Wednesday, August 26, 2015

TMBBQ Behind the Pit Dinner - Snow's BBQ


At the last TMBBQ Behind the Pit Dinner at Franklin Barbecue, I had a fantastic time. It was such a cool and intimate setting to be at. When I saw that they were going to do a dinner at Snow's BBQ, I had to go to it as well. I got on TMBBQ.com at 10 AM the morning the tickets went on sale, but the website said there were none available. Darn. I decided to try back in 7-8 minutes just in case some tickets expired in someone's cart. It did. Bingo. I bought a pair, and the site said sold out right after. I purchased the last two tickets. Sweet.

Where is the electric knife?

I went to Snow's BBQ recently. It was excellent as usual. Here is my "official" review from a couple of years ago. Snow's is only open on Saturdays from the morning until they sellout (probably early afternoon). So getting to eat there on a Tuesday evening was pretty awesome. 44 Farms brought owner/pitmaster Kerry Bexley some beef ribs and briskets to smoke. Karbach Brewery provided the beers. Yeti was also one of the sponsors.


Kerry and Tootsie Tomanetz smoked brisket, pork ribs, beef ribs, original and jalapeño sausage, pork steak, and turkey for the event. Everything was tender and smoky. They served the briskets they usually have and the 44's. The only noticeable difference was that the 44's had a beefier taste. The beef ribs were a nice treat because they were not normally on the menu. They packed a lot of flavor and were rich. I tried the turkey for the first time, and they did not disappoint. Moist and flavorful.

Kerry Bexley & Tootsie Tomanetz
Kerry Bexley, Tootsie Tomanetz, & Daniel Vaughn
After dinner, there was a question and answer session. Kerry and Tootsie talked about the history of barbecue in Lexington and how Snow's got to where they are today. Over the years, people have questioned the use of an electric knife to cut the brisket. Kerry told us that they use one to make it easier on the person cutting, and also that the briskets are smoked so tender that they will break apart when using a standard knife. CNN was also there filming a segment on beef. They had followed Daniel Vaughn throughout the day eating BBQ and a stop at Shake Shack.

Direct Pits
Offset Smokers
Tour of the Pits
If you have not gone to a TMBBQ Behind the Pit Dinner, try your hardest to do so. I think the only other Central Texas BBQ joint they do it at is Louie Mueller Barbecue. I want to try to make it to that dinner the next time around. I have seen Pecan Lodge in Dallas and Killen's Barbecue in Houston host it before. It is a neat experience. You get to hang out with other barbecue lovers, eat great BBQ, and drink a few cold ones. It is relaxing and has a chill vibe to it. Driving back to Austin in a meat coma was totally worth it.


Until next time, happy smoking...

Saturday, August 8, 2015

#MMHBurgerChallenge


Want a $250 gift card for eating six burgers in a week? McGuire Moorman Hospitality is putting on a burger challenge for the month of August. The spots you have to hit are Lamberts Barbecue, Perla's, Elizabeth Street Café, Clark's, Josephine House, and Jeffrey's. You have to eat a burger from the six different places. You receive a $50 gift card to the MMH restaurant of your choice and the MMH Burger Challenge T-Shirt by taking a month long. If you finish in a week, you collect a $250 gift card to the MMH restaurant of your choice and a special MMH Burger Challenge Champion Cap. You can also be a winner by eating the most burgers in a month and win their Friends & Family discount (25% off) at all six MMH restaurants for a year and a cleanse from JuiceLand. I think this route is risky because the return on investment will be marginal. I am all in for the week. Let's do it!

Update: You can only receive a stamp if you pay full price for the burger.


Day 1: Lamberts Downtown Barbecue - $16
I thought it was cruel for them to include a BBQ joint in the burger challenge. I had to eat a burger when I could be eating delicious barbecue? I modified the burger a little and added brisket. The burger itself was tender and solid. The brisket added smoke, salt and a different texture. Good but it took away from the burger. When in a BBQ joint... The burger is also available for half off during happy hour. Of course I got the macaroni and cheese as a side.
Wood Grilled House Ground Cheeseburger - Cheddar, Butter Lettuce, Tomato, Red Onion, Mayo, Dijon Mustard, Sesame Bun
Wood Grilled House Ground Cheeseburger - Cheddar, Butter Lettuce, Tomato, Red Onion, Mayo, Dijon Mustard, Sesame Bun

Day 2: Clark's Oyster Bar - $16
The plan was to eat at Elizabeth Street Café for lunch. I forgot about a long work meeting and missed eating lunch. When the meeting was over, happy hour was about to start at Clark's. I called an audible and took advantage of the half off a burger special. The burger was simple but fantastic. Tasty, juicy, cheesy. Cooked to perfection. Good bread to meat ratio. All for eight bucks? Score. I ordered the burger with coleslaw for a little bit more veggies in my diet. Won't hurt, right?
Pan Roasted Black Angus Hamburger - Sauce Gribiche, Gruyere
Pan Roasted Black Angus Hamburger - Sauce Gribiche, Gruyere

Day 3a: Elizabeth Street Café - $12
Until now, I had never eaten a burger from a Vietnamese restaurant. I did not know what to expect from the "secret burger." The place was packed at lunch so I sat outside. It was hot! The burger was a pleasant surprise. The Asian flavors worked well together with the meat and the bread. There was no cheese on it, but the burger tasted great without it. The shrimp chip was not the imitation stuff you normally would get. Fresh and real.
Secret Brisket Burger - Griddled Ham, Cucumber Kimchi, Iceberg Lettuce, Kewpie Mayo, Sesame Seeded Brioche Bun, Shrimp Chip
Secret Brisket Burger - Griddled Ham, Cucumber Kimchi, Iceberg Lettuce, Kewpie Mayo, Sesame Seeded Brioche Bun, Shrimp Chip

Day 3b: Jeffrey's - $24
Burger double shot on this day. Dave of Brisket and Bagels and I went during happy hour because the burger was half off. The bar area was full so we sat in the dining room. It was like a romantic date... Everyone around us were ordering the burger and/or doing the challenge. When we got our burgers, we actually moved them to a window to get better lightning. Yeah we are those people. Dry-aging Wagyu gives the burger a beefier and nuttier taste to it. The burger was delectable, but at 24 bucks (not during happy hour), it would be hard to swallow.
Dry-Aged Prime Wagyu Burger - Mustard Frisee, Cambozola, Caramelized Onion, Horseradish & Caper Mayo, Steak Fries
Dry-Aged Prime Wagyu Burger - Mustard Frisee, Cambozola, Caramelized Onion, Horseradish & Caper Mayo, Steak Fries

Day 4: Josephine House - $18

I did not want a burger at all this day, but I was so close to finishing. The restaurant was small but cute. It was a really cool space. The burger was pretty basic but had a ton of flavor. The succulent beef and the house made bun with the aioli made a terrific team. I was stuffed when I finished it.
Josephine House Burger - Grafton Cheddar, Harissa Aïoli, Grilled Red Onion, House-Made Bun, Frites
Josephine House Burger - Grafton Cheddar, Harissa Aïoli, Grilled Red Onion, House-Made Bun, Frites

Day 5: Perla's Seafood and Oyster Bar - $18
Yes! The last freaking one. I ran five miles and worked out in the morning so I felt great. I was hungry and ready for lunch. The burger was pretty standard. It was moist and flavorful. I felt like I was eating an upgraded fast food burger. Nothing special. I thought about adding seafood to it to make a surf and turf burger. Might be a little bit crazy. After finishing it, I did not want to see a burger for a few days.
Perla’s Flat Top Cheeseburger - Iceberg Lettuce, Tomato, Onion, Pickles & Special Sauce
Perla’s Flat Top Cheeseburger - Iceberg Lettuce, Tomato, Onion, Pickles & Special Sauce

I ate a lot of great burgers during the MMH Burger Challenge. Clark's burger was so simple yet so damn good. The price point especially during happy hour made it a clear winner in my eyes. The burgers from Jeffrey's and Josephine House were no joke. They do no mess around and get to the point. Serious but delicious. Elizabeth Street Cafe's version was surprisingly good but is not always available. I had no issues with Perla's and Lamberts. They just could not compare to the others.

The burger challenge is physically exhausting. That is a lot of burger to cram into five days. I would rather run another marathon. Some people are doing all six in a day. That is idiotic. McGuire Moorman Hospitality gives you seven days for a reason. Enjoy and savor the burgers. They are not cheap. Imagine eating the fifth/sixth one on the same day. It would taste like a pile of meat and bread and probably terrible. Gross.


I think the marketing idea behind the burger challenge was brilliant. I went to three places that I have never been to, and more than likely, I will return. Based on the @mmhaustin's Instagram account, 117 folks had finished the challenge in the first week! There is a lot of money being spent on this campaign. MMH essentially paid me to eat some mouthwatering burgers that I would have probably not ordered otherwise. I took the week off from barbecue to make this challenge feasible for health purposes. Surprisingly I did not miss brisket, but I did consume a lot of red meat. What is stopping you from doing this challenge?

Until next time, happy smoking...

Lamberts Downtown Barbecue
Address: 401 W 2nd St, Austin, Texas 78701
Phone: (512) 494-1500
Website: http://www.lambertsaustin.com/

Clark's Oyster Bar
Address: 1200 W 6th St, Austin, TX 78703
Phone: (512) 297-2525
Website:
http://www.clarksoysterbar.com/

Elizabeth Street Café
Address: 1501 S 1st St, Austin, TX 78704
Phone: (512) 291-2881
Website:
http://www.elizabethstreetcafe.com/

Jeffrey's
Address: 1204 W Lynn St, Austin, TX 78703
Phone: (512) 477-5584
Website:
http://www.jeffreysofaustin.com/

Josephine House
Address: 1601 Waterston Ave, Austin, TX 78703
Phone: (512) 477-5584
Website:
http://josephineofaustin.com/

Perla's Seafood and Oyster Bar
Address: 1400 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704
Phone: (512) 291-7300

Website: http://www.perlasaustin.com/