Going to the Festival #1: The Red Dirt BBQ Festival (Tyler, TX)
Tish, her parents, and I went to the Red Dirt BBQ festival in Tyler this past Saturday. It is held in the square in downtown Tyler and features live music as well as a selection of some of the best BBQ from around Texas. I saw quite a few familiar places as well as some I haven't heard of.
So of course I did the responsible thing: I ditched my wife and in-laws and proceeded to sample as much BBQ as I possibly could. (I had actually planned that ahead of time, and they can't throw stones since their tickets were a gift….).
I'll start by saying that (as expected) there was no bad BBQ there. There were various levels ranging from "Very Good" to "Awesome", but nothing disappointed. There was also a fair amount of creativity. I'm going to try a slightly different format than usual. I'll break them down by rating categories.
I should also note that I fully understand that these places are away from their normal pits and are traveling.
As always, I'm not rating jalapeno sausage (and there was a lot of it). I tried some here and there, and nope: I still don't like jalapeno. Give me ghost pepper or habanero every time.
Some places have numbers by them. Their item either requires clarification, or they also had an additional item in the other category. (FYI - linkified for reference)
Very Good: These places would score a solid 6-7 on our normal scale.
Brisket: Buzzie's, Country Tavern, Schmidt Family BBQ, Bodacious BBQ
Pork Ribs: Freedman's (3), Schmidt Family BBQ,
Sausage: Kreuz Market, Heim's BBQ (5)
Excellent: These places would score an 8 or low 9 on our normal scale.
Brisket: Meat Church (1), Bet the House (2), BBQ on the Brazos, Lockhart Smokehouse, Stanley'sFamous Pit BBQ
Sausage: Buzzie's, Country Tavern, Freedman's (3)
Pork Ribs: Buzzie's
Beef Rib: MeatChurch
Turkey: Bet theHouse
Awesome: These places would score a high 9 or 10 on our normal scale.
Brisket: The SlowBone (4)
Sausage: Micklethwait, Bodacious BBQ
Turkey: Miller's (6)
1) In addition to brisket, Meat Church had an excellent brisket taco.
2) In addition to brisket, Bet the House had an unusual (but delicious) brisket and coleslaw eggroll.
3) Freedman's had an excellent brisket boudin. The pork rib was a Big Red (soda) basted pork rib. I normally don't like Big Red, but I did like this, and probably would have loved it if it didn’t have the extra squirt of Big Red sauce on it at the end (was just a little too much).
4) The Slow Bone did a Brisket slider with Pimento cheese and chimichurri sauce that was incredible.
5) Heim's also did "Burnt Bacon Ends" (pork belly) that should probably be classified as a controlled substance. It's that addictive.
6) Miller's also did a smoked tri-tip that was incredible.
I didn't try Louie Mueller's, Stiles Switch or Blacks (the first two because I eat there often and the last because I ate there last week). I didn't make it to Hutchin's in time.
I tried Roegel's jalapeno sausage. I could tell it was well-made, but jalapeno is still not my thing. I did meet John Brotherton (AKA@BBQBrotherton), who was working at the Roegel's booth. Very nice guy!
As I noted earlier, everything was good. I'd have to say the most interesting thing was the brisket eggroll from Bet the House, and the best thing was probably a tossup between the slider from The Slow Bone and the tri tip from Miller's Family Smokehouse. They were both so good it's hard to decide.
Many thanks to Red Dirt and the City of Tyler for an incredible afternoon. Looking forward to going again next year!
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