2017 Houston Rodeo Best Bites Competition Rounded Up Top Dishes

Killen's team at Rodeo Best Bites

Foodies, chefs and wine lovers donned their Western best, cramming into NRG Center for the sold-out Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Uncorked! Roundup and Best Bites Competition. The annual food festival kicks off rodeo season in Houston.

Along with the 113 restaurants serving up their best appetizers, entrees and desserts, vendors and volunteers poured over 400 wines that were judged in the Rodeo Uncorked! International Wine Competition this past November. Attendees sampled great food and wine while restaurants showcased their creativity and style.

Some of the longest lines on the floor were for Killen’s STQ’s pork belly burnt ends. The dish would go on to win a People’s Choice award, as well as take second place in the Lone Star Entrée Category. Merlion on 4th’s Thai dish, Shrimp Raad Prik, took first place in that category. Longtime favorite Royer’s Round Top Café took home the other People’s Choice award for the eatery’s Not My Mom’s Apple Pie.

Mostly Chocolate’s sweet-with-a-crunch hazelnut, goat cheese and pop rocks confection dusted with cocoa brought home the Two Steppin’ Dessert crown. Judges who rated the dishes that made it to the final round praised its texture and taste.

Revolver Kitchen and Bar brought home the top prize in the Trail Blazin’ Appetizer category for a tangy, smoky, achiote-braised pork slider with jalapeno cabbage slaw and Sriracha-honey glaze.

Killen's STQ pork belly burnt ends
The pork belly burnt ends from Killen’s STQ earned two awards from the 2017 Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo Uncorked! Best Bites Competition. Photo by Kimberly Park

Winners received a blingy belt buckle and bragging rights. That said, with so much great food and wine, the real winners were easily the attendees. Here’s the complete list of winners.

Trail Blazin’ Appetizer Award
First Place: Revolver Kitchen and Bar, Achiote-braised pork sliders with jalapeño cabbage slaw and sriracha-honey glaze
Second Place: Snooze A. M. Eatery, OMG French Toast Bites
Third Place: Cotton Culinary, Duck Roulade

Lone Star Entrée Award

Revolver pork slider at Rodeo Best Bites
Revolver Kitchen & Bar’s Pork Slider took first place in the appetizer category at the 2017 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Best Bites competition. Photo by Holly Beretto

First Place: Merlion on 4th, Shrimp Raad Prik
Second Place: Killen’s STQ, Pork Belly Burnt Ends with cherry habanero sauce and creamed corn
Third Place: Hearsay Gastro Lounge at Market Square, Southern-Fried Texas Quail with sharp cheddar grits and a Thai chile/bacon/bourbon butter honey

Two Steppin’ Dessert Award
First Place: Mostly Chocolate, Hazelnut Crunch and Pop Rocks Chocolate
Second Place: Crave Cupcakes, Red Velvet Cupcakes
Third Place: Brio Tuscan Grille, Marscapone Cheesecake

Tasty Tradition Awards
First Place: Mostly Chocolate, Hazelnut Crunch and Pop Rocks Chocolate
Second Place: Merlion on 4th, Shrimp Raad Prik

People’s Choice Award
First Place: Killen’s STQ, Pork Belly Burnt Ends with cherry habanero sauce and creamed corn
Second Place: Royer’s Round Top Café, “Not My Mom’s Apple Pie”

Rookie Award: Hearsay Gastropub, Southern-Fried Texas Quail

Outstanding Showmanship: Cupcake Kitchen

Most Creative: Brother’s Produce

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