The Austin Chronicle

Contest & Festival Facts

August 27, 2010, Food

The 20th Annual 'Austin Chronicle' Hot Sauce Festival

Presented by Capital Area Food Bank of Texas

Sunday, Aug. 29


Waterloo Park at 12th and Trinity


The Austin Chronicle Hot Sauce Festival requests that you pay an admission fee in the form of three nonperishable food items to be donated to the Capital Area Food Bank of Texas. Collection sites will be set up at entrances to Waterloo Park.

Capital Area Food Bank's Sizzling Summer Raffle

All proceeds help to feed our hungry friends and neighbors throughout Central Texas!


Free parking will be available in the Capitol Visitors Garage, Garage A, and Garage F.


Food vendors will provide a wide array of foods. This year the following restaurants will be on hand serving up their specialty dishes: Aster's Ethiopian Restaurant, Buffalo Billiards, Curra's Grill, Matt's Famous El Rancho, Santa Rita Tex Mex Cantina, Sun Garden Shaved Ice, and Torchy's Tacos. Chips for the tasting tent will be donated by H-E-B.


Featuring Emcee-for-Life KGSR'S Bryan Beck & live music on the Planet K stage from:

Aftermath, 11am-11:30am

Distant Lights, noon-12:30pm

El Tule, 1-2pm

Uncle Lucius, 2:30-3:30pm

David Garza, 4:00-5:15pm

No dogs. No coolers.


At the heart of The Austin Chronicle Hot Sauce Festival is the contest itself. The blind-tasting competition for individuals, restaurants, and commercial bottlers is conducted by some of the top chefs in the state of Texas. They take hot sauce seriously, and so do most of the people who enter. Several previous winners in the individual category have gone on to start their own hot-sauce companies.

The contest has three levels of competition: individuals (homemade), restaurants, and commercial bottlers. This gives us a good chance to recognize homemade sauces in a class by themselves. It also gives us a chance to consider hot sauces made fresh daily in restaurants apart from those made for grocery store shelves. The categories of hot sauce for each level are designed to leave enough room for a wide variety of styles. In the past, special variety sauces have included fruit salsas, dried-pepper salsas, and even a purple sauce.

Entry and Judging

All entrants: Please bring a disposable container of your best hot sauce to the check-in area in Waterloo Park between 10:30 and 11:30am on Sunday.

Individuals: Please bring 1 pint of hot sauce if you made it at home or 1 quart if you made it in a commercial kitchen.

Restaurants: Please bring 1 quart of hot sauce.

To participate in the Hot Sauce Festival, download the registration form.

Restaurant, commercial, and individual hot sauces that have been made in a commercial kitchen are available for tasting by the public in the main tent in the center of the Waterloo Park grounds. Due to health department regulations, individuals' hot sauces cannot be served to the general ­public unless they were made in a commercial kitchen. (All entries will be judged by our panel of judges regardless of where they were made.)

Our judges pick winners in each of 10 categories.

Homemade red

Homemade green

Homemade special variety

Restaurant red

Restaurant green

Restaurant special variety

Commercial bottler red

Commercial bottler green

Commercial bottler special variety

Commercial bottler pepper sauce

Winners will be announced at 5:15pm from the festival stage.

People's Choice Awards for Commercial Hot Sauces

Commercial hot sauces are available at separate booths around the park (marked by blue numbers on the map).

The public is invited to vote in the commercial categories.

Commercial red sauce

Commercial green sauce

Commercial special variety

Commercial pepper sauce

Voting: The People's Choice voting for the best commercial bottler sauces will take place under the balloting tent (No. 24 on the map) by the Cool Zone (the fan icon on the map).

Vote for your favorites by 4pm. Winners will be announced at 5:15pm.

Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts Demonstration Tent

Head on over to the demonstration tent (No. 11 on the map) and watch local chefs make their specialty hot sauces.

Noon: Chef Charles Mayes, Cafe Josie, special variety

1pm: Chef Margarito Aranda, Sazón, green sauce

2pm: Chef Marisela Godinez, El Mesón, red sauce

Food Vendors

Sample the fare from some of Austin's favorite restaurants, including:

Aster's Ethiopian Restaurant,

Buffalo Billiards,

Curra's Grill,

Matt's Famous El Rancho,

Santa Rita Tex Mex Cantina,

Sun Garden Shaved Ice, and

Torchy's Tacos.

Chips for the tasting tent are donated by H-E-B.

Cold water, lemonade, Sweet Leaf Tea, and beer will be available to cool off overheated palates.

T-Shirts, Caps, Koozies & Cool Ties

Hot Sauce Festival T-shirts will be for sale under the Chronicle tent (No. 49 on the map) for only $10-15 each. We also have festival caps ($15), cool ties ($5), and 20th anniversary koozies ($3).

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