What’s even better than barrel-aging Sriracha? Smoking it. This is my sixth attempt at a smoked Sriracha in the style of Huy Fong Foods’ rooster sauce. This time, I was trying to make a sauce with a little less sugar and a bit more natural sweetness (I used a small amount of dark brown sugar and a cooked carrot). I’ve been playing around with my stovetop hot smoker—it’s such an easy way to make all kinds of things taste more interesting, with greater depth to the flavor. The maple chips I used added a smoky-sweet taste perfect for this sauce.

Smoky Rooster Sriracha
Makes about 1 3/4 cups

1 pound Fresno chiles
1/2 cup rice vinegar
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1 medium carrot, cut into 1/4-inch rounds
4 peeled garlic cloves
1 1/2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup water, or more (depending on the consistency you like)

Smoke the chiles for 15 minutes in a hot smoker over wood chips, preferably maple.

Bring both vinegars to a boil. Add the carrots, garlic, and sugar. Simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. Let everything cool for about 30 minutes.

Pull the stems off the chiles. If you want to remove the seeds (this is optional—I like to leave them in), scoop them out with your fingers and discard.

Place the chiles, vinegar-vegetable mixture, olive oil, salt, and 1/4 cup of the water in a blender.

Blend on high for one to two minutes. Check the consistency—add the additional 1/4 cup of water and blend again. If you like it thinner, add up to 1/4 cup additional water and blend again. Pour the chile sauce into jars and refrigerate.

Photos by Chris Rochelle

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