Posted August 22, 2005 by Nick Lindauer in Hot Events

Austin Chronicle’s Hot Sauce Festival

The only thing hotter than Austin in August is the Austin Chronicle’s Hot Sauce Festival.

The festival has been attracting capsaicin connoisseurs to Waterloo Park for the past 15 years.

News 8 Austin’s Todd Boatwright spoke with Erin Collier from the Austin Chronicle and Jill Lewis from Austin Slow Burn.

Erin, tell us what we can expect.

Collier: What to expect? One of the hottest days of the year, about 300 gallons of salsa, 650 pounds of chips and about 15,000 people trying free salsa all day long at Waterloo Park. It benefits the Capital Area Food Bank. We just ask people to bring two canned goods (or any non-perishable food item.) That’s good enough to get them in the door to hear great music.

Q: Now Jill, you’re going to show us how to make salsa.
Lewis: Salsa is extremely easy. It’s all about what you like, so you’ve just got to know your ingredients – know your chilies, fruits, vegetables, if you like your tomatoes roasted or your garlic roasted or fresh. It’s all about you and what you like.

Q: I love stuff that’s sweet and roasted.

Lewis: Then let’s start off with a little roasted tomato and some roasted tomatillo. Tomatillos have a citrusy flavor, but it also has a natural pectin in it, so it thickens sauce to stick to your chips. Now do you want mango or pineapple?

Q: Mango. Are we going to enter this?

Collier: Well, Jill and Kevin of Austin Slow Burn enter every year. There’s different levels of competition – restaurant, individual and commercial bottlers. So you could enter this as an individual. Over 300 people entered as individuals last year. It was just an incredible turnout.

Lewis: Along with a shiny trophy, you get the bragging rights of Austin. [I’ve never won first prize.] I’ve been doing this for 15 years, and I come in second and third, but do I win first in Austin? (Laughs.)

HSB also ran another post on the Austin Chronicle Hot Sauce Festival with more specific info for those that would like to attend.

Nick Lindauer

The Original Hot Sauce Blog