Making its triumphant return after a two-year hiatus, the Texas Monthly BBQ Fest is set to draw just about anything barbecue-related to Lockhart Nov. 5-6.
Benefitting Feeding Texas and a network of food banks across the state, the festival will boast barbecue from renowned joints around Texas, as well as local favorites, to the “Barbecue Capital of Texas.”
Texas Monthly barbecue editor Daniel Vaughn spoke with the Standard about the change of venue from Austin to Lockhart, as well as the mouth-watering lineup of vendors festival-goers can expect. Listen to the story above or read the transcript below.
This transcript has been edited lightly for clarity:
Texas Standard: The Texas Monthly has put this event on for several years. Am I right to say this is the biggest barbecue festival in the nation?
Daniel Vaughn: Yeah, that’s right. I mean, the the amount of barbecue joints that we’re bringing together, the amount of incredible barbecue joints that we’re bringing together, all of them from our top 50 barbecue list. The most we’ve ever brought together in one place will be in Lockhart, Texas, Nov. 5 and 6.
Oh, Lockhart. So this is the first time it’s being held in a place often considered the ‘Barbecue Capital of Texas.’
Yeah, not just often. It is officially the “Barbecue Capital of Texas,” according to the state Legislature. And so we have had our big BBQ Fest in Austin for many, many years running. We had to take a pause because of the pandemic and weren’t really able to bring it back to its full force last year. And so this is our first year back after a couple of year-hiatus and our first year where we decided to move things a little further from the office in downtown Austin and get down to Lockhart, really where the the center of Texas barbecue is.
What exactly do you have on tap?
Well, so on Sunday we’ll be at the City Park in Lockhart. And that part of the festival will look a lot like what you’ve seen in past Texas Monthly BBQ Fests. But then on Saturday, this is a new twist to the event, and we’re calling it the “BBQ World’s Fair.” And it will be right in downtown Lockhart, right in the shadow of the Caldwell County Courthouse – beautiful courthouse down there – walking distance from some of the most legendary barbecue joints in Texas: Black’s Barbecue and Smitty’s and Kreuz Market right down the street. And we’re taking over that square for most of Saturday. We’ll have just lots of live music. We’ll have barbecue demos. We will have different vendors serving barbecue tacos. We’re calling it the “Wide World of Texas BBQ,” trying to bring in as many unique dishes as we can.
I was just trying to understand exactly what you were doing there on Saturday that distinguishes it from what’s happening on Sunday. On Saturday, you’ll be able to sort of go from from one pitmaster to the next to try out some of their barbecue, or what exactly?
Yeah. So on Sunday, you know, it’ll be one ticket price to get into the event, whereas on Saturday it’s really open to the public. We’re trying to bring in as many folks as possible into downtown Lockhart to be able to interact with all these different places. So you’ll have vendors selling barbecue and you’ll have different vendors selling other barbecue-related items: cutting boards and knives and rubs and sauces. We’re even going to have a barbecue sauce tasting tent where you can come in and sample barbecue sauces from across Texas. A barbecue bookstore – we’ll have book signings. Aaron Franklin will be there, Kevin Bludso, Wyatt McSpadden. So yeah – if it’s barbecue related, we are trying to bring it to Lockhart.
Well, this has become a bigger, bigger and bigger event as the years have gone on. And I understand that the proceeds will also benefit Feeding Texas, is that right?
Yeah, that’s right. And so we have partnered with Feeding Texas for, really, all of our big barbecue events throughout the year. And so that’s been a great partnership. And yeah, we’re happy to be working with them.
This is an event that a lot of Texas barbecue fans already know about, and when they get there, they’re going to recognize a lot of these top Texas barbecue joints. Are there any new names that people might want to sample?
Yeah, absolutely. You know, every one of our top 50 lists, there’s quite a bit of turnover. And this year is no different. I mean, our number one spot, Goldie’s Barbecue, will be there, and they weren’t even open the last time we had a barbecue list. And then you’ve got some great places like Smokey Joe’s BBQ in Dallas. You’ve got Smoke-A-Holics BBQ in Fort Worth. Eaker Barbecue coming in from Fredericksburg if you’re looking for some of that small-town barbecue. So I mean, we’ve certainly got a huge, diverse group of barbecue joints coming in that many of them you will never have seen at a Texas Monthly barbecue joint event before.