Hot-sauce fans tend to split into one of two categories — those who boldly embrace the heat (no matter the consequences) versus others who crave just a hint of fire (to avoid torching their taste buds).
Puyallup entrepreneur Matt Avila has perfected three hot sauces that aim to please both camps — his recipes are packed with plenty of peppery heat, but his creative combination of complementary ingredients ensures that his Avila Gorilla Hot Sauces offer a pleasing, unexpected flavor profile.
His Honey Chipotle Hot Sauce turns up the temperature for dishes like ribs or wings, and the Apple Blackberry is terrific on tacos, seafood, or burgers. But we also heeded Avila’s advice and combined his sauces with Greek yogurt to create a delicious dip for veggies. Drizzle some over cream cheese to serve with crackers, or blend it with balsamic vinegar and olive oil for a bold salad dressing.
When asked about his favorite outside-the-box use for his Pineapple Mango Hot Sauce, Avila laughed. “Believe it or not, I use it with anything sweet, like donuts and scones. Or I drizzle it on eggs, and I make a great Bloody Mary with it, too.”
The youngest of six children, Avila honed his culinary talents as the family’s short-order breakfast cook as far back as he can remember. “I always liked cooking but couldn’t find a hot sauce that I wanted to accompany wings or ribs. I didn’t want extreme heat, because it would be used with different dishes. So I fermented my own peppers, cooking them down. My goal was to go flavor-forward, as opposed to a vinegar-forward sauce, like you find so often. Making a craft hot sauce is like brewing a craft beer — you take all these eclectic flavors and combine them to see what works.”
Avila sources the ingredients here in the Pacific Northwest, and bottles of his sauces are sold all over Tacoma — find them at Puyallup’s Red Barn Market, Yelm’s Farmers Market, QFC, Metropolitan Markets, Tacoma Boys, Blue Max Meats, and more. avilagorilla.com