Whether you’re part of the “hot sauce on everything” movement, or quarantine has turned you into a home chef, allow us to introduce your new secret weapon: Hoppin Hot Sauce. Born from a love of California cuisine, an early passion for cooking, and a hot sauce recipe turned dinner party hit, John Hoppin decided to bottle and sell his recipe in 2016. An XX hot version followed soon after, and both are in stock and ready for you to try!
Friends is proud to support this disabled-owned business (John has multiple sclerosis) and bring the flavors of his signature sauces to your kitchen. Keep reading for a Q & A with John and the best sheet pan chicken recipe you’ll ever try — confirmed.
Q: How long did it take you to develop your original hot sauce formula?
A: I cooked dinner for my mom and myself starting when I was in fourth grade. I really enjoyed it and I have been cooking and sharing meals with people ever since. I had a simple cookbook for kids and one of the first things I can remember was making tuna salad, and I didn't follow the recipe exactly. I put hot sauce in it, because I liked how it tasted. I have been working with hot peppers ever since, and I started Hoppin Hot Sauce in 2016.
Q: What has been the most rewarding part of watching Hoppin Hot Sauce grow?
A: Before I started making hoppin hot sauce in a professional commercial kitchen, distribution was word-of-mouth and I needed to fill each bottle by hand, using a funnel, and stick on the label. I sold bottle by bottle out of the trunk of my van. It took forever and it was a lot of work. I didn't have money to pay anybody to help me. My mom volunteered to help, which I thought was a terrible idea. I thought I would kill her or go mad! I mean, my mom is great, but come on... but I had to. There were too many bottles to fill on my own.
And then I started working with my Mom. It was challenging, but it taught me a lot about how I want to treat people I work with, and how I want my work to 'be.' We worked every week multiple days a week together side by side. I realize now that my mom is the only person that would do that for me for nothing just to do it. Thanks Mom for your special part in Hoppin Hot Sauce.
Q: If you had to pick a personal favorite: Original or XX Hot?
A: I go back and forth. By the time I am almost done with one bottle, I want the other flavor. I finish that bottle and then I want the first flavor again.
Q: What’s next for the brand?
A: In addition to the sauce, I would like to also make the sauerkraut, the sausage, the mustard and the bun, and I would like to have a hot dog cart in the park.
Hoppin Hot Sauce Sheet Pan Chicken
Bring the game to the table with this weeknight chicken recipe
By John Hoppin
We're all doing weird stuff RN, so things have to be simple but also majorly rewarding, and this chicken dish is both. Mayo doesn't burn easily, and this dish is all about the skin, so don't be afraid to roast the hell out of it. Get your feelings out! You'll need to get a whole chicken cut in ten pieces at the butcher's just like on the Pepper Show. We used a sheet pan lined with a silicone mat to make cleanup easy peasy, but you can use a pyrex dish or whatever you have laying around.
1 big ol' dollop of mayonnaise
1 tablespoon dried oregano
2-1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
cracked black pepper (to taste)
3 tablespoons white vinegar
1/4 cup Hoppin Hot Sauce
1/4 cup neutral tasting oil
1 chicken, cut in ten pieces as described on the Pepper Show
Copious amounts of Hoppin Hot Sauce, for serving
Preheat oven to 350F.
In a bowl, combine mayo, oregano, salt and pepper, vinegar, and Hoppin Hot Sauce. Stir in the oil. Mix it up! Then, add in the chicken pieces, and turn to coat.
Arrange the chicken on the tray in the following order: wings, drumsticks, thighs, and breasts, so that the wings get loaded into the back of the oven and the breasts are at the front. This helps everything cook evenly.
Bake the chicken pieces for 35 minutes, and then turn the oven up to 415 for 15 or 20 minutes. Roast it til the skin is browned and crispy and the clear juices sizzle loudly in the pan. Show no mercy!
Serve with both Original and Extra Hot Hoppin Hot Sauce alongside, so that everyone can choose their own adventure. Enjoy!
Want to learn more about all things peppers and hot sauce? Tune in to the Pepper Show!