This week, San Antonio-based H‑E-B announced the 25 finalists in its Quest for Texas Best contest. The contest, which aims to find the best Texas-made food products, drew nearly 600 submissions in 74 categories ranging from beer and butter to pastries and pickles.
On Aug. 19 and 20, a panel of judges will convene at the Houston Food Bank to interview the makers of the final 25 products. The judges also will evaluate each food item for “quality, marketability and readiness for production.”
The grand prize winner will receive $25,000 in cash and be named an H‑E-B “Texas Best” Primo Pick. Three other cash prizes ranging from $20,000 to $10,000 will be awarded. Prize winners also will have the opportunity to land a spot on the grocery chain’s shelves.
The final 25 products include six made in the Houston area. Local finalists include:
Michael Briggs’ Briggs True line, which includes fiery hot sauces and Cajun rubs.
Deelicious Red Velvet Waffle Batter from Chef DeeDee Coleman, a caterer with her own digital cooking show.
Huerta’s Texas Gumbo, which is husband-and-wife George and Rubie Huerta’s take on a Tex-Mex/Cajun gumbo that has a charro bean base.
Dwayne LeJune’s Armadillo Eggs, which are pieces of barbecue sauce-marinated chicken stuffed in a jalapeño and wrapped in bacon.
Savannah Rose Punch, a tea and citrus blend that Humble caterer Brenda Powell created for weddings and other special events.
Katy’s Sweet Heat Jam Co., which is the creation of 24-year-old Nolan Stilwell, who has Down syndrome.
Other Quest for Texas Best finalists include Crybabies Sweet-N-Sassy Jalapeños; Davis Mountains Nut Co.; Fianco a Fianco; Four Escobars; Frenchie’s Fabulous Nut Co.; Fresh; Frio Farm Artisan Extract; Habibi Gourmet; the Jelly Queens; Jolly Jack’s Hot Sauce; Kristy’s Toffee ‘N Treats; La Nueva Tortilleria; Marigold Bars; MaxFrut; Texas Hot Salt; Texas Toffee Queen; Vela Farms; Walker Honey Farm; and Yardbird Bloody Mary Mix, which was created by singer/songwriter and Houston native Robert Earl Keen.
The Quest for Texas Best contest, which launched on Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 2), is part of a two-year-old project known as H‑E-B Primo Picks. Primo Picks is a label given to specially selected unique or new products found only at H‑E-B.