Texas Monthly BBQ Fest Brings Together Tasty Offerings From Old And New Pitmasters

The annual event features smoky meat from all over the state.

By Casey CheekNovember 1, 2018 11:22 am,

It is one of our favorite events on the Texas calendar – the Texas Monthly BBQ Fest.

“We put it together, but it’s the pitmasters who do all the work,” says Daniel Vaughn, barbecue editor at Texas Monthly.

This weekend’s event is the ninth edition of this festival A total of 30 pitmasters will serve up their wares – close to the largest contingent, in the festival’s history. New and noteworthy barbecue specialists, like Reed Guess of Guess Family BBQ in Waco will be there.

Guess has attracted some attention recently, “not only for their great barbecue, but where they’re doing it. Waco hasn’t exactly been known as a capital of barbecue in Texas, but Guess family really has changed that,” Vaughn says.

Central Texas has a reputation as the “capital” of Texas barbecue. Franklin and several restaurants from Lockhart are some favorites, but pitmasters from all over the state set up their smokers for the festival.

“Evie Maes will be coming from Wolfforth Texas, all the way up in the Panhandle, near Lubbock, Tyler’s Barbecue from Amarillo, quite a few folks from the Dallas and Fort Worth area… they really are coming from all over,” Vaughn says.

The Texas Monthly BBQ Festival invites all smoky meat enthusiasts. All you need is an entrance ticket “and that’s really the last thing you buy as far as bbq goes,” Vaughn says. “There’s no individual purchasing going on at any of the tables. [The ticket] gives you access to every one of these tables, all 30 of these bbq joints to go in and basically stuff yourself.”

All of the invited pitmasters are among Texas Monthly’s Top 50 list places for barbecue. The most well-known will all be there, but Vaughn says he has some recommends for newer names, too.

“Baker Boys BBQ, and Gonzalez came to a festival that we had in San Antonio… when they came they did their signature stuffed chicken leg,” he says.

A stuffed chicken leg is as good as it sounds.

“They take the chicken leg off the bone, stuff it with onions and jalapeños, and smoke it. It is just ridiculous. It is juicy, smoky, spicy, it’s got everything going,” Vaughn says.

The Texas Monthly BBQ Festival will be held November 3 and 4 at The Long Center in Austin. A VIP ticket gets you in an hour earlier than general admission.

Written By Alvaro Cespedes.