Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

[Austin] First Annual Texas Barbecue Festival


Kent Wang
 Share

Recommended Posts

Official event information: http://www.austinchronicle.com/issues/disp...d_feature2.html

51026173_60862e4657.jpg

51025859_8270d0139b.jpg

2-2:45pm: One Hundred Years and More of Sausage Making in Central Texas: Dawn Orsak, Becky Meyer, Jim McMurtry, Jason Wootan, Lori Navjar

51026770_b75c119f60.jpg

3:30-4:15pm: Texas Barbecue – What the Hell Is It?: Chris Elley, Art Blondin, Emmett Fox, Robbie Greig, Mick Vann, Dotty Griffith

The event started at noon. We (2 of my friends and a UT Cooking Club member) got there at 2pm thinking it would be alright, but the crowd was so huge a few of the vendors had already sold out by then!

I sampled all the sausage that I could, missing out on only Gonzales Food Market and Cooper's. I thought that Meyer's garlic sausage was by far the best. The rest, many of which were in the typical German Central Texas style, were rather bland.

Of the other food vendors, only Big Oak BBQ had not sold out by the time we got there. Their pulled pork was nice, and as far I know they're the only BBQ restaurant in the area selling it. Their sauced up brisket was unnoteworthy.

Lots of people brought their dogs. Including this one with heterochromatic eyes:

51026393_48dab699fc.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Nice pics.  So how does this fit in with your observations on Elgin sausage on the other thread?  Is there something inherently "bland" about the recipe?

Quite possibly. I regret not having a chance to ask that question to the sausage discussion panel. All I want is a helluva lot more black pepper, some garlic, and maybe some fennel. The Meyer's garlic sausage at least gives me hope that Central Texas sausage is not entirely hopeless.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Is the kind that's coarsely chopped by hand?  And is it made of beef?

Most are beef/pork mixes, with the beef being dominant. I will guess that it is coarsely chopped instead of the spherical grinds that you normally see with, say, all-pork Italian sausage.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

All I want is a helluva lot more black pepper, some garlic, and maybe some fennel. The Meyer's garlic sausage at least gives me hope that Central Texas sausage is not entirely hopeless.

"fennel"?

BWAHAHAHA!! :laugh:

"...gives me hope that Central Texas sausage is not entirely hopeless."

BWAHAHAHA!! :laugh:

Why don't you try some small-batch hand-made sausage, Kent? The Austin area has plenty of cooks doing it right; store example: Bert's. Yep, Bert's. Say, on Far West, stop in and try it. Ask the cook/server what he thinks of Elgin sausage, then be sure to ask how his sausage is made. Learn. Many others do the same...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you laugh derisively at fennel in sausages, you must laugh derisively at all Italian sausages too. I'm not sure I can agree with you on that.

Perhaps you can help me learn by describing the contents of these small-batch hand-made sausages. Just how small-batch and hand-made are they? Smokey Denmark's and a small proportion of the Festival vendors have sausage plants but the rest are all "hand-made" and "small-batch" too.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Lots of people brought their dogs. Including this one with heterochromatic eyes:

Is that what you call it? Although mine are brown and green. :biggrin: Very nice report Kent!

Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the report Kent. I had hoped to make that event, but had to cancel my trip to Austin at the last minute.

I see that Dotty Griffith, Food Critic for the Dallas Morning News, was on the panel.

I guess the message for next year is to get there early or risk going without.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

I just realized that this was quite the "sausage fest". This experience will be useful for retelling at parties. "You think this is a sausage fest? I've been to a real sausage fest, and this is no sausage fest!"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Did you get to sample any typical Texas "Hot Links?" I am looking for the kind my grandpa used to buy at Otto's when I was a kid. As I recall, it was rather coarse chopped beef and there was a lot of black pepper that you could see through the casing. What I have found lately is just not it.

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ah, the barbecue festival. Like Kent, I also got there on the late side, around 2 p.m., but it left a distinctly sour taste in my mouth -- not so much from the quality of the food as the disorganized and thoughtless way the festival was put together. (In fairness, it was the first annual edition.) The organizers were clearly unprepared for how many people would show up at the Farmers Market site (after a long hot summer, reasonably cool, or at least coolER, October weather had finally arrived, and everybody in Austin apparently decided to make the scene). To begin with, parking was hopelessly inadequate, and I had to cruise blocks away to find a spot in this crowded North Austin neighborhood. Upon entering the festival site, I was greeted by nobody, given no orientation, and had to figure out for myself, threading my way through the madding throngs, where everything was and where I had to buy tickets (after I learned you had to buy tickets, except for the restaurant in the center of the lot where cash still ruled). :blink:

So, this was my experience: buy tickets (which were no bargain for what was provided) and stand in line 20 minutes at one booth for some ribs and sausage, then get into another line and wait 20 minutes at another booth for another few bites. Fail to find any open tables at which to sit and enjoy the food, so eat standing, or sitting on the curb. :angry: Notice that about half the food booths have sold out of everything before you got there. :angry: Constantly dodge people pushing past you to get to some other alleged attraction. Decide to leave, because it's not fun at all. Be disappointed that you never got to sample enough to make any reasonable comparisons of Central Texas barbecue. Consider swearing off barbecue festivals altogether.

I have written to the event organizers, who are well aware of the shortcomings of this year's event. I may consider going next year, IF they are able to procure a much more suitable venue capable of handling the anticipated crowds. But I did not enjoy the First Annual Texas Barbecue Festival one bit.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Now I am glad I missed it. I have friends in Austin and was planning on making one of the events next year. I really would have liked to make this one. It does sound like they got slammed. Hopefully, we will bump this up next year and see if they have gone for plan B.

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ah, the barbecue festival. Like Kent, I also got there on the late side, around 2 p.m., but it left a distinctly sour taste in my mouth  -- not so much from the quality of the food as the disorganized and thoughtless way the festival was put together. (In fairness, it was the first annual edition.) The organizers were clearly unprepared for how many people would show up at the Farmers Market site (after a long hot summer, reasonably cool, or at least coolER, October weather had finally arrived, and everybody in Austin apparently decided to make the scene). To begin with, parking was hopelessly inadequate, and I had to cruise blocks away to find a spot in this crowded North Austin neighborhood. Upon entering the festival site, I was greeted by nobody, given no orientation, and had to figure out for myself, threading my way through the madding throngs, where everything was and where I had to buy tickets (after I learned you had to buy tickets, except for the restaurant in the center of the lot where cash still ruled).  :blink: 

So, this was my experience: buy tickets (which were no bargain for what was provided) and stand in line 20 minutes at one booth for some ribs and sausage, then get into another line and wait 20 minutes at another booth for another few bites. Fail to find any open tables at which to sit and enjoy the food, so eat standing, or sitting on the curb.  :angry:  Notice that about half the food booths have sold out of everything before you got there.  :angry:  Constantly dodge people pushing past you to get to some other alleged attraction. Decide to leave, because it's not fun at all.  Be disappointed that you never got to sample enough to make any reasonable comparisons of Central Texas barbecue. Consider swearing off barbecue festivals altogether.

I have written to the event organizers, who are well aware of the shortcomings of this year's event. I may consider going next year, IF they are able to procure a much more suitable venue capable of handling the anticipated crowds. But I did not enjoy the First Annual Texas Barbecue Festival one bit.

Um, maybe you could serve on the organizing committee for next year's event? A customer's perspective, I find, is invaluable. BTW what is the contact info? I may be down there by late winter. You can pm me ...

Theabroma

Sharon Peters aka "theabroma"

The lunatics have overtaken the asylum

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Did you get to sample any typical Texas "Hot Links?" I am looking for the kind my grandpa used to buy at Otto's when I was a kid. As I recall, it was rather coarse chopped beef and there was a lot of black pepper that you could see through the casing. What I have found lately is just not it.

fifi, what you're describing sounds an awful lot like what is available in Elgin. The Southside "hot guts", as you know, are the most famous.

I've preferred the Meyer's version for years, specifically the beef sausage. (No fennel in that.) :smile:

Crosstown makes a version of the original Southside sausage that I think tastes a lot better.

You also may be thinking of the east TX "hot links" that are mainly attributed to Pittsburg (TX). They are prevalent through east central TX.

I may be able to give you a source if you can tell me if I'm wrong or right about my assumptions.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Tremor, I think you are right in your assumptions. Do remember that when I was a kid we are talking about the early 60s. :shock: Suggestions, please. :biggrin:

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I tried some of those Pittsburg Hot Links once when I stopped in Hughes Springs for a meal. They must be an acquired taste. I did'nt much care for them.

It is good to be a BBQ Judge.  And now it is even gooder to be a Steak Cookoff Association Judge.  Life just got even better.  Woo Hoo!!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Tremor, I think you are right in your assumptions. Do remember that when I was a kid we are talking about the early 60s.  :shock: Suggestions, please.  :biggrin:

Well, my first suggestion is to get in your car and drive up to Elgin for a sausage-tasting! :cool:

You should be able to find Southside Meat Market and Meyer's at the HEB's in Houston. The trouble with the the packaged versions is that they just don't taste as good as getting it at the restaurants. Around here we can get fresh (uncooked) Southside sausage in the grocery stores, but I don't know if that's the case in Houston.

As far as I know, the Crosstown sausage is only available at the restaurant.

My favorite sausages, however, are the ones in Lockhart from Kreuz or Smitty's. You can mail order from Kreuz. http://www.kreuzmarket.com/

There's another one that should be available at Houston HEB's; V&V. It's good. Chappell Hill Sausage is also good. http://www.chsausage.com/

Have you tried Luling City Market there in Houston? Or, Central Market may have some of their own that might come close???

Frankly, I may be way off base, because when you were a kid in Houston, I was a kid in Missouri. So, all my suggestions are speculations. Hope it helps, though.

Edited by Tremor (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...