The Original Dinerant, Portland, OR
Handsome’s Hot Sauce Blog
By now if you’re following The Original, dined with us at any meal period or even seen our feature on Food Network’s “Diners Drive-Ins and Dives” you’ll know that Chef A.J. and his crew are not afraid to bring big, bold flavors to the menu and dining room. But what you might not know is that our Chef finds creative and delicious ways to marry dishes and ingredients from our classic menu in ways that are far less traditional.
The story behind “Handsome’s Hot Sauce” starts with the title – we’re a family at The Original so a little teasing and nicknaming goes a long way behind the scenes. When Chris Scott (who loves nicknames) found out that everyone called Chef A.J. “Guapo” he in turn started calling him “Handsome” – and the name and sauce was born.
After meeting with Chef A.J. we learned more about the concept of the sauce and the truly unique agin process that makes it so special. “I came up with the recipe after making a small batch to go into our barrels in which we age our Manhattan [cocktail]. After a few rounds of Manhattans being in the barrels, we received new ones and decided to change to the new barrels. What to do with the older ones? We made hot sauce and barrel aged it for 6 more months. Once we pull the sauce from the barrels we age tequila in them to make our Handsome’s Super Spicy Tequila. This was awesome but on a small scale…we only had 4 liters total. We had a Sage Restaurant Group field trip to Bull Run Distillery in NW Portland and at the end asked if we could get a bourbon barrel from them. They were more than happy to oblige and the next thing you know, we were making 35 gallons of Handsome’s Hot Sauce which we aged for a year in the barrel.”
“We blend the chiles with the garlic and add salt to the percentage of salinity that we need. We throw the whole mash into our Bull Run Distillery Barrel and let it go. We allow it to ferment and age in the barrel.”
You can see how the process from our barrel aged Manhattan, to the hot sauce, to our spicy infused Tequila makes this program unique and special and one of the things we take a lot of pride in is the simplicity and transparency of our house made products. The recipe couldn’t be simpler and like any good condiment it’s all about the ingredients: red fresno chiles, habanero chiles, garlic and salt.
Between the moderate heat from the year-long aging process and the bright flavor of the sauce Handsome’s is versatile enough to use on so many dishes – classic egg dishes, our signature Poutines, Bloody Mary’s, our house made chili and Oregon Razor Clam Chowder – but above all we like it on our smoked Chicken wings or paired with mignonette for our Pacific Oysters on the half shell. Join us soon at The Original and see how many delicious dishes you can pair with Handsome’s Hot Sauce – we’re pretty confident it will become your local favorite too.