Each year the Houston BBQ Throwdown participants get more adventurous, with dishes served stretching the boundaries of Texas barbecue. The 2017 event continued to explore the outer limits with Rabbit, Pork Jowl, and Pastrami Pork Belly among the meats cooked by the 14 teams. Bread and bakery fare stepped up and proteins were placed upon house made tortillas, tostadas, biscuits, and more. Composed entrees were topped with items as varied as pickled broccoli, quail eggs, and a beef tendon puff (think Chicharrons)
Never count out a solid meat, though, the people’s choice winner and also rating a high score with judges was Tin Roof’s beef rib. Brek Webber was a man determined, as he rolled into the event on the same day Tin Roof caught fire.
In a first for the event the judge’s winner was a tie shared between Beaver’s and El Burro and the Bull. Beaver’s entré was a beef rib and brisket taco with pico, pickled onion, queso fresco, Yellow Bird crema, and cilantro on a house made tortilla using brisket fat for added flavor. El Burro and the Bull offered up a pozole; red chili broth, pork shoulder, pickled radish, cilantro, lime, Mexican oregano, and a house made Tostada
Tin Roof scored third with the judges, which was no easy feat. Wayne Mueller, Ronnie Killen, Alison Cook, D’Artagnan Bebel, and Robert Lerma rounded out the judges table, making for a group of experienced critics.
The tasty house made cheeseburger link topped with house cured bacon, grilled onions, and A1 Thick and Hearty sauce from The Pit Room landed in 4th, and The Brisket House took home 5th with a beef rib taco on a house made tortilla with grilled onions, salsa de molcajete, Mexican slaw, queso fresco, and avocado.
There were plenty of other great dishes, in alphabetical order:
Beaver’s: Beef rib and brisket tacos, pico, pickled onion, queso fresco, yellow bird crema, and cilantro on housemade tortilla made with brisket fat
Blood Bros BBQ: Brisket fried rice with pork jowl char siuGatlin’s Barbecue: Rabbit with raspberry-chopotle sauce topped with a quail egg on a cheddar chive biscuit
Feges BBQ: Pork Belly Pastrami, housemade saurkraut, comeback sauce, and provelone on rye
Gatlin’s Barbecue: Rabbit with raspberry-chopotle sauce topped with a quail egg on a cheddar chive biscuit
Harlem Road Texas BBQ: Bone-in pork chop with black cherry balsamic, creamy polenta & pomegranate, and a pork nugget
My Yard Reaction BBQ: Wagyu brisket, beef tendon puff, sesame seaweed salad, Enoki mushroom, radish, sticky rice, green onion, bull’s blood, cilantro with coriander seed microgreens
Pappa Charlies Barbeque: Go Chu Jang Chicken, pickled broccoli slaw, jalapeno
Pinkerton’s Barbecue: Flank Steak, tomato puree, goat cheese, and chimichurri sauce on toasted crostini
Tejas Chocolate and Barbecue: Pork Belly, poblano and Oaxaca mac and cheese, Mango, Micro Cilantro
It was the attendees that really won, though. With free Saint Arnolds beer and some of the most flavor filled dishes around, it was another great event to attend and one of the more unique as well. The contest also allows the participants to test out potential future menu items and I for one am hoping to enjoy them again. Keep on the watch for the next event from the HOUBBQ gang, it will be a throw down pitting Austin teams against Houston teams.
We’re in the midst of BBQ Festival season and I’ll see you out there on the hunt for BBQ treasure!