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recipe Cloning Poblano's "Mexican Hot Sauce"

Hi everyone,
I've been a hot sauce fiend for a bit and my favorite, all time, are the Red Jalapeno and/or Mexican Hot Sauce produced by Poblano Hot Sauce in Tucson. I go through about 30 bottles a year; it's so good I ship it in from Tucson - it's not sold outside of AZ as far as I'm aware. They stopped producing for a few weeks last year and I thought I was out of luck forever. Fortunately they're in production again, but it was a scare! 
So, I am here for one reason: to recreate this hot sauce.
The recipe is a closely guarded secret, so there's no asking for tips or tricks from the manufacturers. I've been compiling notes for a few months now and I'm just going to data dump it here and log my progress as I go. To say I've been taking notes may be an understatement. I've scoured the internet for articles and newspaper clippings about Poblano Hot Sauce. I've search the pictures in those articles carefully to see what equipment they may have. I've read them thoroughly for ANY clue about the process or recipe.
The flavor is not sweet at all, just a little bit vinegary with a very clear contribution by spices. Texture is smooth with a little bit of grit from the spices. No seeds are visible.
If you're familiar with this hot sauce and have some thoughts - please let me know.
What I think I know:
The sauce is not cooked
  • Oil separates when left to sit for a few days; based on previous research, I suspect this may mean it is uncooked.
  • Reading local news articles about the makers states that the only piece of equipment they have is a "chile grinder"; there is no mention of a stove and none shown in any photograph of the kitchen.
Peppers and spices pickle for days at room temperature. I do not believe this is fermented.
  • ..."barrels holding jalapenos, spices, and mustard that marinate together of the course of several days".
The big unknowns are the composition of "chili peppers" and "spices"
  • surprise to no one
  • the original recipe called for chiltepin peppers, but people complained it was too hot so they no longer use chiltepins
I believe spices include...
  • mustard seed
  • turmeric
  • paprika
  • garlic powder
  • cumin (I THINK I can taste this)
Listed Ingredients:

  • Mexican Hot Sauce (In order)

  • Chili peppers
  • spices
  • distilled vinegar
  • mustard seed (>= 28 g per bottle)
  • salt (11 g sodium per bottle based on nutritional information, should be 28 g Salt per bottle)
  • turmeric (<= 28 g per bottle)
  • paprika
  • garlic powder

Articles about Poblano. This is it:



  • poblano.jpg
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Business Member
You could probably go back and glean through the articles in regards to the amount they package per day, figuring 4 barrels @ 50 gallons, if they process 1 barrel per day, then each batch would sit for 3 days, and be packaged on the 4th.  Per day they would grind up 1 batch and package up 1 batch?   
salsalady said:
You could probably go back and glean through the articles in regards to the amount they package per day, figuring 4 barrels @ 50 gallons, if they process 1 barrel per day, then each batch would sit for 3 days, and be packaged on the 4th.  Per day they would grind up 1 batch and package up 1 batch?   
Excellent idea! A residence time model. Did I mention I'm a scientist?


Business Member
m012741k0m847 said:
Excellent idea! A residence time model. Did I mention I'm a scientist?
tap into your artistic side~~~  :lol:  since there is no recipe, you are going to have to rely on nuance, hints, WAG's, gut feelings.....and a whole lot for trial and error!  :lol:
WAG= WildA$$Guess.....
I put a WAG in an electrical proposal to a contractor, they copy/pasted it to the architect and further to the client who asked what a WAG was.......yea, they were not too happy to find out it was a WildA$$Guess....  I thought the contractor would of censored it a little bit.  oops~ :shrug:


Business Member
:lol:  I'll use that next time.  Thanks, Pookie!  That's right up there with...
the light doesn't work cuz there is a nick in the wire and the electrons are leaking out....
outlets won't work if they are put in with the ground up....

The Hot Pepper

Thanks so much for sending me a bottle for evaluation! For those interested I sent him these PM comments:
I have the sauce! Let me give it a taste.
First whiff I definitely get taco seasonings like cumin and taco bell hot sauce.
Ooooh that's nice! It's hotter than I thought. It has a nice vinegar tang and burn. Definitely some earthy vibes from dried chilies, I pretty much guarantee they are not all fresh. I am getting some ancho perhaps, or other sun dried Mexican chili.
There's one thing I can't put my finger on quite yet but know the flavor. Like when you taste ginger and you know it. But also like a word on the tip of your tongue... I am not sure yet. It is herbal. Mexican oregano??? Hmmmm. Will let you know if I find out lol.
Cheers man!
PS. Wow, it is really delicious in fact!

The Hot Pepper

Okay here it is. I've deducted that the earthy spice may be coriander. Which is the seed of cilantro, but easier to incorporate into a sauce than dried cilantro. I believe I am tasting this (+ mex oregano).


Business Member
My first thought was also - "not all fresh peppers"-
Tapatio on the left, Poblano on the right


edit- pictures don't represent the colors too accurately...at least on my notebook....The turmeric yellow and maybe mustard also... shows up better IRL.

The Hot Pepper

Funny, I didn't even read the ingredients, ha. Not that they reveal much but I like to blind taste first and read after but I never got to it.
Alright team, I'm back! I've been on the road for work and vacation for nearly two months now, but if you think I forgot about this - you're nuts.
It's fall in New Mexico, which means it's hunting and chile season. My favorite chile farm also has fresh red jalapenos, so i was able to pick up a bag. I had some friends over to peel roasted green and red chiles last week and was fortunate enough to fill a pronghorn antelope tag at the end of August. I'm looking forward to some antelope green chile stew. But this thread isn't about chile stew - it's about failing to duplicate the world's greatest hot sauce.
The Missing Spice
Based on advice from THP and SalsaLady, I've taken my latest draft of the recipe and increased turmeric a bit to "yellow" the sauce and added 1/4 tsp each of coriander and mexican oregano. I'm still way off flavor-wise. I see what THP is saying - there's definitely a very familiar odor to the sauce that I cannot identify. I think coriander is in there, but that's not the spice I'm smelling. I might just go to my local Sprouts - which sells spices in bulk - and just smell the bins until I find it. Hopefully nobody will call the police. I've smelled every spice in my cabinet and i'm not finding it.
My coriander is at least 7 years old - so I'm not ruling out coriander as the missing link.
A search of "mexican hot sauce recipes" on google did not turn out any surprising spices. Onion powder is common, but based on FDA ingredients rules, it has to be called out by name. One recipe had thyme and marjoram, which is very English, but I'm doubtful.

There's almost something a little indian about the odor and I'm wondering if maybe toasting some of those spices whole would add a depth of flavor I'm not getting.
Lastly, it turns out i've been shorting the salt by 50% whenever I make this sauce. The bottle has 11 g of salt for 5 oz; when I make an 8 oz batch, I really should have closer to 17 g, which is about 3 large teaspoons.
On Pasty Sauces
I've been thinking more about the consistency, why my attempts are always so pasty, and how I can add water without adding water. This last batch used about 4x as much fresh pepper than dried - i need to use even more. This last recipe is pasty, and it used nearly 6 oz of fresh pepper between the jalapenos and habaneros and 1.6 oz of dried chiles between ancho and red chile. Unfortunately I ran out of habaneros at home, so I think I may blend a few more jalapenos and habaneros and add until I get my consistency right, then use that fresh:dry pepper ratio forever.
The Latest Recipe:
3 oz Vinegar
2.5 oz Habaneros, seeded and stemmed
2.9 oz red Jalapenos, seeded and stemmed
"Spices" - AKA ingredients not listed by name:
1 oz ground New Mexico Red Chile
0.6 oz Ancho
1/4 tsp coriander
1/4 tsp mexican oregano
3 tsp salt
2 tsp ground mustard
1/4 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp garlic powder
That's it. I'll pick up some more peppers this weekend and see if I can nail down the consistency at least. If anyone figures out what that missing spice is, let me know!


Business Member
I have a second test batch in the refer, but got side tracked for a couple weeks with camping and other fun stuff. I'll get back to it this weekend and see how it's settled.
I believe dried onion can be included under "spices" which would be an unsurprising ingredient in that sauce. 
As far as texture and liquidity: they may be rehydrating dried peppers before grinding which would prevent them from turning to powder and create more of a paste or small shredded pieces. It's fairly common in Mexican cooking to rehydrate dried peppers. They don't list water as an ingredient but they may feel they are not really adding it because they take the rehydrated peppers back out of the water. Or they may use vinegar to rehydrate. As an aside, they may also be toasting those dried peppers pre-hydration in a dry oven or dry pan, which is also fairly common to Mexican cooking.
Also consider that their grinder may not be a grinder set to powder. It may be a Corona-type mill which is sometimes used in Mexico to grind ingredients for cooking. It does not grind finely (even with dried ingredients) and typically are hand cranked. That might be part of the texture of that sauce.
Thanks for the input reverse apache master.
Based on my reading of the FDA regulations, spices that are more commonly identified as foods - onions, garlic, etc need to be called out by name.
I'm right there with you about rehydrating dried peppers, but the FDA regs state that the only time you can omit water from the ingredients is if all of the water you add is evaporated away; there's no mention of rehydration. A strict reading of the regulations would require they state that they add water. But, since they would probably dump their remaining chile water before using the rehydrated chiles, maybe they see it as not adding water.
Who knows. I know the Segura's are hot sauce masters, but probably not lawyers. Assuming they interpret FDA labelling rules the same way I do is probably a fallacy. I may try rehydrating the chiles next time.
Regarding toasting chiles, i'm starting to think some of the savory-ness that I'm missing could be related to toasting spices or chiles, so I think you might be spot on there.
I started to do some googling on common spices used in mexican hot sauces; I found a few that I haven't considered. Thyme, marjoram, black mustard, black pepper for example. Also picked up whole cumin seeds so I can toast them with whole black pepper and whole mustard if I so desire.
I've been using Kroger brand whole mustard seeds for some hot sauces I've been working on, and I came to realize last night that raw or toasted, the seeds taste like NOTHING. No flavor at all. Definitely one of the problems with my sauces. I'll try some Coleman's and darker indian seeds for the next few batches.