The Untold Truth Of Frank's Red Hot Sauce

Frank's RedHot — do you put that on everything? If so, you're not alone. Frank's website claims it's the top-selling American hot sauce, and Instacart data based on 2019 sales backs this up. What's more, Frank's has its share of celebrity enthusiasts. Talk show host Wendy Williams told The New York Times Magazine that Frank's was her one food obsession, and that she brings a bottle wherever she goes. She admitted, "Frequently, Frank's is the one thing I'll have in my bag."

Comedienne Leslie Jones is also a Frank's fangirl. She appeared in an SNL parody of Naked and Afraid where she chose Frank's RedHot as her one survival item. It did come in handy on several occasions when she attempted to use it to season co-star Peter Dinklage (one of approximately 12 zillion Game of Thrones cast members) prior to eating him. While Frank's is nowhere near one of the hottest sauces out there, it is one of the tastiest, capable of adding zip to just about anything you're eating. Keep this in mind for the next zombie apocalypse, since Frank's should be an essential apart of any self-respecting prepper's hoard.

Frank's RedHot was born on the bayou

Frank's RedHot is a Louisiana-style hot sauce, although it is currently produced in Springfield, Missouri, in the same plant that makes French's mustard. (And on a street named after the later product, 4455 E. Mustard Way, according to Biz 417). It does have roots deep in the bayou, however, as it was first produced in New Iberia, Louisiana, which is not far from the Avery Island birthplace of Tabasco sauce.

Frank's website credits their condiment to two men, Adam Estilette & Jacob Frank, who partnered up in 1918 to produce the spicy sauce. Why the latter man was chosen to lend his name to the resulting product, we don't know for sure, but we're going to guess it had something to do with his name being shorter and easier to spell. The sauce was first bottled in 1920, and supposedly there is only one of the earliest bottles left in existence, although only future archaeologists will know for sure.

Frank's was there at the birth of the Buffalo wing

When the Buffalo wing was first created at the legendary Anchor Bar in Buffalo, New York in the year 1964, Frank's RedHot sauce was said to be a vital part of the original sauce recipe. In fact, while recipes today may include all kinds of add-ins and secret ingredients, the original Buffalo sauce consisted of just two things: melted butter and Frank's.

More recently, however, Frank's RedHot defiled the memory of its Buffalo connection by tweeting out the shocking statement that "Buffalo wings + Ranch = two peas in a pod. #NationalRanchDressingDay." Umm, no. Just no. That probably lost them the keys to the city, since everyone in Buffalo knows that blue cheese is the only acceptable dip for their wings. Twitter users reacted with all the shock and disgust due to such blasphemy, with one typical response being: "This offends me to the point where I may no longer buy your product. Who the h*** uses ranch for wings???"

While Frank's did try to backtrack a few days later, tweeting a proposal that they sponsor a National Blue Cheese Dressing Day (apparently there was no such thing at the time), many members of Team Blue were still unwilling to forgive their egregious use of the "r" word. Nonetheless, Frank's did succeed in getting Blue Cheese Day recognized. According to WKBW, it shall henceforth be celebrated every July 16 until the world is destroyed by a flood of ranch dressing. (Okay, they didn't put in that last part.)

Frank's RedHot made a star of a Canadian great-grandmother

You know that lady, Ethel, who was the first to "put that s***" on everything" in Frank's commercials? In real life, she's a 90-something great-grandma who really isn't all that foul-mouthed. As Jean Hamilton told the Vancouver Sun, she'll unleash the odd cuss word "only in private, and I have to be provoked by something awful happening, like if I dropped a casserole I had just made." While she may not swear like a sailor, she is a pretty tough old bird, having survived cancer (three times, according to British Columbia's Knowledge Network), two marriages ending in divorce, raising two children, and working in jobs ranging from skip tracer to tax assessor to social worker.

As to how she landed her highest-profile gig as a hot sauce pitch person, she was asked at the age of 86 to audition for a commercial, and thought, "At my age I have nothing to lose if I want to be a bit silly and give it a try!" She kept appearing in those commercials until sometime in her 90s, also taking on bit roles in movies and speaking gigs at senior centers. As recently as December of 2018, Hamilton was alive and well and making a generous donation to the North Vancouver City Library (via Facebook). Who knows, maybe Frank's is also the secret to longevity!

There was once a Frank's RedHot donut

Once upon a time, not so very long ago, for a brief, shining moment there existed that rarest of objects — a jelly donut flavored with Frank's RedHot sauce. Does that sound super weird, or does that sound like something you might actually go for? According to Dunkin', creator of the donut, it all started at Super Bowl LIV when somebody on DD's social media team dared somebody at Frank's to try a donut with hot sauce. Evidently the challenge was met, and the Frank's team tweeted that the hot sauce donut was actually quite good, and requested that Dunkin' make it so.

Well, Dunkin' had evidently been planning this stunt ahead of time. Either that, or their R&D team works lightning fast. Within a day they announced that their team had tested over a dozen different flavor combos and found that an apple and raspberry jelly filling worked best for a donut topped with a Frank's RedHot-drizzled glaze. What's more, they had produced enough of these donuts that they were able to give them away for free — just for that one day only — at two locations in Miami. While these extremely limited edition donuts have yet to return, Twitter reactions indicate that the interest levels, should Dunkin' ever offer this donut at its other locations, would be even hotter than the 2,000+ Scovilles of Frank's Xtra Hot (via PepperGeek).