Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Houston BBQ Festival

Update: We recap the first Houston BBQ Festival.

When you think of America's great barbecue towns, you think of Memphis, Kansas City, and Texas's own Lockhart. But if Chris Reid and Michael Fulmer have anything to say about it, Houston will be added to the national short list of great places to enjoy 'Q.

It's not that Houston doesn't have great barbecue. It does. From legendary smokehouses like Thelma's, Burns, and Virgie's to current favorites like Gatlin's and Corkscrew, Houston pitmasters put out some superlative brisket, ribs, sausage, and other smoked meats. What's been lacking has been public perception and visibility, and the Houston Barbecue Festival aims to change that.
J.C. Reid, and a close friend (photo: Paul Sedillo)

To be held March 24, 2013, the Houston Barbecue Festival brings together some of Houston's top barbecue talent in one location. Already on the docket are Blake's, Brook's, Burns, Corkscrew, Gatlin's, Gerardo's, Lennox, Pizzitola's, Ray's, Tin Roof, and Virgie's.  More may be added.

The festival kicks off at 1pm, and runs until 5 at the Bayou City Event Center, 9401 Knight Road. (map). It's near the south end of MetroRail, so those who'd rather not drive have an option.  For the price of an admission ticket attendees can sample tastings from each of the assembled 'Q joints - it may be the greatest assembly of pit talent under one roof that Houston has ever seen.

"You can get great barbecue in Houston, without having to drive to Lockhart." says J.C. Reid, one of the event's organizers. Reid is a food writer and noted expert on Houston barbecue.  In 2011 Reid established the Houston BBQ Project, a comprehensive database of Houston barbecue joints, complete with an interactive map.

Reid and fellow event organizer Michael Fulmer have done their homework. The pair has travelled extensively throughout Texas, sampling barbecue from some of the state's most storied pits. In their travels closer to home, they discovered some excellent barbecue in Houston, and thus the impetus for the festival was born.

Tickets are available online, and will not be sold at the door.  Admission is $40, which includes tasting portions from all participants. VIP tickets are available for $80, which include one hour early admission, drink tickets, and a swag bag including an event t-shirt.

When:
March 24, 2013 1pm - 5pm

Where:
Bayou City Event Center, 9401 Knight Road (map)