What Makes Louisiana-Style Hot Sauce Unique

Hot sauce certainly knows how to bring the heat. A popular condiment, hot sauce works for any savory dish — depending on how bold you like your food. Spice-lovers swear by the sauce of their choice, making grocery shopping a matter of pepper preference. But whether you go for super spicy or just a little kick, you'll notice a few recurring contenders in the hot sauce aisle. You're bound to come across Tabasco or Frank's RedHot, affectionately known as Louisiana-style hot sauces. Both brands were born and bred in Louisiana. Tabasco originates from Avery Island — a family-owned salt dome that has been lending salt to signature recipes for over 100 years.

According to Tabasco's website, the McIlhenny family has been making hot sauce at the salt mines for five generations. It all began in 1868, when patriarch Edmund McIlhenny started picking tabasco peppers near his Avery Island home via the Alliance for American Manufacturing. Tabasco was the first commercial hot sauce, and the McIlhenny's were the first hot sauce royal family (via CBS News).

While Louisiana has been pivotal for Tabasco's popularity, you don't need to go down south to enjoy it. No matter where or how you take your spice, Louisiana's style surely stands out, thanks to a few key trademarks.

Louisiana-style is flavorful, versatile, and, well, from Louisiana

According to The Chicago Tribune, Tabasco was historically made with only three ingredients: peppers, vinegar, and salt from Avery Island. The brand continues to uphold this formula today. Why mess with a good thing? Some Tabasco sauces also include a fermentation step, per Taste of Home. For context, Sriracha, another key player in the hot sauce realm, is made with that same pepper base, plus garlic and sugar, says Refinery29.

Meanwhile, Frank's RedHot, which is also made in the Louisiana style, similarly relies on those three-star ingredients and a Louisiana origin story. Adam Estilette, one of the founders, worked as a pepper farmer in New Iberia, Louisiana. Alongside Jacob Frank, he devised a simple, distinctive, and fermented hot sauce via New Orleans Magazine.

Louisiana knows what it's doing. Tabasco and Frank's hot sauces also come with various levels of spice, and their mild but tangy versions are great starter sauces if you're hesitant about the heat. You're guaranteed to find a Louisiana-style sauce you can tolerate, whether it's a mild Red Hot or Tabasco's ultra-spicy scorpion sauce.

Or, for a culinary road trip, keep Frank's RedHot near your next batch of Buffalo wings to taste cross-country flavors.