According to Ballan, the former Buddakan cook, who also worked as a corporate bank strategist, hot sauces fall into four fundamentals: Chiles, acid, aromatics, and salt.


The most important of the four fundamentals are chiles. What type of chiles do you prefer? According to Ballan, the only way to determine which chiles you prefer is by tasting them. So, you make a trip to the farmers’ market or the grocery store, select a couple of chiles from common serranos and jalapenos to the less common ones and try each one out to determine your preference. When trying out the different types of chiles, you should pay attention to the flavor, and the region where the spice is concentrated—is it spicier at the back of your throat or the tip of your tongue? Once you determine your preference, use them. You can go a little further and smoke or roast your chiles to soften thick skins or experiment with the flavors. This especially works well with green chiles since they usually turn brown when pureed. When you cook chiles, it has the effect of mellowing their heat. If you prefer to experience spiciness in its entirety, you can leave them raw with their seeds and ribs, excluding the hard, bitter stems.


Although you could blend a couple of chiles and call it a sauce, but you should use acid to achieve the best results. Acid is vital for the preservation of ingredients and allows you to draw out flavors from the chiles. This is the second step to creating something that resembles a good pepper sauce. A&B, for instance, uses 5 percent white vinegar, which is quite common for grocery store vinegar and allows them to create the correct PH required for bottling. However, if making a stable shelf sauce is not what you have in mind, and FDA guidelines do not concern you a lot, you can select any of the other kinds of vinegar available to you. Other than vinegar, you can also add citrus juices, but you should never cook these. You can either incorporate them in a raw sauce or towards the end of your preparation to complement the vinegar.


Although some people consider aromatics such as ginger, garlic, onions, and carrots, as optional, they are indispensable to bringing out the A&B flavor in your sauce. Here the key is to cook the aromatics in order to bring out sweetness and texture.


Any sort of cooking cannot be complete without salt. A&B has always used kosher salt since the company started making its unique pepper sauce, but you can choose any salt you prefer.
Although these four fundamentals seem so obvious, it can be quite hard for someone who has never made pepper sauce to think of the process in such an organized manner. There is perhaps a fifth category that Fliman skipped when discussing the four fundamentals, and that is extras. Extras can be anything from spices to oil, but you should tread carefully on this category. If you are not certain about extras, it is best to stick to the four fundamentals outlined by Fliman. The secret behind the success of the A&B American Style pepper sauce is the uniqueness of its flavor and ingredients and the diversity of the sauce.…

Ballan and Fliman do not like it when people refer to their pepper sauce as “hot sauce”. To them, “hot sauce” implies more heat than flavor and makes use of chemicals and extracts to maintain color. Although hot sauce is delicious, the two founders say that their sauce differs from hot sauce in that it brings out the flavors of the ingredients without a gimmick. The two create their small-batch pepper sauces using Fresnos, a lesser but still sufficient amount of scotch bonnets or spicy habaneros, kosher salt, white vinegar, red onions and lots of carrots. They do not use any other ingredients other than the ones listed above. That means that there’s no sugar, no essence, no dyes, or any hard-to-pronounce additives.

Although most of the pepper sauce brands add sugar to their ingredients to balance heat and to add flavor to the sauce, Fliman recommends forgoing the sugar part since chili peppers have an amazing flavor on their own, and you do not need to rely on added sugars. And there are no gimmicks, you can actually taste the sauce in A&B American Style Pepper Sauce, extremely fruity and fresh, almost as if it had just come straight from a home kitchen. It comes as no surprise that many people prefer A&B Pepper Sauce to the Carolina Reapers, Trinidad Scorpions, and mouth-obliterating ghost chiles that dominate the pepper sauce market. (Which to be fair, make good pepper sauce too). In addition to their original pepper sauce, they also make a sauce with garlic, which is a bit thicker, and one with more heat, which has 5 times more habaneros.

To prepare the source, they shred the onions, carrots, and chile, and then heat them up alongside white vinegar while pureeing the sauce by use of an industrial stick blender. After about 1 to 2 hours of very gentle pureeing and simmering, the mixture becomes crimson, smooth, and ready for packaging.

Of course, that’s not as simple as it sounds, many things came into consideration when Ballan and Fliman were developing their formula. Some of the factors they considered when creating the sauce include the type of chiles, how strong the vinegar should be, and how the sauce will be used. Fliman prefers more versatile sauces that have various applications and can be used on eggs, steaks, vinaigrette, and many other types of food. Some of the pepper sauces in the market have niche flavor profiles and only serve specific purposes.

Post written by Alfred Taylor. When he’s not writing about hot sauce, he’s giving advice at the CG website, as well as writing on his personal Medium blog. …

A&B American Style was founded by two life-long friends—Brian Ballan and Ariel Fliman–in New York City. The two came about the idea when they realized that many people around them were making terrible food choices, and they wanted to create products that would allow people to make the most out of their food. Today, A&B American Style pepper sauce has grown to become one of the most loved pepper sauce companies in America. If you are curious about the story behind A&B American Style pepper sauce or would like to learn how to make A&B American Style pepper sauce, this article is for you.

How A&B Started

In 2010, Brian Ballan resigned from his bank job to follow his passion for making great food, while Ariel Fliman quit his job as a lawyer in New York to venture into pepper sauce. Ballan joined Buddakan, in New York City, as a line cook in order to develop his culinary skills. At roughly the same time Ballan got into the cooking career, Ariel Fliman was creating hot pepper sauces and was starting to get really good at it, all while doing it from the comfort of his kitchen. Due to their shared passion for creating delicious food, Brian and Ariel decided to partner up and launch their own unique pepper sauce. Soon after they came to an agreement, they launched their pepper sauce and started marketing it around New York. Since then, they have increased the number of products and flavors they offer and have diversified from their local specialty shops to grocery stores all around America. A&B American sauce became quite successful after it’s launch and was featured in Bon Appetit and Serious Eats.

Ballan and Fliman have been chile pepper lovers for as long as they can remember. As children, the two would often compete to determine who could consume the spiciest pepper, and unsurprisingly they would both lose most of the time. However, the more they participated in the competitions, the more they started to appreciate pepper’s nuanced flavors. When the two became of age, they developed a desire to bring their pepper appreciation to the world, and it was then that A&B American Style Pepper Sauce was born.

According to Ballan and Fliman, when it comes to making a delicious pepper sauce, minimalism is key. Although they only incorporate simple ingredients into their pepper sauce, they do a mighty fine job capturing the chiles’ flavors. A&B American style does a special annual edition of their New York city rooftop pepper sauce. These are named after the fact that the chiles used to make the pepper sauce are actually grown at a rooftop a couple of blocks away from their kitchen. People from around New York City really love this pepper sauce. The most interesting thing about this is that the only difference between this pepper sauce and the original pepper sauce is where the chiles are grown. The fact that the two chiles are grown in different places and in different seasons makes the flavors quite different. You would be surprised at how distinct the two flavors are if you taste them one after the other.…