Some Like It Hot

25th Hot Sauce Festival brings the crowds


Photo by John Anderson

Now that the 25th annual Austin Chronicle Hot Sauce Festival Contest is in the record books, we can say with pride that the crazy-hottest party of the year is still going strong as it clears its first quarter-century. Over 10,000 people packed Fiesta Gardens to revel in hot weather, hotter salsas, and the coolest music River City has to offer, all washed down with ice cold beer. The party generated $14,054.06 in cash and our guests donated 9,768 pounds of food for our partners at the Capital Area Food Bank of Texas, which translates to 8,140 meals for needy Central Texas families as kids start back to school.

The festival still attracts competitors from new restaurants, commercial bottlers, and individual hot sauce fanatics every year, but careful reading of the results reveals that there are contestants in every category who develop winning formulas year after year. For instance, Las Lomas, Tacodeli, and Sazón are now eligible for the Hall of Flame, while the Hand Helds gourmet-slider food truck, Gourmet Gals Catering, and Fixe and Trevino's restaurants all scored well with their first entries. Aztexan was back in the winner's circle this year, Kala's Kuisine remains a favorite with fans and judges alike, and Yellowbird continues a strong performance in its second year as a commercial bottler. Meanwhile, commercial bottlers Grinders, Castaway, Trezaratti's Fusion, and Texas Triangle Grove made impressive debuts. And if the results this year confirm anything, it's that ghost peppers are here to stay. We say keep bringing the heat for another 25 years, and we'll keep bringing the party to you!



25th Annual Austin Chronicle Hot Sauce Festival Contest Results

Judges' Choice:

RESTAURANT RED
First Place: Las Lomas Tex Mex Cantina
Second Place: Tacodeli
Third Place: Serranos
Honorable Mention: Fixe, Don Pablo's

RESTAURANT GREEN
First Place: Tacodeli
Second Place: Mariachis de Jalisco
Third Place: Sazón
Honorable Mention: Curra's, Las Lomas, Chucho's

RESTAURANT SPECIAL VARIETY
First Place: Gourmet Gals Catering
Second Place: Brick Oven
Third Place: Hand Helds
Honorable Mention: Serranos, Curra's, Tacodeli, Trevino's


Commercial Bottlers winner Grinders (Photo by John Anderson)

COMMERCIAL BOTTLER RED
First Place: Grinders Signature Hot Sauces – Molten
Second Place: Jaime's Spanish Village – Hot Red Salsa
Third Place: Yellowbird Sauce – Yellowbird Jalapeño
Honorable Mention: High Octane – Tire Smokin' Salsa Hot; Hair of the Dog – Home Grown Original; Hair of the Dog – Home Grown Habanero

COMMERCIAL BOTTLER GREEN
First Place: Cin Chili – Spice O' Life Jalapeño Hot Sauce
Second Place: High Octane – Green Machine Hatch
Third Place: Mikey V's – Fresh Green Salsa
Honorable Mention: Big Daddy's – Amplified Heat; Texas-Texas – Verdelicious

COMMERCIAL BOTTLER SPECIAL VARIETY
First Place: Stellar Gourmet Foods – King Calaverde
Second Place: Grinders Signature Hot Sauces – Near Death
Third Place: Kala's Kuisine – Ledho-Achar
Honorable Mention: High Octane – Anubis' Chariot; Kala's Kuisine – Chutney Salsa

COMMERCIAL BOTTLER PEPPER SAUCE
First Place: Mikey V's – Sweet Ghost Pepper Sauce
Second Place: Tears of Joy – Tony Foresta's Liquid Arson
Third Place: Castaway Sauce Co. – Blackbeard's Revenge
Honorable Mention: Aztexan – Habanero Supreme; High Octane – Hybrid Green Pepper Sauce

COMMERCIAL BOTTLER SUPER HOT SAUCE
First Place: Grinders Signature Hot Sauces – Death Nectar

INDIVIDUAL RED
First Place: Diana Martinez
Second Place: Jennifer Boulware
Third Place: Cameron Ruse
Honorable Mention: Bud Spaar, Leigh Schmidt, Tony Lopez, Ray Martinez, Anders Dowd

INDIVIDUAL GREEN
First Place: The Solano Twins
Second Place: Bud Spaar
Third Place: Chris Cooper
Honorable Mention: Doraelia Brackin, Kevin McAulifle, Bella Kirchner, Ray Martinez, Tyler Ruse, Lucia Padron Champion, Bryan Strempel

INDIVIDUAL SPECIAL VARIETY
First Place: Pierre Auxila
Second Place: Valery Caselli-Dubov
Third Place: Shannon Miller
Honorable Mention: Vanessa Brightman, Mohammed Hassan, Evan Looper, Bidi Benson, Alex Hawkins, David Weaver, Barbara Cato-Lakhan


People's Choice Red Sauce winner Mom's Family Kitchen (Photo by John Anderson)

People's Choice:

COMMERCIAL RED
First Place: Mom's Family Kitchen – Spicy
Second Place: Mikey V's – Original Red
Third Place: Trezaratti's Fusion – Sofrito

COMMERCIAL GREEN
First Place: Yellowbird Sauce – Yellowbird Serrano
Second Place: Mikey V's – Fresh Green Salsa
Third Place: Tie: Tears of Joy – 6th Street Green; Damn Good Heat – Habanero Verde

COMMERCIAL SPECIAL VARIETY
First Place: Gypsy Grove – Spicy Chimichurri
Second Place: Bravado Spice – Pineapple & Habanero
Third Place: Texas Triangle Grove – Evil Cowboy Smokin' Ghost

COMMERCIAL PEPPER SAUCE
First Place: Aztexan – Habanero Supreme
Second Place: Mikey V's – Sweet Ghost Pepper Sauce
Third Place: Bravado Spice – Ghost Pepper & Blueberry

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