“When a bearded man offers you the ‘awesome piece’ of meat, just nod your head yes and take it.”
Each year, Texas Monthly invites their top 50 BBQ restaurants to take part in the Texas Monthly BBQ Festival in Austin. This year, I was lucky enough to attend and relish in the sights, smells and sounds of a prime Texas food festival.
BBQ in Texas is a necessity. Whether you’re visiting or are a resident, BBQ should have a place in your life. The going gets tough when you’re looking to hit up a select location – they may run short or you may find yourself in a line for hours before you’re even seated. That’s what makes events like this one so great! You’re given the opportunity to try the best BBQ in the state, all at once and you don’t just get to try one select meat but a variety within the three-to-four hours of the event. Put your stretchy pants on! The plus side for me, I didn’t have to wait in a line for a BBQ joint that was hours from me to try one select dish, I had them all at my fingertips!
This year I attended the event with my friend Jeanette. We were hungry and ready for good beer and great food. We walked in and were immediately surrounded by grills, smokers, food lovin’ folks and great music. Ah – Paradise. We grabbed a beer, crossed the venues off where we had been and picked a line. We chose a good way to spend the day!
Honestly, the three hours that we were there didn’t really allot of a lot of time to try each sampling (per the course we took). It did provide for a great time to listen to what others were praising, watching chef’s peruse around and talk up their BBQ and most of all, savor the sampling that was currently in our hands. Our faux pas was getting in line for Franklin’s. Holy line. A line that lasted about an hour of our precious time. Depending on how you look at it, it was a really wise choice or poorly made.
– We got to try an array of the meat.
– Even wiser, watching the guys serve the food wasn’t bad on the eyes. (Have I mentioned I’m a fan of beards?)
– In the grand scheme of things, considering I live in North Texas, it’s better than driving down to Austin and spending my entire day in line to eat at the actual location (my personal opinion).
Poor: We stood in line for an hour and missed out on other great BBQ.
You’re going to want to bring the best of friends to this one!
To The Good Stuff – The Food!!
Being a fan of BBQ, it’s always pretty exciting to drive out and try one location then check out another but to have them next to each other is an even bigger treat. You’ll immediately notice differences in seasonings, tenderness, bark, sauces. You’ll find yourself in the nitty gritty details.
Stanley’s: Oh the brisket. So delicious and moist. The bark was, well, I can’t talk about it. The cravings will start again. Smoked goodness. Highly recommend the drive out to this one! The ribs were great too, a great peppery taste but not over the top. Just – right!
Louie Mueller: Beef ribs. Oh those damn beef ribs! I’m pretty sure I could’ve just sat and ate all day at this one. They won me over! The thick dry rub was perfect,. Love the bark!. To top it off, we got lamb. Big ole pieces of lamb. Extra special and unexpected little treat right there!
Is your mouth watering a bit?!
Franklin’s: When a bearded man offers you the “awesome piece” of meat, take it. I got offered the end piece of turkey. Greatest.Opportunity.Ever. Both for the beard and for the food. Just kidding… sort of. Not typically a big turkey fan, the “awesome piece” of meat was in fact… awesome. Loaded with seasonings, tender, makes your belly happy, happy, happy.
And the pulled pork… two thumbs up boys!
My Wish List:
– Billy’s Oak Acres needs to be added to this event. Even the best of the best have some North Texas Competition coming! Come on Texas Monthly!
– I wanted to meet Tootsie from Snow’s in the worst way. She’s adorable, is she not? I couldn’t meet her without trying her product. Snow’s has moved to the top of my list!
Love these trucks!
– Best shirts around (I just want them to add ‘beards’ underneath ‘Wood Fire Meat Beer’.)! I should’ve got one but again, I missed out. Can’t get a shirt if I didn’t try the BBQ! I did love their truck though. They made major points with this little lady!
A Few Take-aways:
– Go with a plan! You probably won’t be able to try all of them but be picky. Do you want to wait in line for an hour to try one famous venue or try 20 (much shorter lines).
– Get to the event early. Beware, there’s a line to get your wristband to walk in (even if you’ve already printed your tickets). This cuts down your eating time.
– Be ready to be blown away. You’ll be overwhelmed if you’re not prepared. You learn a lot your first time there.
– Go with a partner. You can split up and cover more ground. We saw everyone doing it… maybe that’s ok?
– If you’re not from Texas… This is an event for you. A little pricier than just hitting up the actual restaurant and you’ll miss out on the characteristics of the locale but you’ll get what you’re really there for, brisket, ribs, sausage. You may even got lucky and get something a little extra, like lamb.
– Beards. They’re attractive. They’re everywhere. Enjoy them.