Discover Austin: BBQ Fest - Episode 63

A festival dedicated to barbecue? Yes, please! I recently attended this year's BBQ Fest, and stuffed myself full of barbecue, for this episode of Discover Austin.  If you'd prefer to read about BBQ Fest, the transcript can be found below the video.

Other Discover Austin topics seen or mentioned: Franklin Barbecue, Snow's BBQ, and Blue Bell.

Greetings, I’m Craig Smyser with 1835 Realty. I’m at Long Center to eat my way through the Texas Monthly BBQ Fest on this episode of Discover Austin.

BBQ and Festivals are two things that you’ll find a lot of in Central Texas. They come together once a year at the Texas Monthly BBQ Fest. If that sounds confusing, let me explain that Texas Monthly is a magazine and they compile what most people would consider to be the definitive list of BBQ restaurants in the great state of Texas. Daniel Vaughn is the magazine’s BBQ editor. Every few years he and his staff compile the list of the top 50 BBQ joints across the state. These BBQ places are then invited to the annual BBQ Fest along with a few outstanding newcomers who weren’t around the last time the list was assembled. While not all of the pit masters attend, there usually are about 30 who do. At this massive gathering of BBQ lovers, you can enjoy all the BBQ your heart desires – or at least as much as your stomach allows.

The main event at BBQ Fest is held on Sunday afternoon and this is where all the BBQ joints are doin’ their thing. Your ticket includes samples of BBQ, sides, and desserts from all of the participants, while supplies last. Beer, sodas, and other beverages are available for sale. There are a few other special ticketed events held on Saturday. While they certainly vary each year, the ‘Cue Course has been held a few times. It’s hosted by Texas A&M’s Animal Science Department and delves into the science behind BBQ. Another popular event is Franklin & Friends, showcasing Aaron Franklin, the pit-master and James Beard Award winner from Franklin BBQ. He joins up with a few other BBQ joints from the Top 25 New BBQ Joints list for an evening of BBQ demonstrations and, of course, tasting.

Craig, "As you might have guessed, Michael Zook is here at Barbecue Fest. So, Michael, quick question for you, what’s the strategy to get through over 30 barbecue places in three hours?"

Michael Zook, "What I saw a couple people doing, they brought in these T.V. trays or even the foil trays. This food blogger I follow, came in with three trays, had three people, everyone had a tray, and they broke the whole festival into three sections and filled up their tray with that section of food. Then they all met at a picnic table and split, three ways, all of the trays. So next year, that’ll be my strategy. That’s pretty impressive."

Texas Monthly first published their list in 1997 and the first BBQ fest was held in 2010 after they decided the list was truly something worth celebrating. Looking back, it’s pretty amazing that it took so long to have a BBQ Festival in Austin.

Of course, since we’re in Austin, it wouldn’t be a true festival without some live music. There are always a few bands on hand to go along with the BBQ.

Don’t miss out on the delicious opportunities that await you at the Texas Monthly BBQ Fest! You may discover your new favorite joint or just indulge in the BBQ from places you already know and love. I’m Craig Smyser with 1835 Realty and thank you for joining me for this episode of Discover Austin. And remember, when you need to buy or sell real estate in Central Texas, I’m ready to help.

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