(WYTV) – When it comes to American-made hot sauce brands, one name stands out — Tabasco.
The Tabasco company began a long time ago — 1868 on Avery Island in southern Louisiana.
Edmund McIlhenny blended the pepper plants of the Tabasco variety brought from Latin America and called it “Tabasco Pepper Sauce.” He also created recipes to go with it.
Relatives of the McIlhenny family still run the company.
The pepper sauce production process has remained relatively unchanged for the past century-and-a-half.
Most of the peppers are grown in Latin America and South Africa, but the pepper seeds all come from Avery Island.
Once the right peppers have been selected, they are mashed and aged in old bourbon barrels for up to three years.
After aging, the mash is mixed with vinegar and churned for three weeks, then poured into the classic red-topped bottles.
Each of the 2-ounce bottles can hold 720 drops of the sauce and the Tabasco factory can produce up to 700,000 bottles per day.
The name “Tabasco” is of Mexican origin, though anything beyond that is uncertain.
Tabasco is Queen Elizabeth II’s hot sauce of choice and you’ll find it on Air Force One.
The U.S. Army has included Tabasco sauce in its Meals Ready to Eat (MREs) since the 1980s. Same goes for the British Army, and astronauts have taken it into space as well.
The McIlhenny Company has found a way to work its hot condiment into popcorn, steak sauce, mayo, mustard, pickles, Spam, Slim Jims, chili, chocolate and more. At the Tabasco Country Store on Avery Island, you can also buy Tabasco-flavored ice cream.