Even though we think Austin is plenty hot, George and Erin of Yellowbird Foods like to make it even hotter with their spicy sauces. We caught up with George to find out why he started making hot sauces, what makes a good sauce, and where they go for fun when not concocting sauces.
Why did you start making hot sauces?
Me and my partner Erin love spicy food but we are also into clean eating. For a while we had a really hard time finding the right condiment that we could put on everything and that wasn't loaded with bad ingredients. So instead of continuing our fruitless search, we started making our own spicy condiments.
What has surprised you about starting your own business?
I've been incredibly surprised by how far a couple of passionate and motivated people can take a simple idea. When we first started selling our sauce in local farmer's markets, we never thought it would be a national brand in a couple of years!
What makes a great hot sauce?
The same thing that makes most things great: balance. It can't be too vinegary or too salty or so hot that you can't taste the flavor nuances. There are a lot of sauces that go great on particular things, but I think a truly great sauce goes great with LOTS of different foods.
Can you share a recipe featuring Yellowbird?
One of my favorites recently is a recipe we published to our blog for Ghost Pepper Fried Cauliflower. It is ridiculously good and a really great vegan substitute for hot wings.
Where is a place in Austin you go to cool off?
Aside from all the regular go-to spots (Barton Springs, Deep Eddy), we live really close to McKinney Falls State Park. We like to bike over there and do a little hiking and there are some awesome little swimming holes to spend the afternoon at.
What local products do you use at home?
What is your go-to non-hot-sauce gift to give?
I'm not much of a gift giver because I am kind of generally anti "stuff". The one gift I like giving is books because knowledge can be one of the most amazing things to pass on to someone. Some of my most frequently gifted books are Siddhartha, How to Win Friends and Influence People, and Eat to Live.
Check out Yellowbird Hot Sauce in our Saucy Austin Gift Batch.