Sunday, December 10, 2017

2017 HOU-ATX BBQ Throwdown

Saint Arnold Brewery played host to the first ever Houston Vs. Austin Barbecue Throwdown last weekend. The theme of the annual Houston Barbecue Throwdown persisted to this event: Create a unique barbecue dish & create it better than the other guys. This event however, did play up a budding Houston vs. Austin rivalry in the world of smoked meats.

As has been the case with the other Houston Throwdown events, this Throwdown was a perfect celebration of Texas Barbecue. The masterminds behind the Houston Barbecue Festival deserve heaps of praise for always pulling off brilliant events. If those guys are in charge, it is seriously an event that you need to attend.

When Houston and Austin are Pit against each other in the realm of barbecue, we all win. But, individual winners were also named. No one won bigger than Austin's LeRoy & Lewis Barbecue who took home not only the People's Choice Award and a share of the Judge's Choice Award, but also earned my personal vote (!) for their Pork Bacon Ribs with Brisket Fried Rice. This seriously may have been one of the best bites I've had at any of these events.

Austin-area Brotherton's Black Iron Barbecue took the other share of the Judge's Choice Award for their precisely crafted Bahn Mi Crostini layered with three different types of delicious meat. Both Austin-area joints are newer, lesser known commodities, especially to the Houston market, but both were definitely deserving of the praise they received at the event.

Houston's Pit Room, Austin-area Valentina's Tex-Mex BBQ, and Houston's Harlem Road Barbecue rounded out the judge's top five in a very competitive field. I also thought that My Yard Reaction and Beaver's were both impressive in their follow-up to their superb Houston Barbecue Throwdown debut in September.

Austin Area Line Up (In Alphabetical Order):

Brotherton’s Black Iron Barbecue [Judge's Choice (Tie)] - "Pigpen and Pasture" Banh Mi Crostini - Locally Made Baguette, Smoked Beef Cheek Pute, Korean BBQ Brisket, Korean BBQ Pulled Pork, Housemade Kimchi, Pickled Daikon and Carrots, English Cucumber, Thai Chili Pomegranate Gastrique, Mango Jalapeno Coulis

Brotherton's Black Iron Barbecue
Brotherton's Black Iron Barbecue

Hays Co. Bar-B-Que - Habanero Mango Pineapple Pork Chop
Hays Co. Bar-B-Que
Hays Co. Bar-B-Que

LeRoy and Lewis Barbecue [My Choice, People's Choice, Judge's Choice (Tie)] - Peaceful Pork Bacon Ribs with Brisket Fried Rice, Housemade Kimchi, Fish Caramel

LeRoy and Lewis Barbecue
LeRoy and Lewis Barbecue

Micklethwait Craft Meats - Smoked Duck Boudin with Fermented Cherry Pepper Hot Sauce, Pickled Summer Vegetables, Remoulade, Seasoned Duck Fat Saltine

Micklethwait Craft Meats
Micklethwait Craft Meats

Valentina’s Tex Mex BBQ - "Chicano Churrasco" - Mesquite Smoked Flap Meat with Tex-Mex Tomatillo Churri on a Handmade Flour Tortilla with Pickled Red Onions

Valentina's Tex-Mex BBQ
Valentina's Tex Mex BBQ

Houston Area Line Up (In Alphabetical Order):

Beaver’s - Smoked Fried Chicken, Cracklin Cornbread, Smoked Honey & Sea Salt

Beaver's
Beaver's

The Brisket House - Smoked Pulled Pork Banana Leaf Tamales with Morita Chili Pepper Salsa

The Brisket House
The Brisket House

El Burro & the Bull - Chile Colorado (Smoked Wild Game Chile Colorado Dressed with Crispy Organic Blue Corn Tortilla Strips, Fresh Cotija Crumbles and Pickled Red Onion

El Burro & the Bull
El Burro & the Bull

Gatlin’s BBQ - Ginger Glazed Smoked Pork Belly with Coconut Rice

Gatlin's BBQ
Gatlin's BBQ

Harlem Road Texas BBQ - Beef Ribs

Harlem Road Texas Barbecue
Harlem Road Texas Barbecue

Killen’s BBQ - Pork Belly Three Ways:
Pork Belly Yesterday: Smoked Pork Belly Tossed in Sweet BBQ Sauce and Pickles

Killen's BBQ
Pork Belly Today: Crispy Pork Belly Burnt Ends Tossed in Cherry Habanero Crispy Rice Caviar and Green Onion

Killen's BBQ
Killen's BBQ

Pork Belly Tomorrow - Pork Belly Spring Roll with Thai Basil, Killen's Slaw, BBQ Almonds and Hoisin BBQ Sauce

Killen's BBQ
Killen's BBQ


My Yard Reaction BBQ - Smoked Pulled Pork, Red Cabbage Marmalade, Smoked Sweet Potato Cornbread, Steen's Cane Syrup Butter

My Yard Reaction BBQ
My Yard Reaction BBQ

The Pit Room - Beef Rib Burnt End with Prawn Cracker, Cod Smoked Uni Butter, and Pickled Thai Chili

The Pit Room
The Pit Room

Tin Roof BBQ - Smoked Prime Sirloin Served on a Bed of Bacon Brussel Sprout Salad with Feta Crumble & Bacon Vinaigrette

Tin Roof BBQ
Tin Roof BBQ


LeRoy & Lewis Barbecue
LeRoy & Lewis Barbecue 

Valentina's Tex Mex Barbecue
Valentina's Tex Mex Barbecue

Harlem Texas Road Barbecue
Harlem Texas Road Barbecue

Killen's BBQ
Killen's BBQ

Brotherton's Black Iron Barbecue
Brotherton's Black Iron Barbecue

The Brisket House
The Brisket House

Saint Arnold Brewery
Saint Arnold Brewery

The Winners are Announced...
The winners are announced...

LeRoy & Lewis and Brotherton's split the Judge's Choice Award
LeRoy & Lewis and Brotherton's split the Judge's Choice Award

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*All Grades Are Based Solely on the Quality of Texas BBQ Offered at the Joint. We Aren't Looking for Burgers or Catfish!

My Grading Scale:


A = This is some of the finest BBQ you'll find anywhere. It is worth a roadtrip in itself along with any required wait.
B = This is very good BBQ, even if it is over an hour away, consider making the drive.
C = This is just average BBQ but it's worth a stop in a pinch.
D = This is a poor example of Texas BBQ. Even if it's the only place around, skip it. Apologize to any non-Texans that have eaten here.
F = This is not only a bad Texas BBQ, it is probably not suitable for human consumption.

 
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