AN­OTHER BBQ THROWDOWN

NICK RAMA IS BACK TALK­ING ABOUT THE THIRD AN­NUAL BBQ LO­CAL FOOD FEST

Public News (Houston) - - FRONT PAGE -

The 3rd An­nual Hous­ton BBQ Throwdown, brought to you by the fine folks that bring you the Hous­ton Bar­be­cue Fes­ti­val (Ju­lian Christo­pher Reid, Michael Ful­mer, Jonathan R Co­hen) was held at Saint Arnold Brew­ing Com­pany on Septem­ber 24th and fea­tured four­teen of Hous­ton’s best bar­be­cue restau­rants com­pet­ing to cre­ate the next great bar­be­cue dish rep­re­sent­ing Hous­ton-style Bar­be­cue. This event is by far my fa­vorite of the year be­cause the Pit­mas­ters come up with some out­stand­ing BBQ dishes. The event’s judg­ing panel con­sisted of Ron­nie Killen of Killen’s Bar­be­cue, (last year’s judge’s win­ner), Chron­i­cle res­tau­rant critic Al­i­son Cook, bar­be­cue pho­tog­ra­pher Robert Lerma, pit­mas­ter Wayne Mueller of Louie Mueller Bar­be­cue, and D’Artag­nan Bebel, vice pres­i­dent and gen­eral man­ager of Fox 26. First time com­peti­tor Chef/Pit­mas­ter Arash Kharat of Beaver’s tied for first place and most def­i­nitely brought his “A Game” tieing for Judges Choice with his 44 Farms Beef Rib Short Rib and Brisket Tacos (a home­made tor­tilla made with brisket fat, per­fect smoked beef short rib and brisket, topped with pico de gallo, pick­led onion, queso fresco, yel­low bird cre­mated and cilantro). This was love at first bite for me. The tor­tilla alone was phe­nom­e­nal,but ev­ery­thing to­gether worked like a well re­hearsed sym­phony of fla­vors with just the right amount of spice. Tied for Judges Choice was hus­band and wife team John and Veron­ica Avila of El Burro and The Bull (check them out at The Con­ser­va­tory down­town). Their spin on a fam­ily recipe

of Po­zole (smoked red chile broth topped with smoked pork shoul­der, and dressed with pick­led radish, cilantro, lime, Mex­i­can oregano and served with a house­made tostada). I would love a big bowl of this once the weather gets a lit­tle colder. (5) The Peo­ple’s Choice Award went to Pit­mas­ter Brek Web­ber of Tin Roof BBQ in the Atas­cocita/Hum­ble area. The fam­ily owned restau­rants suf­fered a fire just hours be­fore the com­pe­ti­tion, but still man­aged to show up and win with a fan­tas­tic bar­be­cue beef rib served with hot bread & but- ter pickles. (6) My per­sonal vote went to Pit­mas­ter Bramwell Tripp and Michael Sam­brooks of The Pit Room. Their clever play and ode to a Texas Tra­di­tion; Whataburger. The A-1 Thick and Smokey (a smoked all beef cheese­burger link, house cured ba­con, grilled onions, A1 thick and hearty sauce served in a bun). The de­scrip­tion was clev­erly pre­sented on a card rem­i­nis­cent of the plas­tic or­der num­bers they give you at Whataburger. (7) An­other new­comer to this event was Pit­mas­ter Wade Elkins and

wife Kathy Elkins of My Yard Re­ac­tion BBQ (based out of Spring, TX, cur­rently do­ing pop up events and cater­ings). Wade has been im­press­ing ev­ery­one and has al­ready been in­vited to par­tic­i­pate in The Wood­lands BBQ Fes­ti­val, com­ing to Town Green Park Oc­to­ber 8th, 2017. Wade served a Wagyu Brisket Bento (Mar­ble Ranch Wagyu Beef Brisket smoked with Post Oak and Pecan Wood, a beef ten­don puff with house smoked shrimp salt, sesame sea­weed salad, smoked enoki mush­rooms, radish, sticky rice with a spe­cial sauce, black seed green onion, bulls blood, cilantro and co­rian­der seed mi­cro­greens). This east meets west dish was am­bi­tious and the ex­e­cu­tion was spot on. Greg Gatlin of Gatlin’s BBQ went all out with Rab­bit and Bis­cuit (smoked rab­bit, ched­dar chive bis­cuit, with a rasp­berry chipo­tle sauce topped with a fried quail egg). Grant Pinker­ton of Pinker­ton’s Bar­be­cue wowed the crowds with a Smoked Flank Steak on a toasted cros­tini, with a fire roasted tomato puree, goat cheese and a chimichurri sauce. Two hus­band and wife teams served Smoked Pas­trami dishes, Russell and Misty Roegels of Roegel’s Bar­be­cue Co., served up Pas­trami Tacos while Pa­trick and Erin Smith Feges of Feges BBQ did pork belly pas­trami (smoked with peach wood), house­made kraut, come­back sauce, provo-

lone on rye. Pa­trick blow torch­ing the pro­volone to or­der. Wayne Kam­merl of Brisket House was sling­ing out some stel­lar Pulled Beef Rib Tacos that were com­pletely dif­fer­ent from the win­ner, but equally as good. Home­made Tor­tillas, beef rib with grilled onions, salsa dress­ing mol­ca­jete, mex­i­can slaw, queso fresco and fresh av­o­cado slice. The Blood Bros. BBQ guys (Quy Hoang, Robin Wong, Terry Terr Wong) had a killer Brisket Fried Rice with Pork Joel Charles Siu. Greg and Scott Moore Jr. of Te­jas Choco­late & Bar­be­cue as­sem­bled a unique dish called S’mac Belly - Pork Belly cue with Poblano and Oax­aca mac, mango and mi­cro cilantro. Papa Char­lie’s BBQ - Wes­ley Jurena also did some east meets west with a Go Chu Jang Chicken with pick­led broc­coli slaw and fresh jalapeno. Last but not least Chef Ara Malekian an­other tasty dish, a smoked bone in pork ten­der­loin served with a creamy polenta and driz­zled with a black cherry bal­samic re­duc­tion. Over­all, the event was an­other huge suc­cess and I re­ally en­joyed see­ing and tast­ing what all of these Pit­mas­ters / Chef ’s came up with to rep­re­sent what the Hous­ton BBQ scene is all about.

MICHAEL FUL­MER, GARY R WISE (HOUS­TON BBQ FES­TI­VAL)

CHEF ARASH KHARAT AND TEAM OF BEAVER’S

JOHN AVILA, VERON­ICA AVILA AND TEAM OF EL BURRO AND THE BULL

NICK RAMA, MICHAEL SAM­BROOKS

WADE AND KATHY ELKINS OF MY YARD RE­AC­TION BBQ

MICHAEL SAM­BROOKS AND TEAM FROM THE PIT ROOM

GREG & MICHELLE GATLIN AND CREW FROM GATLIN’S BBQ

GRANT PINKER­TON OF THE BBQ

PA­TRICK AND ERIN FEGES AND CREW OF FEGES BBQ

RUSSELL AND MISTY ROEGELS AND CREW OF ROEGELS BAR­BE­CUE CO.

WAYNE KAM­MERL AND CREW OF BRISKET HOUSE

QUY HOANG, TERRY TERR WONG, KASH, ROBIN WONG OF BLOOD BROS. BBQ

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