There was a post last year about making your own fermented hot sauce and I fell in love with the idea first, then the hot sauce second. I think I have perfected the method and wanted to share with ya'll.
I've experimented with a few different pepper and pepper blends. When my garden peppers ran out I went with a blend of store bought jalepenos and habeneros. I've used red and yellow cayenne, some hot long red peppers my dad gave me (not sure what type they are), habenero, jalepenos and a few other varieties. I have never been disappointed though some were better than others.
The key is to smoke the peppers on a "coolish" smoker. I basically start up the smoker with about 1/2 the amount of coals as usual and cover with soaked hickory chunks and fill the water pan with cold water. vent the smoker well and leave the peppers on for as long as you can, even over night. If some of the peppers become black, that's ok. It will make for a prettier sauce and enhances the flavor. The peppers should smell nice and smoky and some may be a little softer, and a few may be burnt but don't get the heat so hot that the peppers all become cooked.
After peppers are smoked, cut the stems add them to blender with a little salt water. the amount of salt and water will be up to you and the consistency and the amount of peppers. I just go by ear, probably about 2-3 tsp salt per cup of water per quart of peppers. Sometimes I will de-vein and de-seed if I want a milder sauce. You can add garlic or other spices as well.
After blended pour into jar and add a tsp or two of a good yogurt culture. You will see obvious signs of fermentation in 2 or 3 days. Make sure your "fermentor" is at least twice the volume of the pepper amount because during fermentation peppers sauce will nearly double in volume. It will get nice and bubbly and start to smell tart and smoky. I like to stir daily during fermentation as it seems like this inhibits mold and helps with fermentation. Make sure you have a rubber spatula to scrape spoon or you will lose a lot of sauce. Don't tighten lid or jar may explode. I just leave my lid on loosely.
Fermentation will last 7-14 days and the peppers sauce will gradually fall back down to its original volume. using the yogurt culture I never get mold, but if you do just scrape it off.
You can then add the pepper sauce back into the blender and add an equal amount of a nice red wine vinegar (or whatever you want) and blend until consistency is smooth. Refrigerate and enjoy.
This makes the best hot sauce I have ever tasted by far and you can use whatever hot peppers you want. I really enjoy having two or three different sauces going at any time. You won't ever want to go back to store bought hot sauce ever again.