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.

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