below) and once again I was forced to break my fast to sample some very good BBQ. Dang it. We hadn't even made it to Austin yet and I already had 5 lbs of smoked meat in the cooler. Some of you are not surprised.
Sunday we met up at Dave's place at 10 am and made it down to the festival in record time. The parking attendants weren't even in place so we got a free spot in the garage. We ended up 7, 8, and 9 in the VIP line a full hour and a half before opening. Like last year, they didn't start processing vip packets til around 11 am so we took turns in line while everyone went and got their wristband and packet.
As usual there was a huge variation of what was served in both quality and quantity. I only sampled 2 joints that were just plain bad. Most was good to excellent quality BBQ. As we do every year, we took a bite or two of each sample, bagged the rest for the cooler, and went on to the next samples. Anything sub par just didn't make it into the bags. Some places gave you tiny little samples. Others would load you up. I swear one place gave me half a pound of meat. The single best piece of meat I had all day was from Pecan Lodge. As I was walking up to the booth the server was saying "That piece may kill somebody". Being a certified BBQ warrior, always in search of death by brisket, I accepted that challenge and did indeed glimpse brisket heaven. Good Lord it was perfect. I had some more good brisket at the fest but nothing else even came close to that.
When the general admission line came in we were sitting near the entrance with lots of meat trying our final samples. We sat there for 15 minutes watching folks stream past us and there was still a long line when we headed back upstairs to finish off our day. It looked like they had almost 3000 general admission folks.
The 4 joints we skipped were Black's, La Barbecue, Snow's, and Franklin. All we have had multiple times before, and will again. We did not leave hungry.
Below are a couple of posts of just booth photos and food photos. As always click on any photo for a larger view.