Road Trip with Rachel: The hottest place in the south

Seven on your Side takes a road trip to the Tabasco company's private island in the bayous of Louisiana. According to, the hot sauce market has grown by 150% over the past decade. The pepper sauce industry is burning up the charts, and it all began with Tabasco.

Tabasco Sauce was born on Avery Island, Louisiana in 1868. The island is a salt dome in the bayous of Louisiana. Edmund McIlhenny invented Tabasco after moving to Avery Island after the Civil War.

The family-owned business is responsible for making food go from bland to hot. It's sold in 185 countries across the world. We went to Avery Island to find out what makes that red sauce with a kick so popular. We asked Elias, a "seasoned" vet, who's called the island home his entire life.

"When I was a kid, we had our own little schoolhouse here," Elias Landry said.

"We have generations here," echoed Harold Osborn, McIlhenny Company Vice President.

The generations aren't limited to the McIlhenny's.

"It's part of our DNA whether you're a part of the family who started it, or part of the family that works here, either way," Osborn said.

"You never get rich working for McIlhenny Company, but you make a great living," Landry echoed.

The family broke tradition for a fleeting moment to give us a rare glimpse into how it's made.

The formula is simple: red tabasco mash, vinegar, and salt. The tabasco pepper is pure, and it's thousands of years old without modifications, according to Osborn.

The seeds are harvested and grown on Avery Island, and shipped to Latin America. That's where the seeds become peppers, and then mash. The mash is shipped over to Avery Island, then aged in whiskey barrels for three years like a fine wine.