Back in December 2018, I wrote a post bemoaning the discontinuation of Papa Al’s Hot Sauce, which had been locally-made here in Rochester, New York. See that post here. Boy, I loved Papa Al’s sauce and enjoyed it for forty-years. I’ve periodically thought about the sauce, wishing I could once again drive over to Southtown Beverages in Henrietta, New York to pick up a couple of bottles as I used to, but that ship had sailed for good. Or had it?
A few weeks ago, a fellow-blogger came across my post and inquired if I had ever tried to reproduce the sauce and asked for my recipe. Well, that got the old brain neurons firing. Referencing the list of ingredients from my last bottle of Papa Al’s sauce – ketchup, cayenne pepper sauce, water, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, salt, black pepper, and celery powder – I attempted to recreate the sauce by guessing on the ingredient proportions. The initial result? Hmm. Not bad. But there was touch of sweetness present that the original sauce did not have. I assumed that the sweetness came from the regular ketchup. The next day, I went to the grocery and bought a bottle of Heinz low-sugar ketchup. With this second attempt, I also simmered the sauce for one hour to blend the flavors as per our youngest son’s suggestion. He’s also a Papa Al’s Hot Sauce connoisseur and aficionado and we texted back and forth throughout this re-creation experiment. I put the new batch in the fridge overnight for it to “rest,” and sampled it in the morning. Pretty good. I judged the flavor to be around 85% authentic in comparison to the original. I then tinkered with some of the other ingredients (less vinegar, more celery salt) and the flavor of the third batch was in the proximity of 90-95% of that of the original. Excellent. Without any further ado, I present…
Papa Al’s Hot Sauce Recipe
- 1/3 cup low-sugar or non-sugar ketchup
- 1/4 cup Frank’s Red Hot Sauce (cayenne pepper sauce)
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp. vinegar
- 1/2 tsp. celery salt
- 1/4 tsp. black pepper
Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan. Use a whisk to thoroughly dissolve ketchup. Heat on warm for one hour, stirring occasionally. Do not boil. Put in sealed plastic container and cool overnight. Voilà! An extremely close facsimile of Papa Al’s Hot Sauce. Enjoy!
⚠️ WARNING: This Papa Al’s Hot Sauce facsimile has a good degree of spiciness and heat. Keep out of the reach of children, pets, and those with delicate palates.