Sunday, April 15, 2018

6th Annual Houston BBQ Festival

sampled 4/15/18
I am 6 for 6 at the Houston BBQ Festival and it seems to get better every year.  Scott skipped again this year but Mrs O. came along for the road trip and the pig-out.
We arrived about 45 minutes early at the new venue, The Humble Civic Center, and found ourselves  a ways back in the VIP Line.  It was a little cool this year with temps in the upper 40's to lower 50s and a stiff North wind.  It was so windy they waited til the last minute to put up the banners on the entrance.
As noon approached the VIP line snaked back through the parking lot.  They let us in about 5 minutes early and we were off to the BBQ races.
They were set up with 15 joints in tents outside and another 12 joints inside the roofed, but open-sided, area of the civic center.
We managed to get through almost all of the joints in the magic VIP hour and I grabbed my last 3 just as they opened the gates to the general admission hordes.
Once the masses descended it was time to finish off those last few bites then wander around for a few photos.
The new venue was wonderful and a big improvement over the NRG stadium parking lot.  First off, no $10 charge to park!  Yay!  There was a good layout, parking was easy, the beer lines were not too terrible, and there seemed to be plenty of seating for everyone.  Not to mention that being on the north side we got to totally avoid the Houston core inside 610.  That 30-40 minutes of aggravation was not missed at all.  Kudos to all involved in the venue change.
There was a lot of excellent BBQ to be had and, honestly, we were rushing around so fast trying to get all our samples during the VIP golden hour that I did not have much time to take the notes I usually do.  However I do remember an excellent spare rib from Roegels, mighty fine beef ribs from Louie Mueller and Tin Roof, nice burnt ends from Tejas Chocolate Craftory, a boat full of 3 nice pieces of sausage and brisket from Southside Market, and some yummy sausage, brisket (and root beer) from Blake's.  In the "other" category, sausage kolaches from Jackson Street BBQ, brisket mac and cheese from Fainmous, and banana pudding from Spring Creek all impressed.  I don't think any of the brisket we had was as good as the samples we got the previous week in Fort Worth.  We didn't have any bad brisket, there was good moisture and tenderness in most samples, but not a single bite had the good smoke flavor I'm always looking for.  Maybe the high winds blew it all away!

This remains one of the better events on the BBQ Festival circuit and one everyone should try to experience at least once.  I can tell you the Mrs and I plan on being back again for year 7 in 2019.
As usual I will make a few more posts below with photos of food, booths, and the crowd.  As always you can click on any photo to see a larger view.

6th annual Houston BBQ Festival photos #1


6th annual Houston BBQ Festival, photos #2