Friday, October 20, 2017

Blues, Bandits, and BBQ coming November 18th

Tasting tickets available soon.  This is a fun event with lots of tasty BBQ.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Houston vs Austin BBQ throwdown, December 3rd

Since the folks at the Houston BBQ Fest can't seem to get enough BBQ, they've come up with a new event for this December.  This is an Austin vs Houston BBQ throwdown which so far includes 4 restaurants from Austin and 6 from Houston. 

Sunday, October 8, 2017

5th Annual Pitmaster's Picnic, Dallas

Sampled 10/8/17
We have missed the Pitmaster's Picnic the last couple of years, but this year Scott grabbed us some VIP tickets.  This event grows a little every year and benefits a great cause, Cafe Momentum.  Learn more about Cafe Momentum here:

This year the event featured 13 pitmasters from as far away as Oregon and New York, but we were mainly interested in the excellent list of Texas joints appearing.   The venue was the parking lot behind the Granada Theater on Greenville Avenue.  Parking is ALWAYS an issue in that area so I met Scott at his place and we car-pooled down.  We showed up about an hour early and stood around talking BBQ til the VIP gates opened at 12:30.

Inside we found several of the booths were not ready.  They had some power issues just before opening and that threw some folks off.  I managed to scoop up samples from 10 joints with plans to catch up the last three on round two.  We managed to find a shady table in the VIP area and dug into our first samples.  Surprisingly, we even had a guy come up and offer to buy our beer box trays.  That was a first!
After the first round we went back and got some samples from the 3 who were not ready when we first went in.  Then we sat around and drank some cold Shiners while the general admission folks streamed in.  The VIP area had a dedicated bar where we could cash in our two drink coupons.  The 30 minutes lead time for the VIPs proved to be just enough.  While we were rehydrating, Chad started the music stage and the first band included pitmaster Nick Pencis on drums.  No, he did not play drums with a rib bone, but he should have.   Hey, it's a BBQ festival!
After we downed our Shiners and let the meat settle for a bit, we wandered around and took some photos of the crowd, booths, and meats.  This fest is a little smaller than Smoked Dallas, but the meats were just as tasty.
As at all of these fests, there was a wide variety of portions sizes and servings.  I thought the brisket from Hutchins smoked all the competition while the ribs from Stanley's Famous were the best.  There were a lot of specialty items and most of them were excellent.  Heim's served their famous bacon burnt ends which are basically small cubes of candied pork belly.  I could sit and make a meal of just those.  Louie Mueller's had their awesome lamb sicles, Cattle-Ack had their "Que-T Pie" brisket empanadas, 18th and Vine had lamb ribs, Peg Leg Porker had dry rub baby backs, and Riverport had pulled pork sliders.  No one could complain about just brisket, ribs, and sausage at this festival.  One item that didn't work for me was the pastrami "spam" sandwiches offered by Hometown BBQ from Brooklyn, NY.  They took their house made pastrami, ground it up, then fried it on a grill and added cheese and mustard.  It sounded like a good idea, but it just wasn't BBQ to me.  A for effort, though.
Bodacious BBQ had boudin, sausage, plus some chocolate covered beef belly toffee bars.
Hard Eight had 3 different brush poppers to choose from; chicken, chipotle, and shrimp (all were excellent).
Lockhart Smokehouse had some very tender smoked prime rib.
Overall it was just an excellent day of BBQ.  We may have missed the last couple of Pitmaster's Picnics, but I think we will try not to miss any more of them.
If you have been peering at this blog for any amount of time, you might suspect that what follows below are more photos of food and booths.  You would be correct.  Just click on any photo for a larger view.

5th annual Pitmaster's Picnic, booth and food photos part 1

5th Annual Pitmaster's Picnic photos part 2

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Seen at the State Fair of Texas

Is it just me, or does something about injectable great balls of BBQ just seem wrong?

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Smoked Dallas, 9/23/17

We have managed to make all of these and I think this one was the best yet.  The food was pretty awesome and I don't think we had a bad bite.  Scott and Mrs O. seemed to agree.  The weather was a bit steamy and the meat sweats we produced didn't help.

We got to the park about 45 minutes early and were towards the front of the VIP line.  I think we were maybe 10 or 12 back from the front.  They moved us around a couple of times, then they came down the line and checked IDs for the beer wristbands.  About 30 minutes before opening we went into the chutes where they checked bags and issued the VIP wristbands.
By 2 pm there were quite a few VIPs waiting and the lines stretched out behind the chutes.
One of the joints, I believe it was Meat You Anywhere, came down the line with brisket samples while we waited.  Nice!
Finally the magic hour arrived and we were off to the BBQ races.  As always, the trick is to get all your food in the "magic hour" before the general admission hordes come streaming in.  We had brought along our usual disposable beer box trays and quickly filled them with meaty goodness.  We find those much easier to deal with than the big wooden trays some folks bring.  They're also more fun to make!
The 16 joints were arranged in tents down Main Street and split into two groups of 8.  We started out with the furthest group and worked our way back to the front.  Several of the vendors seemed to not be ready for the opening and it took awhile before they had food out.  Rookies, I guess.  Pretty soon everybody was up and running and we retired to the VIP area to grab a beer and check out the first 8 joints.
It all went away pretty quickly and we were back in line to sample the other 8. 
By about 2:40 we had hit all the joints and picked out a few favorites.  We managed to hit those one last time before all the general admission folks made the lines long and slow.  The only one I missed on the third trip was Black's.  They seemed to always have the longest line.  We heard Barrett didn't make the trip because his wife just had a baby.  Congrats to them.
After that it was pretty much sit around and finish our beer, groan about how full we were, and take a few more photos.  In other words, a complete success!
There were a lot of food highlights and plenty of great BBQ to eat.  Four joints had pork ribs and Louie Mueller had their excellent beef ribs.  Some of the more unusual items included smoked rabbit, yummy brisket empanadas (Q T Pies), jalapeno sausage sandwiched between donut halves, and there was even a grilled vegetarian offering. 

This is a nice sized fest with plenty of shady spots to hang out in.  The Trailer Park Olympiks included fun stuff like a bull riding machine, toilet seat toss, and armadillo races. 
Once the general admission hordes came in the party was pretty much over for us.  We skedaddled around 3:30 pm and headed home for a much needed meat coma nap.
I have several more photo sections below.  1 set of meat and crowd scenes and two of booths and food.  As always, click on any photo for a larger view.