There’s factory-made hot sauce and hot sauce made in small batches by someone with a passion for the product.
Tommy Wood of Bootlikker Hot Sauce is one of those artisan hot sauce makers. Based out of Grayson Georgia, Tommy says he started making hot sauce on a whim. “It was 2002 and I told the members of my band Quarter Inch Jack I was going to make my own hot sauce and I thought tequila would be a good addition. People liked it and for years my wife Stephanie and I would make it 12 bottles at a time or 24 bottles at a time.”
As you would expect, the recipe is top secret. It’s so secret he won’t let anyone come watch him stir up a batch, but acknowledges the sauce contains pickled jalapenos and tequila. “Those are the two flavors that set it apart.”
Creating the recipe involved a bit of trial and error. He started with a recipe that included butter, but that meant the sauce wasn’t shelf stable. “Turns out that butter cuts the heat, so eliminating it from the recipe meant the flavor stayed the same but was sharper. We were adding salt, but that wasn’t adding anything especially since we had other salty ingredients, so we cut that little bit of added salt.”
Recipe set in stone, he printed up custom labels and gave the bottles to friends. And heard, “This stuff’s great! You should market it.”
Tommy has recently created a new version of his sauce that incorporates Whiskey as well as a Bootlikker beef jerky!