stimulate the pain fibers and trick the body’s central nervous system. Typical symptoms of hot sauce overload include flushing and sweating. Some people enjoy the stimulation that very hot hot sauce brings. They like to feel the burn. Others find it unpleasant. They are the types of people who buy mild salsa. If you prefer hotter food, you’re the type of customer that McIlhenny Co. wants. The company does attempt to cater to everyone, by offering hot sauces with different heat levels.
1. You Can Tour the Factory and Onsite Museum
Louisiana is a great place for a vacation. If you plan to be in the state, be sure to visit Avery Island and enjoy one of Lousiana’s premier tourist experiences. On Avery Island, you’ll be able to tour the Tabasco factory and its onsite museum. The Island is also home to an animal and bird refuge, which you may also visit. While touring the factory and wildlife preserve won’t be free, it will be very cheap. Seeing all of the Tabasco-related attractions on the island shouldn’t set you back more than twelve dollars and fifty cents. You may check out the factory for just five dollars and fifty cents. Of course, there’s other amazing stuff to do in Louisiana, after you sample hot sauce recipes at Tabasco and check out the factory, museum and country store merchandise. Visiting New Orleans will be a smart choice. You’ll love the city’s French Quarter, as well as its jazz, it’s gorgeous St. Louis Cathedral its fascinating National WWII Museum.
Now that you know so many untold truths about Tabasco, you may be tempted to plan a trip to Avery Island. The factory tour is popular because it’s fun. For spicy food fans, visiting this factory is like being a kid in a candy store. Tabasco continues to sell because people love it. They know that the quality is consistent. They know that it’s a fine product which is a part of Americana. Easy to use in recipes, and simple to sprinkle onto almost everything, it’s a condiment that is also low in calories. One hundred milligrams of Tabasco has just twelve calories.