Thursday, May 30, 2019

Candied bacon!!

One of our friends brought this over as an anniversary present.  My oh my.  I need to learn how to make this because I sure can eat it!

Saturday, May 4, 2019

6th Annual Red Dirt BBQ Festival, Tyler 5/4/19

Sampled 5/4/19

Another excellent day of BBQ in downtown Tyler and still one of our favorite BBQ events of the year.  28 joints and so much good food to eat.  As we arrived, we even followed behind Hutchin's smoker driving to our parking spot.  I was more than tempted to run out and snatch a bite at one of the stoplights.  The weather had been iffy all week, but by the time they opened the gates for the VIP ticket holders the sun was starting to peek through the clouds.  How the Tyler Chamber of Commerce arranged that, I have no idea, but kudos!
We arrived a little more than an hour before VIP entry, around 10:50 am, and found ourselves about 20 back in the VIP line.  There were already folks in lawn chairs cueing in the general admission line.  We spent the time visiting with folks and waiting for the fun to begin.
After about 30 minutes, the crew came down the line doing check in, handed out our t-shirt and beer tickets, then followed up with ID checks for beer.  Everything flowed smoothly, as it does every year at this fest.  After we got all our wristbands, I made a reconnoiter around the perimeter to see where Snow's was set up.  This was their first year at Red Dirt and we wanted to hit them at the start.  As VIP entry approached, the VIP line snaked back down the hill and the GA line did the same.
Noon finally arrived and we were off to the BBQ races.  Snow's was set up on the far side of the square so we raced past the first booths to start on the back side.  No Tootsie, but Kerry was slicing and dicing brisket for tacos.  We made the rounds of all the backside joints and about half the booths on Broadway before settling in a tent to begin the noshing.  Here's my first box of goodies.
The chicken fried burnt ends from Meat Church were dynamite as were the ribs from Tyler's.
Pitmaster Nick Pencis from Stanley's was playing drums in the jazz band in the tent.
After we finished our first batch of BBQ, off we went to gather up the rest of the goodies.  Here's the second box full.
The only long line was at Black's, but it was well worth the wait as the cutter rewarded me with a large chunk of burnt end from the fatty side.  Outstanding.  I told him he was my new best friend.
After chowing down on the second batch, I made it around to photograph most of the vendors before the general admission hordes got too bad.  There will be several pages of booth and food photos to follow.
After getting all my snaps, Scott and I went over and visited the craft beer tent.  I am mostly a porter and stout guy, but of course everyone brought IPAs and ales.  My Mrs would have loved it.  I think next year I will drive and let her hit the craft beer tent.  I did get a nice full sample of Lakewood's Temptress.  That was the beer highlight for me.  However I did dig the concept of the Red Dirt beer from True Vine Brewing, even if I was not crazy about the beer.
BBQ highlights were many and varied.  There were a lot of interesting experiments going on.  Some worked and some didn't.  Brisket highlights included Schmidt Family, Truth, Hutchin's, and Opie's along with the aforementioned Black's.
Sausage was plentiful and I didn't have a bad piece of sausage all day.   Opie's, BBQ on the Brazos, Kreuz, and Bodacious had some very nice sausage.  It was all good.
Ribs seemed to make a nice return with baby backs, spare ribs, and St Louis cuts popping up here and there.  Seven or eight different vendors had ribs and there were some good ones. Country Tavern, Miller's, and Stanley's were my favorites along with Tyler's.
Pork belly in various forms was as plentiful as ribs with Meat Church's burnt ends being top of the mark, to my taste.  Pinkertons had some good stuff but the fat was thick and not well rendered.  Fortunately I could just peel the meat off the fat for a scrumptious morsel. 
The experiments were many and varied.  Beef cheek seems to be a thing now and the wildest experiment was a smoked beef cheek meatball.  However the Italian sauce and cheese obscured any possible smoke flavor and just turned it into a pretty good Italian meatball.
Cattleack had some tasty pastrami and Louie Mueller's had their yummy lambsicles.  The chicken fried burnt ends from Meat Church were the hands down winner in the "other" category.  That definitely needs to become a thing.
By 2 pm we were full of BBQ and beer and headed back to DFW.  By that time the line for the music only ticket holders was down the street and around the corner.
It would be interesting to see what would happen if they would split the BBQ and the music event.  I betcha both would sell out and there wouldn't be quite as bad a 10 minute scrum for tickets.  Just an idea.  They have an extremely successful event, sold out 6 years in a row, and I just hope my fingers are quick enough to score tickets for number 7 next year.

Several pages of booth and food photos follow.  If you're not hungry already, looking at those pages will make you hungry.  As always, clicking on any photo will show a larger view.

Red Dirt 2019 booth and food photos part 1


Red Dirt 2019 booth and food photos part 2