Saturday, May 14, 2016

Red Dirt BBQ Fest, Tyler, 5/14/16

Sampled 5/14/16
This was the third annual fest at the downtown square in Tyler, Texas and I think Scott and I agree this is our favorite festival every year.  The laid back small town atmosphere, easy free parking, and the great BBQ participants make this fest a must for us.  We are 3 for 3.  This year my Mrs joined us for her first ever BBQ fest and she had a great time, too.  As usual I fasted the previous day in anticipation of the meat frenzy on Saturday.

We purchased the VIP tickets, as always, and they were well worth the extra cost.  We arrived about an hour early and had a quick check-in at the VIP tent then waited in the shade until about 10 til 2.  There was kind of a scrum at first, then Chase got us organized into two lines and opened the gates about 5 minutes early.
Once inside we headed for the back side and had little or no line for the first 8 joints we hit.  The one thing we did different this year was to bring along some flat boxes to load sample boats into.  I have wanted to do this for several years but finally managed to remember the idea before we were 50 miles out of town!  It worked out great.  I love Murphy's Irish Stout and consume it by the case so I have lots of case boxes laying around.  They worked great and I will have no problem making more of those available.
Depending on the size of the sample boat, we were easily able to gather 7 or 8 samples at a time.
We stuck by our standard procedure of taking a bite or two of everything, then bagging anything left over.  If you study the photos above, you can see that's a whole lot of food.  By sampling just a bite or two from every booth, we left with full bellies, but not miserable.  The leftovers of our samples amounted to several pounds of ribs, sausage, and brisket.  We will eat well the next week or so from the fridge.
The food was universally excellent.  I had one rib and one piece of brisket that was a bit tough, but all the rest was tasty and tender.  Highlights for me were the pork belly from Heim BBQ, jalapeno sausage from Louie Mueller, jalapeno cheese sausage from Hutchin's, tri-tip from Miller's, brisket from Black's, and a prime rib bone Jill gave me from Lockhart Smokehouse.  There were a few bites left on it and it was mighty tasty even if it did make me look like Fred Flinstone!  Yabba dabba do!
We managed to get through all 20 joints during the VIP "golden hour".

Once again this year the line to get beer tickets and a beer wristband got stupid once the general admission folks came in.  That's the only issue I saw at this whole fest.  Seems to me they could pre-check folks for beer IDs and issue those wristbands to folks waiting to get in and cut that long wait down a lot.  I know it would be really easy to do for the VIPs and I don't know why they couldn't go down the line waiting for entry and get it done before they come in.  That general admission beer line (below) stretched clear across the square and looked like a TSA operation.
As VIP ticket purchasers we didn't have to wait in the line above and put our coupons to good use.  A cold Shiner goes mighty good with a tummy full of smoked meat, as evidenced by the cans between Scott and my Mrs.
Our friends from Meat Fight! were there and seemed to be doing a good business selling meaty swag to benefit the fight against MS.  Yay Meat Fight!
We'll be back to Tyler next year for sure!  Looking forward to being 4 for 4.

I'll add a few photos of the meats and the booths in posts below.  As always, click on any photo for a larger view.

No comments:

Post a Comment