The hot condiment of 2013 could be barrel-aged hot sauce, according to an article in Smithsonian Magazine. The process originated nearly 145 years ago, when pepper seeds from Mexico and Central America took root in Avery Island, a salt dome in Louisiana. There, Edmund McIlhenny watched the red peppers grow, starting out green in infancy, then turning yellow, orange and finally deep red and ready for picking. He mashed them and mixed in salt from the island’s underground mines. Then, he dumped the mixture into white oak barrels, where it aged for three years, slowly fermenting. Tabasco red pepper sauce was born. In 2009, a former chef at Vesta Dipping Grill in Denver purchased an eight-gallon charred whiskey oak barrel to add some smoky flavor to the restaurant’s house-made sauces. The first iteration, dubbed Hudson Barrel Hot Sauce, became a Louisiana-style sauce made with red Fresno chiles and habaneros, onion, garlic, salt and vinegar. Full Story