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5 Things You Didn't Know About Tabasco Sauce

5 Things You Didn't Know About Tabasco Sauce


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Tabasco is one of the country’s most popular and renowned hot sauces, a perennial mate to pizza, burgers, soups, Mexican food, and just about every other food imaginable. But even if you always keep a mini-bottle in your purse, we bet that there are some things you didn’t know about this old standby.

1. The Salt Is the Secret
When Edmund McIlhenny and his wife Mary Eliza first settled Avery Island, Louisiana, in 1859, he realized that the foundation of basically the entire island was salt. During the Civil War salt was in seriously short supply, so he made a mint harvesting it and selling it to the Confederates. His entire operation was ransacked by the Union army, but when McIlhenny inspected his land after the war was over, he noticed something growing from the ground: a tabasco pepper. All the salt used in Tabasco is still sourced from the Avery Island salt mine, one of the country’s largest.

2. McIlhenny’s Son Left the Company for a Historic Cause
Edmund McIlhenny willed the company to his son John upon his death in 1890, and over the next nine years John expanded and modernized the business. He left the company to his brother Edward in 1899, however, when he decided to run off and join Teddy Roosevelt’s Rough Riders. The company is still family-owned to this day.

3. The Peppers Grown on Avery Island Aren’t Made Into Sauce Anymore
For years, all the peppers needed to produce the sauce were grown on Avery Island, but there’s no way that supply can keep up with production today. Today the peppers that grow on Avery Island are used almost exclusively to provide seeds to the company’s many growing operations around the world, while a small portion of those peppers are used to make Tabasco Family Reserve Pepper Sauce.

4. It’s Aged in Barrels Formerly Used by Whiskey Distilleries
All peppers are hand-picked to ensure ripeness, then they’re mashed, mixed with salt, and aged for up to three years in recycled oak barrels that were previously used to produce whiskey, including Jack Daniels. Before use, the barrel is “de-charred” and cleaned to remove any residual whiskey.

5. It was Hit Hard by Hurricane Rita
When Hurricane Rita tore through the area in 2005, Avery Island was hit hard. As a result, the owners built a 17 foot high levee around part of the factory and installed backup generators.


I Ate Raw Scorpion Pepper and Helped Make Tabasco&rsquos New Hottest-Ever Sauce

Spoiler: eating raw scorpion peppers is not for the faint of heart.

I slide down my mask&mdashthe one I&rsquove been wearing to keep the cough-inducing vapor of aerosolized capsaicin out of my lungs&mdashand examine the gleaming-red bits of scorpion pepper &ldquomash&rdquo I hold on the pad of my index finger.

Pointing at the mash, one of Tabasco&rsquos expert sauce-makers shakes his head and says, &ldquoThat&rsquos some fire right there.&rdquo He shakes his head some more and walks away from me&mdashlike he doesn&rsquot approve of what I&rsquom about to do.

I&rsquom standing on a poured-concrete floor in one of the sauce-making buildings on Tabasco&rsquos campus, which is located on Avery Island, Louisiana&mdashabout two hours due west of New Orleans. Beside me and holding a scoop of the scorpion pepper mash is John Simmons, a sixth-generation member of the McIlhenny family that founded Tabasco on Avery Island back in 1868.

Simmons is in his late-30s, and he oversees agriculture and the making of small batch sauces for Tabasco. A few minutes earlier, I&rsquod helped him and two other Tabasco employees load up the &ldquoliquiverter&rdquo and mill they use to make their new Scorpion Sauce&mdashthe hottest sauce Tabasco has ever produced. (And by &ldquohelped,&rdquo I mean I watched from a safe distance.)

One Scorpion pepper has 2 million Scoville units

Scorpion Sauce checks in at roughly 30,000 Scoville units&mdashmaking it exponentially hotter than original Tabasco, which lands somewhere between 2,500 and 5,000 SHUs. Along with scorpion mash&mdashwhich is chopped-up bits of Trinidad scorpion peppers mixed with salt that registers around 100,000 Scoville units&mdashthe sauce&rsquos short list of ingredients includes guava and coarse-cut pineapple. Absent from the recipe is supplementary capsaicin&mdashthe natural irritant in hot peppers that gives them their mouth-charring burn.

&ldquoAnyone can do heat&mdashanyone can do a basic sauce and then dial it up with raw capsaicin,&rdquo Simmons tells me. &ldquoWhat we want to do is use only the natural capsaicin from one of the hottest peppers on the planet and then use other natural ingredients to highlight the flavor of the scorpion pepper.&rdquo

Back in the sauce-making room, I&rsquod leaned over the tub of scorpion mash and briefly pulled back my mask to get a whiff. It had a sweet, tropical ambrosia that was both floral and fruity&mdashthe olfactory equivalent of a rainbow. It was easy to see why animals (and humans) would be tempted to eat these peppers, and why they would need to pack such insane amounts of natural fire to deter hungry mammals. (Simmons mentions that another member of the McIlhenny family&mdashan elephant biologist in Africa&mdashsteered the company toward the scorpion pepper because he&rsquod successfully used it to keep elephants from eating local crops.)

Now I watch Simmons dip a finger into the mash he&rsquos holding. He lifts out a chunk about the same size as mine, and then he smiles at me. &ldquoYou&rsquore about to get the full sensory experience,&rdquo he says.

I&rsquom not sure what I was expecting. Pain, mostly. But the first sensations are pleasurable. The mash is unexpectedly delicious&mdasha salty flavor-bomb that tastes like the freshest exotic fruits in the world had been distilled down to their essences, mixed together, and dripped onto the tip and sides of my tongue. But the pleasure doesn&rsquot last long.

There&rsquos that scene in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade where the old dude drinks from what he thinks is the Holy Grail, but then realizes he was wrong and that he&rsquos truly screwed. I&rsquom sure my face looks exactly like that as the scorpion pepper starts to sink its fangs into my tongue.

&ldquoOK,&rdquo I say, my eyes beginning to water. &ldquoOK. OK.&rdquo The heat is growing more intense every second, and my throat and nostrils are suddenly burning as though I snorted battery acid.

A full minute passes, and I feel like I&rsquom riding a rollercoaster blindfolded I have no idea when it&rsquos going to stop climbing and make its descent. As if reading my mind, Simmons says, &ldquoI&rsquom still accelerating.&rdquo I nod in agreement, but I&rsquom afraid to talk because it might make things worse.

A few more seconds pass, and Simmons says some other stuff that I don&rsquot catch because my brain and body are dealing with more pressing concerns. The burn is now searing, and my mouth is producing so much saliva that I feel like I could throw up. My eyes and nose are running, and I&rsquom panting and gulping air even though it does nothing to help. It takes everything I have not to crouch down, hug my knees, and start drooling on the ground. I have delirium dreams of opening a gallon of milk and dumping it on my face.

But the minutes pass, and slowly I&rsquom aware that the heat has plateaued. The burn gradually eases back&mdashthe pepper&rsquos fangs slowly extricating themselves from my taste buds. In total, I&rsquod eaten about a fingernail-shard&rsquos worth of the scorpion mash.

Not ironically, Simmons asks me how I liked it. I get the sense he&rsquos one of these guys who enjoys the heart rate-elevating burn of hot peppers. (He handled his bite of the mash with a lot more poise than I could muster.)

&ldquoIn the beginning it was delicious,&rdquo I tell him. &ldquoI wasn&rsquot expecting that.&rdquo

He nods in agreement, and then talks about his love of putting hot sauces on some unexpected (at least to me) foods. &ldquoMy favorite is our habanero sauce with vanilla ice cream,&rdquo he says. &ldquoIt&rsquos also great with almost any fresh fruit&mdashstuff like cantaloupe and pineapple.&rdquo

Together we leave the building where Tabasco&rsquos Scorpion Sauce and its other small-batch sauces are made and climb into Simmons&rsquos pickup. As we drive toward another section of the company&rsquos campus, I ask him how Tabasco was founded here on Avery Island, which is actually not an island at all but a massive salt dome carpeted with native flora. &ldquoEdmund McIlhenny was living out here with his in-laws, and we know he started selling the sauce commercially in 1868.&rdquo

Simmons says Edmund, his distant relative, had moved down to Avery Island from his native Maryland, and that he was &ldquothe 1860s version of a foodie.&rdquo But much about Edmund and Tabasco&rsquos origin story remains cloaked in mystery. &ldquoWe actually have an archivist and historian who has spent an enormous amount of time looking into it,&rdquo Simmons says. &ldquoBut he&rsquos unwilling to state much definitively until he can prove it, so we really don&rsquot have much tamped down.&rdquo

A few minutes later we climb out of the truck and walk into a building Simmons calls &ldquothe barrel warehouse.&rdquo This is not a misnomer. Stepping inside the massive building, I see row after row of what look like whiskey barrels. There must be hundreds of them spread out on the central floor of the warehouse space, and stacked on either side of them are thousands more.

Simmons confirms that these are indeed repurposed whiskey barrels that are bought new and used to age the pepper mash used in Tabasco&rsquos signature red sauce. Every drop of Tabasco sauce is made on Avery Island, he says, and every drop of it is made with peppers aged in barrels for three years. He has to repeat this a few times before I get it.

&ldquoEvery bottle of Tabasco I&rsquove had is barrel aged for three years?&rdquo

He laughs. &ldquoNot many people know that,&rdquo he says. &ldquoBut that&rsquos really the secret to Tabasco sauce.&rdquo

Considering the food-and-beverage industry&rsquos current obsession with barrel-aging, I tell Simmons it&rsquos shocking to me that Tabasco isn&rsquot crowing about its barrel program in ads or on its famous label. He shrugs and says, &ldquoTalk to the marketing people about that&mdashthat&rsquos not me.&rdquo

He uses a heavy mallet to remove the staves from two barrels&mdashone containing young tabasco pepper mash, and the other three-year-aged mash. He notes that the young mash&mdashapart from being a vibrant scarlet color, as opposed to the burnt appearance of the aged mash&mdashhas aromas of fresh-cut fruit like pears and apples. The aged mash smells of fermented dates, grapes, and preserves.

&ldquoHow many barrels are here?&rdquo I ask him.

&ldquoSixteen thousand, give or take,&rdquo he says. &ldquoAnd there are 48,000 in the big warehouse.&rdquo

There&rsquos a bigger warehouse? We walk to an adjacent building that dwarfs the first. It&rsquos stacked six-barrels high with aging pepper mash. &ldquoWe have auditors come in from time to time that ask to see an individual barrel,&rdquo Simmons tells me. &ldquoSometimes it&rsquos way back in there, but they have to see it, so we have to take them in.&rdquo He laughs.

I ask if all these barrels contain mash for Tabasco&rsquos red sauce. Simmons tells me yes, but some nearby plastic containers contain jalapeño and habanero pepper mash for use in some of their other sauces.

Simmons and I spend some more time touring Tabasco&rsquos facilities, including the bottling plant and the laboratory where each batch of sauce is tested to ensure its components are appropriately balanced. (When we stop by the lab, they&rsquore about halfway through testing the scorpion sauce I watched Simmons and his coworkers make. So far it&rsquos dead on.) Throughout my tour, we pause to chitchat with dozens of Tabasco employees, all of whom seem to know Simmons personally and are clearly proud of where they work and the sauces they make.

Toward the end of my visit, I ask Simmons about the hot sauce business. I can&rsquot get him to dish about any of Tabasco&rsquos competitors, but he does hint that he thinks hot sauces are best when they don&rsquot overpower foods. He says he likes a sauce that adds heat&mdashsomething conspicuously absent from many so-called &ldquohot sauces&rdquo&mdashbut that also heighten and complement the natural taste of foods without masking them.

Tabasco is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year. And to survive (and thrive) for a century and a half, the company has embraced innovation.

Along with its eight widely available sauces and its Scorpion Sauce, Tabasco is currently developing a handful of new offerings&mdasha few of which I dribbled onto gumbo at Tabasco&rsquos open-to-the-public restaurant on Avery Island. (One sauce in particular&mdasha &ldquoroasted&rdquo sauce&mdashwas a smoky, complex stunner, and I urged Simmons to get that bad boy into grocery stores as soon as possible.)

But even many of Tabasco&rsquos new offerings contain a bit of their original red sauce.

&ldquoYou know, Tabasco red sauce is three things&mdashit&rsquos tabasco peppers, salt and vinegar,&rdquo Simmons says. He tells me this product&rsquos simplicity and quality guide everything the company does.

&ldquoThat&rsquos our north star, and we always know where it points us,&rdquo he says.


What is Fry Sauce?

Fry sauce is definitely a regional thing, but this magical dipping condiment has grown in popularity. You can even find it on some grocer store shelves! However, the homemade version is definitely the way to go.

Fry sauce is famous in Utah. In fact, the version we all know and love was first served at Carlos’ Barbeque which eventually became the fast food chain, Arctic Circle. From there other places began serving this delicious sauce. The sauce has recently gotten more attention and can even be found in many grocery stores around the country under the name Mayo Ketchup.

Fry sauce is most notably used for french fries, but is also used for chicken nuggets, corn dogs, burgers, tater tots, wraps and more.

Here are some of our favorite recipes to pair it with:


2. Deter Pests

Tabasco acts as a natural insecticide when rubbed or sprayed on plant leaves. (Be aware that it can be harmful to bees, so applying it after flowers have bloomed is best.) It can keep other critters away as well, such as rabbits in your garden, mice in your home and squirrels at the bird feeder. Don’t worry, it should not bother your feathered friends at all.


5 Healthy Reasons to Love Tabasco Sauce

On Wednesday, the folks at Tabasco offered HealthySelf a virtual tour of their Avery Island, La., headquarters, where they have been brewing and bottling their iconic hot sauce since the 1860s.

Throughout the hour-long tour, we were impressed by the healthy perks hidden in that slim red bottle. Here are 5 good-for-you reasons to hit the sauce:

It's pure. Tabasco has zero calories, zero salt and zero artificial sketchiness. That beautiful color isn't dye -- it's the true color of the peppers, which the Avery Island hot sauce engineers match against a wooden dowel to make sure they're the perfect shade of ripe red. The only ingredients: Aged pepper mash, distilled vinegar and a touch of Avery Island salt.

It's not packed with salt. One bottle of Tabasco is less than 2 percent salt. Not all hot sauces are this low in sodium, so read your labels!

It helps stoke your metabolism. Some studies have shown that capsaicin, the compound that gives chili peppers their spicy kick, creates enough heat to raise your body temperature, which helps you burn more calories -- approximately an 8 percent bump -- immediately following a meal.

It keeps you satisfied. In one study, subjects who had hot sauce with an appetizer consumed about 200 fewer calories when the main course came around, compared to subjects who didn't have any capsaicin.

It makes healthy dishes extra delicious. Add hot sauce to fish, eggs, salad dressings or barbecue sauce to add bonus flavor, minus the calories. For inspiration, click here to browse thousands of recipes (some of these aren't the healthiest, so get creative and steal ideas for your own low-cal versions). And here's an amazing SELF recipe for Cajun Turkey Cheeseburgers with Tabasco Ketchup.


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Whether you call it a hoagie, a grinder, or a sub, one thing remains: the hero is about as American as a sandwich can get. And while the nomenclature might vary by region, the history of the hero is pretty straight and narrow, much like, well, the sandwich itself.

So how do you actually go about making one of these culturally cool creations at home? Keep in mind the panini isn’t just some average sandwich to be hastily slapped together. You’ll need an acumen of ingredients, a bit of creativity, and patience.

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We use cookies to personalise content and ads, to provide social media features and to analyse our traffic. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners who may combine it with other information that you’ve provided to them or that they’ve collected from your use of their services. You consent to our cookies if you continue to use our website.


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Copyright © 2021 HowStuffWorks, a division of InfoSpace Holdings, LLC, a System1 Company

We use cookies to personalise content and ads, to provide social media features and to analyse our traffic. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners who may combine it with other information that you’ve provided to them or that they’ve collected from your use of their services. You consent to our cookies if you continue to use our website.


22 Things You Didn’t Know About Chili Peppers

Everyone’s tolerance for chili peppers is different. Some people embrace five-alarm chili, scotch bonnet–packed phaal curry, and chicken wings doused with super-hot Tabasco sauce.

I personally have never been able to handle much heat. I joke that my lips are wimps, and whenever I’m at a restaurant, I always avoid dishes on the menu that have that little “chili pepper” symbol next to them.

But as it turns out, I should probably make more of an effort to tolerate those spicy peppers. Because there’s a boatload of new research that suggests chili peppers are a superfood.

A recent study, for example, looked at half a million Chinese adults and found that those who ate spicy foods three or more times per week had a 14 percent reduced risk of death.

Other recent studies have shown that chili peppers—and particularly the active ingredient in them that provides their heat, capsaicin (“cap-SAY-uh-sin”)—offer a multitude of health benefits.

Surprised? Read on to discover 22 more interesting tidbits about chili peppers.

Red chili peppers on sale at Khari Baoli spice and dried foods market, Old Delhi, India (Tim Graham/Getty Images)

1. Chili peppers help you burn more calories by raising the body’s core temperature during digestion. What’s more, they trigger a reaction in your gut that tells your nervous system to produce more brown fat, a healthy fat that expends calories.

2. They also reduce appetite by forcing you to drink more water to cool off, and by distracting your mind, making you forget that you’re hungry.

3. Chili peppers release feel-good endorphins and dopamine, because your brain interprets the burn from hot peppers as pain, which can ultimately result in a sense of euphoria similar to a “runner’s high.”

4. Chili peppers alleviate sore muscles and tame arthritis thanks to those aforementioned endorphins, and also by inhibiting substance P, a neuropeptide that causes inflammation.

5. Thanks to capsaicin and its relatives, “capsaicinoids,” chili peppers improve heart health in a couple of ways. First, they lower cholesterol levels by reducing accumulation of cholesterol in the body and increasing its breakdown and excretion. Second, they block the action of a gene that makes arteries contract and restricts the blood flow to the heart and other organs.

6. Chili peppers have been found to prevent the development of certain types of cancer—especially, prostate cancer. How? Scientists theorize that the peppers trigger something called apoptosis, a type of “cell suicide” that encourages the turnover of cells. These peppers also contain a lot of carotenoids and flavonoids, which scavenge free radicals in our system. Free radicals have been known to cause cancer.

(Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket/Getty Images)

7. Chili peppers will even clear up your sinuses. A study by a University of Cincinnati allergy researcher found that a nasal spray containing capsaicin from hot chili peppers helped people suffering from nasal congestion and sinus pain feel relief more quickly.

8. So how should you incorporate more hot peppers into your diet? You have a few options. One way: Go to the fresh produce section of your grocery store and buy some fresh peppers. Bypass the bell peppers—they contain no capsaicin—and instead reach for poblanos (big, green, and fairly mild), jalapeños (medium, green, and hot), and serranos (small, green, and hot). You may also find some red hot Thai peppers (small, red, hot) and shishito peppers (small and green, 10-25 percent of which are hot).

A worker inspects habanero chili peppers moving along a conveyor belt at the Znova Agro packaging facility in Merida, Mexico (Susana Gonzalez/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

9. As a general rule of thumb, the smaller the pepper, the hotter it is.

10. If you want more exotic peppers, like the super hot habanero or the scorch-your-tongue Carolina Reaper (the hottest pepper in the world, according to many), go to a specialty store or look online.

11. You should always buy whatever peppers look good and whichever ones you think you and your mouth can tolerate. Choose firm peppers, with a shiny, unblemished skin. For jalapeños, some chefs will tell you that the hottest ones have a few white striations on them.

12. Sliced chili peppers go great in stir frys, but they will also treat you right inside your tacos and burritos, on your morning eggs and omelets, in sandwiches and wraps, on steaks, and in pasta sauces. Basically, you can use them to give any of your meals an extra kick.

13. It’s better if you cook them, though. (Fry them up with some vegetable oil, for example.) It’ll release more of the bioactive compounds and they’ll be absorbed into the body more efficiently, according to researchers.

14. The bonus? Because capsaicin is a fat-soluble molecule, it’s actually more effective to eat chili peppers with a little fat. So not only do chili peppers taste delicious with pork tacos, they’re also better for you this way, too.

Habanero chili peppers hanging from a plant in a field during harvest in Merida, Mexico (Susana Gonzalez/Bloomberg/Getty Images)

15. Despite what you might have heard, there’s no law against throwing Latin-sounding peppers into Asian-inspired dishes. In fact, some peppers traditionally used in Asian meals are simply Latin peppers by a different name. (Shishito peppers, for instance, are essentially the same as the Padrón peppers from Spain.)

16. Another fun fact to keep in mind during your pepper picking: Fresh chili peppers will be spicier during the summer (of whatever region they hail from) and milder during the cool or rainy season.

17. You can also get plenty of chili peppers into your diet via hot sauces. (Which helps explains why hot sauces are one of the fastest-growing industries in the U.S.) There are many to choose from—everything from Tabasco to Cholula to Frank’s RedHot to Tapatio to Blair’s Ultra Death Sauce.

One big advantage to hot sauces over fresh peppers is convenience. All you have to do is buy a hot sauce, open it up, and douse your food with it. (Like with the fresh peppers, you can put it on anything: pizza, burgers, eggs, salads, wings, pastas, tacos, etc.) Some experts say hot sauce is actually a better way to deliver the peppers into your system, because cutting and blending them releases more of the capsaicin and its fiery relatives.

18. When buying a hot sauce, look for one without too much sugar and sodium, and with only a few ingredients. I like Dr. Stadnyk’s Hot Sauce, made by a physician in Houston, because it contains only four ingredients: organic carrots, habanero peppers, kosher salt, and organic vinegar. Or honestly, the market leader, Tabasco, is a good option. It’s low in sodium and contains no calories.

(Smith Mark Edward/AGF/UIG/Getty Images)

19. The hot sauce you want to avoid is sriracha. It may be the Asian ketchup, but it’ll make you a fat American, because it’s loaded with sugar.

20. Another good source of chili peppers: ground cayenne pepper, found in your grocery store’s spice aisle. Keep a small container of it on your kitchen table along with the salt and pepper (or better yet, instead of the salt and pepper). Sprinkle a little bit on your food. Half a teaspoon or less is all you need for a boost, say scientists.

21. Oh, and if you’re like me and you can’t handle much spice, there are two reasons why you should feel encouraged. First, studies show that you’re actually at an advantage over those who can tolerate spice, in some ways, because it’s the burning sensation that you feel from spicy food that will trigger many of these health benefits. Since you can’t handle much spice, it’ll take you less spice to feel this burn, so to speak. (This also explains why consuming chili peppers in capsule form is less effective. In short: no pain, no gain.)

22. Lastly, you can always try a green pepper sauce from a brand like Cholula or Tabasco. It’s not too hot, and it still has jalapeños and poblanos, which contain capsaicin and all that other good stuff. So maybe I don’t have to toughen up after all.

—Shawn Donnelly for RealClearLife

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Recipe Summary

  • 4 (1/2 pound) beef cube steaks
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ cups buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon hot pepper sauce (e.g. Tabasco™)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cups vegetable shortening for deep frying
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups milk
  • kosher salt and ground black pepper to taste

Pound the steaks to about 1/4-inch thickness. Place 2 cups of flour in a shallow bowl. Stir together the baking powder, baking soda, pepper, and salt in a separate shallow bowl stir in the buttermilk, egg, Tabasco Sauce, and garlic. Dredge each steak first in the flour, then in the batter, and again in the flour. Pat the flour onto the surface of each steak so they are completely coated with dry flour.

Heat the shortening in a deep cast-iron skillet to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Fry the steaks until evenly golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Place fried steaks on a plate with paper towels to drain. Drain the fat from the skillet, reserving 1/4 cup of the liquid and as much of the solid remnants as possible.

Return the skillet to medium-low heat with the reserved oil. Whisk the remaining flour into the oil. Scrape the bottom of the pan with a spatula to release solids into the gravy. Stir in the milk, raise the heat to medium, and bring the gravy to a simmer, cook until thick, 6 to 7 minutes. Season with kosher salt and pepper. Spoon the gravy over the steaks to serve.


Homemade Worcestershire Sauce Substitutes

Vegan Worcestershire Sauce

Soy sauce, 2 tbsp. (low-sodium variety)

Procedure

Mix all the components together in a cooking pan and place on a medium flame. Allow it to boil and then allow it to simmer on a lower flame for 45 seconds more. Let it cool down before using and store in a cool, dry place. One tablespoon of this can be used to substitute an equal amount of Worcestershire sauce. This makes about ¾ cup of the sauce.

Vegetarian Worcestershire Sauce with Mushroom Soy Sauce

Make about 2 cups of this solution with,

Mustard powder, 1½ tsp. (dried)

Cloves (or allspice), ⅛ tsp. (ground)

Procedure

Blend all the ingredients in a food processor and then boil until only two cups of it is left in the saucepan. Make sure you let it simmer on low heat. Run the solution through a sieve. Pour it in a bottle with a tight lid and refrigerate for storage.

Worcestershire Sauce with Fish Sauce

Make about 3 to 4 cups of this condiment with,

Canned tomatoes, 1 cup (diced)

Shallots, ½ cup (finely chopped)

Vietnamese fish sauce (a.k.a. nước mắm), 2 tbsp. (the Thai variety called nam pla would also work)

Black pepper, 1 tsp. (freshly ground)

Begin by heating the oil in a pan and then sautéing the chopped onions until they are caramelized. Next, add the tomatoes to the softened onions and let a simmer set in for 2 – 3 minutes. Once done, remove the pan from heat and add all the other ingredients to the sautéed veggies, barring the honey. Stir to mix well and then let the mixture come down to room temperature. Once the concoction has cooled down sufficiently, pour in the honey and stir to mix. Now blend the mixture in a food processor until smooth. Strain it with a fine-mesh sieve next and store it in a lidded jar in the refrigerator. Use for up to 4 weeks.
Tip: Use the back of a ladle or spatula to push the blended mixture through the sieve.

Vegetarian Worcestershire Sauce with Tamarind

The beauty of this concoction is that you can use it over a period of about 3 months. You’ll need,

Tamarind concentrate, 2 tbsp. (low-sodium variety)

Ginger root, 1″ (slivered finely)

Procedure

Place a saucepan on the stove and slowly pour all the ingredients into it, one after the other. Stir slowly as a simmer develops and allow it to boil for 8 – 10 minutes. Now take the vessel off the flame and set it aside to stand unperturbed for at least a day. After that, run it through a sieve and keep it in a clean, tight-lidded bottle in the fridge and use accordingly.
Tip: Try adding a little Sichuan peppercorns to the sauce for that extra sharpness!

Worcestershire Sauce with Balsamic Vinegar

This next preparation can be used both as a soy sauce substitute and a Worcestershire sauce double. To concoct a cup of this dark sauce, you must have,

Organic beef broth (or chicken broth), 1½ cups

Molasses, 2 tsp. (unsulphured variety)

Procedure

You need to brew all the ingredients together, barring the salt, for about 15 minutes on medium heat. Once the liquid begins to boil, allow it to simmer steadily until the entire thing reduces by half. Once you have about a cup of the liquid left, stir in the salt (if you want it at all) and then store it in the fridge for up to seven days. Also, make sure that the bottle is well-lidded. This sauce is not extremely salty and, therefore, works wonders when used as a base sauce for dishes such as Asian sesame-glazed salmon, chicken chop suey, Korean-style chicken and yakisoba or fried noodles.

Vegetarian Worcestershire Sauce with Brown Vinegar

Green apple, 1 (small, cored, peeled and cubed)

Treacle (or molasses), 1 tbsp.

Cayenne pepper (or chili paste), 1 tsp.

Procedure

Commingle everything in a frying pan and let a steady simmer set in on low heat. Brew for 60 minutes approximately and then strain the mixture. Pour it in a steralised bottle with a tight lid. Storage for a long time is possible if kept in the fridge.

Vegan Worcestershire Sauce with Tamari

Apple cider vinegar, 2 tbsp.

Onion, a scant pinch (granulated)

Procedure

Put all the ingredients in the food processor and blend until smooth. Then pour it all out into a glass jar with a good lid and then refrigerate. Storing it for a while helps the liquid to mature and all the flavors commingle to produce a yummilicious Worcestershire sauce alternative.

Vegetarian Worcestershire Sauce with Chiles de Árbol

For 2 cups of this concoction, you need:

White vinegar, 2 cups (distilled)

Tamarind concentrate, ¼ cup

Yellow mustard seeds, 3 tbsp.

Black peppercorns, 1 tsp. (whole)

Chiles de árbol, 4 (chopped)

Ginger, 1 ½” piece (peeled and crushed)

Procedure

In a 2-quart cooking pan, throw in all the ingredients except the sugar. Bring it to a boil and then lower the heat in order to let the mixture simmer for a good 10 minutes. Simultaneously, get the sugar to caramelize on medium-high heat in a skillet for just 5 minutes. It is ready once it turns syrupy and takes on a dark amber color. Add this to the vinegar concoction and commingle it well by stirring. Get this to cook for no more than 5 minutes. Pour the condiment in a clean, lidded glass jar and place it in the fridge for at least 27 days. Post that, run the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve and store in a bottle. You can use this for about eight months by storing it in the fridge.

Vegetarian Worcestershire Sauce with Cooking Apples

Cooking apples, 3 pounds (skinned, cored and cubed)

Procedure

Place all the ingredients in a Crock Pot and let it boil for 1½ hours. Once it starts to boil, let the entire thing sit on low heat and steadily simmer for the entire duration. After 90 minutes, you will see that it has all become soft and pulpy. Take it off the heat at this point and spin it in the blender once. Store in clean glass bottles and refrigerate. This sauce becomes better if you let it mature for a bit.

So, now you have quick Worcestershire sauce fill-ins as well as nine homemade Worcestershire sauce recipes which you can use in case you are a vegetarian or vegan (as commercial Worcestershire sauces use anchovies). So, try and test these concoctions when you can and let me know some other viable alternatives for Worcestershire sauce. Until then, ciao!