If you haven't had the sweet & spicy satisfaction of squeezing some Huy Fong Sriracha onto your chicken wings -- or pasta or ice cream or donuts -- by now, you must live under a hot sauce-impermeable rock. The stuff is awesome, it's almost everywhere, and you should probably stock up on it WHILE YOU CAN. But how did it get in your grocer's aisle? What journey did it take, from chili pepper to green-capped bottle? We're glad you/we asked.
Courtesy of the documentary Sriracha, and upstanding Redditor CoolAsACucumber, we've got these GIFs, which show the chili peppers being harvested by the bucketful in Southern California...
... before getting tumbled through a machine that ejects all the not-delicious stuff. Science!
Next, the peppers are vaulted into trucks, which'll transport them to the Huy Fong factory where dreams/sauce are/is made.
The trucks dump their haul into the factory's bins, where the peppers begin their epic saga of self-transformation. Go peppers!
Check out this awesome spicy pepper vortex. Best vortex ever? Has Miller Lite met its match?
The chilis are then submerged in a huge-ass dunk tank, removing chemicals and dirt and other funky stuff, much in the opposite manner of a normal dunk tank.
Then it's into the grinder, where they're turned into a fine pulp. No fiction!
The resulting bits of chili are ground up and mixed with water...
... and poured into gigantic blue vats that you unfortunately can't buy in bulk.
Then, the rest of Sriracha's signature ingredients -- sugar, garlic, salt, and vinegar -- are added, and the slop is cooked and stirred occasionally and lovingly by the luckiest robot arm ever. Except maybe Johnny Five's arm, because it got to hang glide.
Finally, it's ready for packaging! The ultimate mixture is piped into Huy Fong's über-recognizable rooster-adorned bottle.
Then they all get that green cap we all know and love.
Your Sriracha's ready now! A conveyor belt, uh... conveys them toward a packing station...
... where they're stuffed into boxes and shipped all over the world. In addition to 17oz and 28oz containers, they also have plans to start selling 9oz and 1gal bottles. Get excited, fans of bulk things!
Now it's up to you to figure out how best to use this precious, precious gift. Above are some suggestions, but really, where you apply your cock sauce is totally up to you.
Adam Lapetina is a food/drink staff writer at Thrillist, and wholeheartedly believes that the best things in life are fried. Read his musings on Twitter at @adamlapetina.