I’m lucky to have a friend in town who grows his own variety of the Trinidad 7 pot (or pod) pepper called “Brain Strain”. One of the hottest chilies in the world. No joke here, it will light you up. It rates up in the 1.2+ million Scoville range (jalapeno are in the 5000 range). It’s also very tasty with a tropical fruit flavor so it lends well to hot sauce. My friend developed this variety and grows a backyard full of them and to my benefit had a bunch of them to get rid of at the end of the season. When I showed up at home there was a large brown paper grocery bag filled to the top with this fiery little red, yellow and orange pods. After sampling one, spitting fire, crying, begging for mercy, hallucinating and then slightly recovering, it was time to make hot sauce.
I’m not a hunter but I appreciate the people I know who are, especially when they give me some of the spoils of their conquests. This week I was given 3 lbs of ground venison from a hunt the weekend before and knew immediately this was going to become chili. This weekend has been cold, wet and all around nasty and it was perfect for this Spicy Venison Chili recipe.
What to do with left over pepper pulp when making hot sauce? Dry it and use as chile flakes.
So you made some fermented hot sauce and don’t want to throw away all that wonderful pepper pulp? Turn that pulp into funky chile flakes. The fermented flakes add a level of flavor you don’t get with typical store-bought dried flakes. Plus you’re not wasting anything. This will work with regular pepper pulp too.
- heat oven to lowest setting, 150° f is what I used.
- spread the pepper pulp on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper
- cook at low temp slowly for 1-2 hours or until fully dried, breaking pulp apart every 30 mins
- store in airtight container
After 40 days in the fermenting vessels, the taste of the two hot sauces were getting to where I expected them. A little funky, slightly sour and with a lot of depth and heat. Using airlocks on the mason jars kept the environment anaerobic (enough I guess) so that I never had any issues with mold forming on the surface of the mash. The resulting sauces are a great mixture of heat and flavor.
Fermented Hot Sauce phase 1
At one point in my life I was a prodigious consumer of hot sauces. In fact my Beer Fridge at one point shared a lot of space with hot sauces made from various exotic and not so exotic peppers from different hot saucy locales with snarky labels galore. This collecting and consuming habit of mine was compounded by the fact my wife is not a big fan of food heat so it was all up to me to finish them off. Over the last few years my consumption of hot sauce has reduced significantly due in part to my ADHD having me jump to other obsessions and in part to what I’m guessing is a refinement in my palate (or something). I still love hot sauce but I just don’t tend to reach for it nearly as much as I used to. Recently I’ve been somewhat fascinated with fermented food and when reading on a few websites devoted to the art of fermentation I came across a number of hot sauce recipes. Well hot damn. This is a two-part post as this is just the beginning part of the process and because I’ve never done this before so I’m documenting it as I go. I grabbed what fresh ripe chiles I could find. Fresnos are not the most flavorful chiles raw but my hope is they’ll improve in flavor over the month or so of fermentation. Habaneros have a better flavor and a higher heat level and make a fantastic hot sauce.