The Classic Southern Hot Sauce Swap You Should Try

Down South, the weather is warmer, and the food is irresistibly delicious. But while the southern states enjoy serving up decadent, fluffy biscuits and sweet peach cobbler, let it be known that the South isn't afraid to turn up the heat. Southerners are always happy to add some paprika to a classic spicy fried chicken recipe (per All Recipes) or sprinkle cayenne pepper in their gumbo (via Little Spice Jar).

In fact, the South loves adding some kick to their food so much that, according to Eat This, Not That, four of the 10 most beloved hot sauces in the U.S. (Texas, Pete of Texas and Louisiana Hot Sauce, Tabasco, and Frank's Red Hot of Louisiana) found their origins in Southern-most states.

But while people in the South love to slather hot sauce on their chicken wings, that's not the only trick they have for upping their foods' spice levels. And anyone whose heat philosophy is the spicier, the better will definitely want to try out this bonafide Southern tradition of a sauce.

Skip the hot sauce and use Southern hot pepper vinegar

According to The Spruce Eats, historically, only the most authentic of soul food restaurants provided its customers with jars of handmade southern hot pepper vinegar. Since soul food is renowned for having a lot of spice (per First We Feast), owners needed to make certain that their patrons were able to add some extra heat to their orders. And we assure you, just a little of this hot sauce alternative went a long way.

Southern hot pepper vinegar is made of jalapeños, red Fresno chiles, banana peppers, white vinegar, and garlic cloves (per Southern Living). If you couldn't tell by its pepper-heavy ingredient list, this Southern delicacy packs some serious heat. According to America's Test Kitchen, tossing the homemade sauce on your burger "​​will shoot you out of bed, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed." So if you're planning on trying out this historic sauce (and maybe even making some Southern black-eyed peas and collard greens to go with it), you better be able to take the heat.