Sunday, November 1, 2015

Texas Monthly BBQ Fest 2015

sampled 11/1/15
Well we survived another one and have meat left over to enjoy later.  My buddies Dave in Austin and Scott were along for the party.  Another fun time with beautiful weather and a whole bunch of crazy carnivores.  As usual we sprung for VIP tickets and found the cost well worth the 1 hour jump we got on the general admission folks.  Well, almost 1 hour. They let the VIP folks in a few minutes late and they started letting in the general admission folks about 5 minutes early.  Fortunately, we had completed our meaty quest of sampling all the BBQ during the magic hour, and all we had left to do was sample some desserts, visit some of the merch booths, snap a few more pictures and vamoose.  We hit the exit door about 1:30 just before our meat coma could set in.
We arrived at our usual time of about 10:40 and were surprised to find them already doing check-ins and about 50 folks in line ahead of us.  Either the number of BBQ hardcore is growing or some folks forgot to set their clocks back and got there real early.  No t-shirt coupon this year but happily 2 drink coupons were still included with VIP entry.  After checking in we settled into line for an hour plus wait for the noon VIP entry.
Finally they let us in a few minutes after noon and as usual we made a beeline upstairs.  I think 2/3 of the VIPs turned right downstairs and immediately formed a long line at the Franklin BBQ booth.  Just as we planned.  The first 45 minutes or so were pretty easy pickens with mostly very short or no line at all for the booths upstairs.  Thanks to all those folks waiting for Aaron's meat.

We split up early and wandered around grabbing 3 or 4 samples at a time, tasting everything, then slipping leftovers into big ziploc bags for later.  It was all pretty good food and very little escaped either our bellies or our ziplocs.  The sample size varied greatly with the most generous being Louie Mueller's who needed two boats for their beef rib, sausage, lamb popsicle, and brisket samples.
At a little before 1 pm, the hordes of general admission folks began filing in and I watched as their line snaked around for more then 30 minutes until they were all inside.  By that time the line for Franklin had wrapped around the lower level almost to the parking structure.  Yes, I think his food is well worth the line and the wait, but there were a lot of other good spots to sample as well.  Aaron was in his booth slicing brisket most of the day.  We spent our time sampling everyone else because we already know how good his food is.  Plus Dave had gotten us each a Franklin pre-order brisket a few days before.  Dave is a good man.  :)
Things got very busy after the general admission folks came in and we didn't stay long after.  We did run into Daniel Vaughn, The BBQ snob, and he came over to say howdy even though he was being accosted by everyone in the place.  He has certainly done his part in promoting our favorite food, Texas BBQ!  Thanks Daniel.  See you on the BBQ trail.
I have to say foodwise there were no big surprises.  My usual favorites were still my favorites.  Black's, Pecan Lodge, and Miller's Smokehouse were my overall favorites.  Stiles Switch had a great bite of beef rib, Killens had a nice bite of pork belly, Two Brothers had a tasty rib, and there were many nice bites of sausage.  We left with full bellies and a continuing appreciation of just how good we have it here in Texas.
Two posts of just photos of booths and food are below.  You can click on any photo to see a larger view.

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