More than thirty years ago, long before sriracha became the jumping-off point for every episode of Hot Ones, “rooster sauce,” as it’s commonly called, was popularized in the US by David Tran of Huy Fong Foods. Over the decades, the spicy, Thai-style dipping sauce has become a staple on the American dinner table, giving a kicking to everything from buffalo wings to instant ramen.
Now, Refinery29 has blessed the Interwebs with a mesmerizing video detailing exactly how sriracha sauce gets made, boiling the process down into a digestible, two-and-a-half minute clip. If you’re feeling too distracted to listen to the actual information, and would rather let the oddly soothing process of thousands of chili peppers being crushed wash over you sans audio, here are the cliff notes:
Sriracha is produced in a 650,000 square-foot factory in Irwindale, California. When the product was initially introduced in the 1980’s, the sauce was packaged in baby food jars, not the iconic plastic bottles we're familiar with today.
The red jalapeno hybrid is the only chili pepper that is used to make Sriracha, but is only in season for four months out of the year. 21 tons of peppers arrive at the factory everyday, totaling a whopping 100 million pounds of peppers a year.
Sriracha is never cooked. Instead, the condiment is smashed into a paste and mixed with other ingredients like vinegar, garlic, and sugar to eventually become what we squeeze onto (almost all of) our food.
Both the iconic packaging and the product are produced in the factory, churning out 3,000 bottles of Sriracha per hour, about 20 million bottles per year.
Huy Fong’s factory in Irwindale made headlines in recent years after local residents complained of the strong odor coming from the building. Ultimately, the lawsuit was dropped after Tran promised to make certain concessions, and curtail that intense chili smell.
"From now on, I will be concentrating on making my hot sauces quality better and better, with the price being lower and lower," he said at the time.
Sounds like a good plan to us.