Tickets Are Going Fast For This Year’s Houston BBQ Throwdown

The Houston Barbecue Festival and Saint Arnold Brewing Company announce the 3rd Annual Houston BBQ Throwdown! Houston barbecue restaurants are competing to create the dish that best represents Houston-style barbecue. This year’s event will be held at Saint Arnold Brewing Company on Sunday, September 24, from 1 to 4 p.m. As of this writing, only about 100 General Admission tickets remain for the event and can be purchased online. (No tickets will be sold at the event). The cost is $65 each and admission includes samples from all competing vendors as well as Saint Arnold Brewing Company beer.

Much like Kansas City-style barbecue is associated with “burnt ends” and Memphis-style is known for pork ribs, Houston-style barbecue is becoming known for dishes that incorporate the many diverse culinary influences of our “Creole” city. The judges’ choice winner at the 2015 competition was an old-school Houston barbecue dish—smoked oxtails.

smoked prime rib Houston BBQ Throwdown
A sample of Smoked Prime Rib with Chimichurri, an entry in last year’s Houston BBQ Throwdown. Photo by Chuck Cook Photography

The second revealed the growing influence of chef-driven techniques in modern-day barbecue. Both the 2016 Judge’s Choice winner Ronnie Killen and People’s Choice winner Patrick Feges are both classically trained chefs as well as award-winning pitmasters. Killen created three variations of smoked beef short rib while Feges featured beef belly burnt ends with pimento cheese grits.

For the 2017 Throwdown, experts from around Texas will judge dishes “blind”—that is, without knowing who made them—and pick a single winner from the entries. There will also be a “People’s Choice” award in which guests can vote for their favorite dish.

Participating barbecue restaurants scheduled so far include Beaver’s Westheimer, Blood Bros. BBQ, The Brisket House, El Burro & the Bull, Feges BBQ (People’s Choice winner from 2016), Gatlin’s BBQ, Harlem Road Texas BBQ, My Yard Reaction BBQ, Pappa Charlies Barbeque, Pinkerton’s Barbecue, The Pit Room, Roegels Barbecue, Tejas Chocolate + Barbecue and Tin Roof BBQ. (The list of participants is subject to change before the event.)

The judges include chef and pitmaster Ronnie Killen (judges’ choice winner from 2016), Houston Chronicle restaurant critic Alison Cook, barbecue photographer Robert J. Lerma, pitmaster Wayne Mueller of Louie Mueller Barbecue in Taylor, Texas and D’Artagnan Bebel, vice president and general manager of Fox 26 television station.

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