Lots of Winners at the Hot Sauce Festival

The 20th annual Hot Sauce Festival judges crowned old and new winners alike

Lots of Winners at the Hot Sauce Festival
Photo by John Anderson

The 20th annual Austin Chronicle Hot Sauce Festival is now one for the history books, and we're pleased that more than 13,000 people shared in this important milestone. A celebration of hot sauce, beer, music, and fun in the sun generated 23,766 pounds of food and $16,845.80 for our partners at the Capital Area Food Bank of Texas to help with this week's rollout of its second mobile food pantry. It was gratifying to see that our contest attracts commercial bottlers from around the world – the crowd was enchanted by the appropriately dressed frontman for Seattle's Zane & Zack's World Famous Honey Co., while the judges lavished some first-place love on the special variety sauce from Redback Chilli Co. of Australia.

This year's prizes went to an interesting mix of new entrants, previous winners, and Hall of Flamers. While it's always good to see new blood in each category, the crowd stuck with established favorites in the people's choice voting, going for Hall of Flamers Austin Slow Burn, Tears of Joy Hot Sauce Shop, and Aztexan Pepper Co., plus hard-charging second-year winners: Logan's Habanero Relish and Ariel Zarate-Carmona's Don't Panic Hispanic Salsa. The celebrity judges were a little more adventurous, handing out awards to newcomers in all three divisions. New restaurant competitors certainly fared well, with Chucho's Mexican Restau­rant (1615 Grand Avenue Pkwy., Pflugerville, 512/252-0708, www.chuchos.net) garnering first place for its green sauce on its first entry, while second-place rankings for the red sauce from the popular Izzoz Tacos and a special variety from Casa Chapala should encourage them to keep trying. After all, look how well that has worked out for Santa Rita Tex Mex Cantina, Las Lomas Tex Mex Cantina, Tacodeli, and El Rincon Mexican Restaurant, not to mention Hall of Flamers Sazón and Curra's Grill. One of the coolest aspects of this contest is that hot sauce lovers can continue to enjoy many of the winning sauces all year long – patronize the winning restaurants and shop for your favorite commercial sauces, and we'll see you again next year!

20th Annual 'Austin Chronicle' Hot Sauce Festival Winners

* denotes first-time winner

# denotes Hall of Flame member

All are from Austin unless otherwise noted.


Red Sauce

1st Place: Santa Rita Tex Mex Cantina*

2nd Place: Izzoz Tacos*

3rd Place: Sazón#

Honorable Mentions: Torchy's Tacos, Las Lomas Tex Mex Cantina, La Reyna Restaurant, Texican Cafe, Aquarelle, Westfall Cafe – Westlake Medical Center, El Rincon Mexican Restaurant (Pflugerville), El Caribe Mexican Restaurant, Aster's Ethiopian Restaurant, Hot Chix Wing Joint

Green Sauce

1st: Chucho's Mexican Restaurant (Pflugerville)*

2nd: El Rincon Mexican Restaurant (Pflugerville)

3rd: Las Lomas Tex Mex Cantina

Honorable Mentions: Sazón, Casa Chapala Mexican Grill & Cantina, Tacodeli, La Condesa

Special Variety

1st: Tacodeli

2nd: Casa Chapala Mexican Grill & Cantina*

3rd: Curra's Grill#

Honorable Mentions: Sazón, Iguana Grill, Torchy's Tacos


Red Sauce

1st: Matt Hudson*

2nd: Steven Rivera*

3rd: Matt Hudson*

Honorable Mentions: Marcus Sillers, Kristin Lobstein, Bud Spaar, John Robinson, Kala Uprety, Cheryl Sipkowski, Scott Nettles, J.B. Larrimer, Patty Tomasco, Kevin Whitton, Deborah Vogt, David Bernard (McKinney), Amy Zeinner, Laura Martinez, Sonya Miller, Carmen Joseph Hasse

Green Sauce

1st: Brian Morrison

2nd: Tom Frist (Florence)

3rd: Sue Sanders*

Honorable Mentions: Laurie Lynch, Arty Passes, Rebecca Cooper, Eddie O'Connor, Hunt Grundy, Paul Whitman & Ozzy Tamez, Stephen Fox, Gary Peifer, Martha Samaniego Calderón

Special Variety

1st: Russell & Mattie Lewis

2nd: Brian Campbell (Cypress, TX)

3rd: Kevin Lewis (owner of Austin Slow Burn)#

Honorable Mentions: Sam Constantino, Patty Tomasco, Shane Pickett, Kim Smith & Alan Goldstein, Marcus Sillers, Vanessa Brightman, Marvin Perez, Martin DeRiso (Towson, Md.), John Cargill (Galveston), Selina Guerra, Melanie Marley (Dripping Springs), Arty Passes, Tony Onzures (Round Rock), Scott D. McIntosh

Commercial Bottlers (Judges)

Red Sauce

1st: Salsa, Texas (Houston)*

2nd: Austin Slow Burn Salsa con Habanero#

3rd: Don't Panic Hispanic Salsa

Honorable Mention: Salsa, Texas (Houston)

Green Sauce:

1st: Kala's Kuisine Mirchi-Masala Salsa#

2nd: Tears of Joy 6th Street Salsa – Green#

Special Variety:

1st: Redback Chilli Co. Chilli Chutney*

2nd: Kala's Kuisine Mango Chutney#

3rd: Texas-Texas Fresh Roma Roasted#

Honorable Mention: Salsa, Texas (Houston)

Pepper Sauce:

1st: Sgt. Pepper's Tropical Tears Mango Ginger Habanero#

2nd: Big Daddy's Ass Burn Hot Sauce (Houston)

3rd: Tony Legner's Cat 5 Hot Sauce (Rockport)*

Honorable Mentions: Tears of Joy August in Austin Hot Sauce, Sgt. Pepper's Chipotle del Sol Smokin' Hot Sauce, Kala's Kuisine Curry Cayenne, Aztexan Habanero Supreme

Commercial Bottlers (People's Choice Awards)

Red Sauce

1st: Don't Panic Hispanic Salsa

2nd: Tears of Joy 6th Street Salsa – Red#

3rd: Austin Slow Burn Salsa con Habanero#

Honorable Mentions: Texas-Texas Habanero Heaven, Kala's Kuisine Curry-Chipotle Salsa, 2 Brothers Chipotle (Richardson)

Green Sauce

1st: Tears of Joy 6th Street Salsa – Green#

2nd: Don't Panic Hispanic Greengo Salsa

3rd: Austin Slow Burn Salsa Verde#

Honorable Mentions: Sgt. Pepper's El Chipotle Roasted Tomatillo

Special Variety

1st: Logan's Habanero Relish

2nd: Tears of Joy Tequila Lime Hot Sauce#

3rd: Austin Slow Burn Green Chile Salsa Fresca#

Honorable Mentions: Texas-Texas Fresh Roma Roasted, Winston's Mango Pepper Sauce, Granddaddy's Sweet Southern Heat (Midland)

Pepper Sauce

1st: Aztexan Habanero Supreme Hot Sauce#

2nd: Tears of Joy August in Austin Hot Sauce#

3rd: Austin Slow Burn Creamy Jalapeño#

Honorable Mention: Kala's Kuisine Curry Cayenne

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