Copycat Sriracha (“Rooster Sauce”)

Meet your new life partner: A mason jar filled with slowly decomposing chile peppers.

Copycat Sriracha

It’s hard to avoid sriracha flavoring, these days. The Thai hot sauce, a thick blend of hot chile peppers, with strong garlic notes, seems to be added to everything from potato chips to Bloody Mary mix to bottles of ketchup. And with good reason; the salty, spicy kick actual sriracha brings to food complements everything from eggs, to fried chicken.

The trouble is, as sriracha’s ubiquity grows, you’re starting to see a lot of bad sriracha-flavored stuff out there. Sometimes, it seems like anything even vaguely “spicy” is tagged with the sriracha name, even when what you’re eating tastes like the same crummy buffalo wings served by every other bar in town. That’s because inferior versions of sriracha forget one crucial element of the sauce, which takes it from ordinary to extraordinary: This stuff is fermented, holmes.

We know, we know. Making your own sriracha seems kinda stupid.

We know, we know. Making your own sriracha seems kinda stupid, especially when when the bottled version is cheap, readily available, and already pretty perfect. It’s certainly quicker (and even less expensive) to buy, than it is to make. But when you make it yourself, you’re in full control of the process from start to finish. Let that jar of hellfire steep in a warm place, gurgling and burbling, the magic of fermentation doing its thing. Take your jar of half-rotten chiles for a walk around town. Use it at the bar to meet women. Take it on a shopping trip, and dress it up in a montage of hysterical outfits, set to the tune of “Walkin’ on Sunshine,” by Katrina and the Waves. The world is yours.

Most importantly, when you make this Thai hot sauce yourself, you can adjust the heat and garlic to your liking. Just be sure to plan ahead; start-to-finish, the whole process takes about a week.

Copycat Sriracha ("Rooster Sauce")
Yields 2
Why make sriracha from scratch, when it's cheaper to buy off the shelf? Because you can, that's why.
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  1. 1 3/4 pounds red jalapeno peppers, stems removed and halved
  2. 3 cloves garlic
  3. 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  4. 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  5. 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  6. 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  7. 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
  1. In food processor, combine peppers, garlic, garlic powder, granulated sugar, salt, and brown sugar. Pulse until a coarse puree forms. Transfer to a glass mason jar or other airtight glass container, seal, and store at room temperature for seven days, stirring each day.
  2. After a week, pour the mixture into a saucepan over medium heat. Add vinegar and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for five minutes. Transfer mixture back to food processor, and puree for 2-3 minutes, until smooth and uniform. Strain mixture through a fine mesh strainer, pushing on the solids to get every last ounce of sauce out. Serve with chicken, fish, or in soup.
Spork & Barrel

Written by Malcolm Bedell

Malcolm is the author of "Eating in Maine: At Home, On the Town, and On the Road," as well as a frequent contributor to Serious Eats,, Eat Rockland, Down East Magazine, The L.A. Weekly, The Guardian, The Huffington Post, and more. When not poisoning his body with garbage and then posting sardonic commentary about it on the Internet, he also owns and operates the 'Wich, Please food truck, named's "Hottest Restaurant in Maine" for 2015.

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