At this point, sriracha is the Rocky Horror Picture Show of condiments: a cult classic that keeps poking its way into the mainstream, and the kind of food product that's spawned a kind of obsession.
While we love the stuff as much as anyone, we're also willing to admit that it's not the most complicated or nuanced chili sauce on the market. Sriracha's great, but everything you put it on winds up tasting inescapably of it. Which is where Jolene Collins' Love of Jojo chili sauce comes in. Our buddy Liza de Guia from Food Curated got the full story, and put together a film about how Jojo's chili sauce gets made.
"When I first started, I tried to create the sriracha that I knew and love, but I quickly figured out that when you add lots of different varieties of chili peppers you get all these crazy flavor profiles, so right away I knew there was so much more there."
Collins gets her chili peppers from local farmers at the Greenmarket, chops them up in a food processor, and combines them with minced garlic, salt, and palm sugar. The pre-racha ferments for about a week, then gets puréed and cooked down with vinegar before bottling. Though the individual peppers that go into the sauce change from batch to batch (each with their own flavor profile), Collins keeps her general proportions the same to ensure some consistency.
When we did our blind ketchup tasting, the clear winner was Heinz...because it tasted the most like Heinz, and everything else tasted "off" in one way or the other. Is sriracha the same way to American tastes? Maybe, but maybe not. You'll find plenty of differently flavored srirachas in Thailand and Vietnam; there's no reason we can't have the same here.
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