Hou BBQ Throwdown

We missed the annual TMBBQ Fest because we were out of country for a wedding. I decided to line my schedule with a couple of barbecue events to make up for it. The same group that put on the Hou BBQ Festival also planned the 1st Hou BBQ Throwdown. The Throwdown brought some of Houston’s best barbecue restaurants together to spark a competition to create the next great barbecue dish that represents Houston. Houston is a big melting pot with culinary influences all over the country and from the world. The event was held at Saint Arnold Brewery. I have never been to the brewery and always wanted to go so this was a win-win. I actually checked out Jackson Street BBQ before I headed to the event. Was that a mistake?

There was a blind judging process featuring barbecue experts from around Texas that would pick a winner from the 14 entries. There was also a People’s Choice award in which guests can vote for their favorite dish. The barbecue judging panel included Houston Chronicle restaurant critic Alison Cook, Texas Monthly food editor Patricia Sharpe, Gatlin's BBQ pitmaster Greg Gatlin, Louie Mueller pitmaster Wayne Mueller, and photographer extraordinaire Robert J. Lerma.

Recognize this guy? He was also at the TMBBQ Fest with a tray full of Q.

Here are the entries:

BBQ Godfather : Smoked beef rib, candied pork belly, and sautéed mushrooms on a hoagie roll

Blood Bros. BBQ : Smoked Sisig (Filipino taco)- pork belly and pig ears on a roti

Brooks’ Place BBQ : Smoked beef oxtail

The Brisket House : Smoked beef rib and brisket chili

Chopped N Smoked BBQ : Kibbeh meatballs (Lebanese) made with brisket

Corkscrew BBQ : Brisket taco with Texas caviar

Feges BBQ : Pig wings (pork shank)

Jackson Street BBQ : Jalapeño cheddar brisket kolache

Pappa Charlies Barbeque : Masala rubbed short rib burnt end with cider Sriracha slaw on a Ritz cracker

The Pit Room : Smoked brisket tamalito - roasted chile colorado dressed with fresh crema, burnt end bits, habanero, and salsa verde

Pizzitola’s Bar-B-Cue : Brisket burnt end tamale in a hickory smoked masa with pork sparerib spiked queso

Ray's BBQ Shack : Smoked oxtails

Roegel’s Barbecue Co. : Smoked lamb with collard greens

Tin Roof BBQ : Stuffed shrimp brochette with chopped brisket, smoked jalapeños and wrapped in bacon. Ground beef dirty rice with smoked beef ribs.

The People's Champ went to Corkscrew BBQ for their brisket taco with Texas caviar. The award should have been a WWE style belt.

The judges picked...

Brooks’ Place BBQ for their smoked beef oxtail with burnt ends and smoked cabbage.

One of Brooks’ Place BBQ's prizes was a Yeti cooler full of 44 Farms steaks. I would have entered if I had known that was the prize...

Congrats to the winners. The event was fun and well-organized. The beer taps were flowing. It was not oversold, and there was plenty of seating. Eating 14 samples was a lot more manageable than 23. Each bite was unique. You could easily pace yourself, and the flavors did not run into each other. I was full but not miserable. If I did not have to drive back to Austin that evening, I might have drank a few more beers. Maybe I will get a hotel next time. I love events like these. It brings meat enthusiasts together and celebrates barbecue. It was also great seeing the familiar faces in BBQ. I hope I can make it to the next one. Good times.

Until next time, happy smoking...


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