Some Like It Hot

Welcome to the 27th annual Hot Sauce Festival

Photo by John Anderson

We know, we know. Having a hot sauce festival on one of the hottest days of the year is, well, a little weird. But The Austin Chronicle has always done things its own way. We are proud of our annual shindig, now in its 27th year, and believe that every bit of sweat is worth it. Over the years our little festival has grown to be the largest of its kind. Folks from across the United States have made it an annual tradition to hit up the fest, new Austinites check it off their bucket list, and some contestants have even launched businesses out of it.

Our judges, musicians, and volunteers may have gotten the occasional sunburn, but we've never heard complaints. Our in-house hot sauce team (special events guru Dan Hardick, Marketing Director Sarah Wolf, Marketing Manager Karena Rogers, and Digital Coordinator Tamar Price) and our creative team (Creative Director Jason Stout and graphic designer Zeke Barbaro) may have had to work a few extra hours, but they keep putting the fest on year after year. And the entire Chronicle family – current and former employees – keeps showing up too. We all know we have a good thing going, and we are proud to help Central Texas Food Bank in their mission to end food insecurity.

So, yes, it's a little bit odd to eschew swimming pools and air conditioners on a sweltering summer day. But when it comes to keeping one of Austin's best traditions alive, it's also no sweat.

To prepare for their performance at the Hot Sauce Festival we invited the Tiarra Girls to play a game of "Hot Sauce Russian Roulette" with Sontava Hot Sauce and some taste-bud obliterating sauces. Warning: there were tears.

Sign up for the Chronicle Cooking newsletter

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

If you want to submit a recipe, send it to

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

MORE Austin Chronicle Hot Sauce Festival
It’s About Much More Than Just Hot Sauce
It’s About Much More Than Just Hot Sauce
Welcome to the 29th Annual Hot Sauce Festival

Jessi Cape, Aug. 23, 2019

2019 Hot Sauce Contest & Festival Facts
2019 Hot Sauce Contest & Festival Facts
Everything you need to know to attend the celebration of spice

Aug. 23, 2019

More by Brandon Watson
My Obsession: Therapy With Nineties Supermodels
My Obsession: Therapy With Nineties Supermodels
Escape via the long gay tradition of diva worship

Sept. 15, 2017

Review: Holy Roller
Review: Holy Roller
The personal is edible at Callie Speer’s new hot spot

Sept. 8, 2017

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle