“Tacos every day” is an ideal we can all support, but in Austin, Texas, tacos are a legitimate lifestyle. Austin Taco Project, a recent addition to the city’s bustling taco scene, calls its executive chef, Kevin Spencer, a “tacologist,” and even staff are trained to give expert advice on taco and hot sauce pairings to maximize the flavor profile of each dish. A hot sauce caddy sits on every table, containing options from around the world. Think Sriracha from Thailand, Crystal Hot Sauce from Louisiana and Valentina from Mexico, which Spencer proclaims is “the duct tape of food” because it can go on anything. You’ll also find the local Texas staple, Bravado Spice Co.
You don’t need to eat at the restaurant to apply the staff’s pairing tips to your own Taco Tuesday gathering. “A sauce can completely change the taste of any dish, and pairing two flavors together can be magic,” Spencer says—and this is especially true of tacos and their condiments. Here, the chef offers expert tips for creating magical taco and hot sauce combinations with stuff you’ve got in the fridge.
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