In 2013, 1,300 people came out in the chilly and windy weather to stuff themselves silly with brisket, sausage, turkey and more at the inaugural Houston Barbecue Festival. And this year, they’re doing it all over again at the Second Annual Houston Barbecue Festival. “This year, my partner, Michael Fulmer, and I are expanding the definition of Houston BBQ,” ex-plains co-founder J.C. Reid. “Last year every place was a brick-and-mortar, mom-and-pop shop. This year there are a few barbecue trailers, and on the other end of the spectrum we have one large chain, Spring Creek Barbecue.” The festival also features 17 Houston-area barbecue joints, as well as Louie Mueller Barbecue, from Taylor, Texas, and Morgan’s Texas Barbecue from Brooklyn, New York.
Don’t expect to see any awards or honors given out at this event, though. That’s not what it’s about. “This is a celebration,” Reid says. “It’s not a cook-off. Houston has a lot of cook-offs. The rodeo is the biggest example. If you’re in this circuit, there are cook-offs every weekend. But it’s not a competition. It’s truly a celebration to let these mom-and-pop joints be rock stars for a day.” General admission tickets are $50 and include entry and unlimited sample portions from each participating barbecue joint. VIP tickets are $90 and include entry into the festival at noon (an hour early!), unlimited sample portions from each barbecue joint, a T-shirt and one drink ticket. Beer and wine will be sold separately.
1 p.m. Reliant Center, 8400 Kirby. For information, call 832-454-6106 or visit houbbq.com. $50 to $90.
Sun., April 6, 1 p.m., 2014