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Local Connection: Yellowbird Sauce

Having been born in August in Texas, I am well aware of how high the temperatures get around here. I have always spent my birthday in pursuit of cooling down in a chilly pool or movie theater. However some people prefer to chase the heat all the way to the world’s largest gathering of heat-seekers: The Austin Chronicle Hot Sauce Festival. Established in 1990, the event draws as many as 15,000 spectators and more than 350 entries every year. This year The Austin Chronicle Hot Sauce Festival will take place on Sunday, August 24 at Fiesta Gardens on what is sure to be a scorching hot summer day. George Milton, the hot sauce mad scientist behind Yellowbird Sauce, will be there representing what has become the most popular hot sauce at Wheatsville.

Since we started carrying it in spring of 2013, the fanaticism for the sauce has been a force to be reckoned with. People love the well balanced flavors of carrots, garlic, onions, limes and tangerines with a nice kick from spicy habanero peppers. Multiple sriracha shortages and an increased interest in foods made without preservatives, meant that the arrival of Yellowbird in Austin couldn’t be better timed.  With his tireless girlfriend, Erin Link, by his side creating the brand design and managing all the behind the scenes work, Yellowbird George has built the business from the ground up thanks to support from the enthusiastic community of pepper fanatics. After media nods from and Bon Appétit magazine, the Bird enjoyed a new audience eager for a spicy bottle of Texas goodness to be shipped directly around the country.

At Wheatsville, we appreciate the thought and care that George puts into his company and product, despite his extremely full schedule. Several months ago he had to make a tough decision on whether to keep the sauce in plastic bottles but add preservatives for health code reasons or to move to glass bottles and maintain the integrity of the ingredients. Fans were relieved that the formula stayed the same and I have to say, the glass bottles are snazzy! Based on feedback from customers and retailers like us, George recently rolled out a “baby bird” sized 5 oz bottle of sauce to compliment the larger 12 oz size. There are other plans in the works, so keep an eye out for new developments. In the meantime, enjoy the heat if you can and we’ll see you at the Hot Sauce Festival! (I will be at the ice skating rink).

Salty Bird

Recipe by Addie Broyles

1/2 cup kosher salt
5 tsp Yellowbird Sauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, thoroughly mix together salt and hot sauce. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread the salt/hot sauce mixture in a thin layer.
Turn off the heat and place the baking sheet in the oven. Every so often, stir the salt to help break up the clumps. Leave for several hours or overnight. Once the salt is dry, store in an airtight, glass container. Turns a Salty Dog into a Salty Bird— plus the jars of spicy salt make great gifts.