Houston 101

Killen's Emerges Victorious at the 2018 Rodeo Uncorked! and Best Bites Competition

The Killen's crew.
The Killen's crew. Photo by Kate McLean
Surprise, surprise. Killen's and Killen's STQ slayed the competition in last night's 2018 Rodeo Uncorked! Best Bites competition, taking home three first place awards.  They won the People's Choice and Lone Star Entree for their Beef Ribs and the Two-Steppin' Dessert award for their Maple Bacon Bread Pudding.  I'm a little crushed that I wasn't able to taste either.

The NRG center was abuzz last night with thousands of happy people hopping from booth to booth sampling meat-heavy dishes and all sorts of award winning wines.  Rodeo festivities begin around this time every year and Houston starts to look a little more like Santa Fe as our inner-cowhand creeps slowly from the closet. (It's almost werewolf-esque how these next three weeks mark the full moon for western fashion.)

More than 100 restaurants brought their ponies to the Best Bites show.  Beloved Brothers Produce took home an award for Outstanding Showmanship, although we're not sure exactly what that means. Judging criteria was based on appearance, creativity, taste and texture.

Pop Fancy showed well with their Cereal Pop, winning second place in the Two-Stepping' Dessert and Outstanding Showmanship awards and taking home the Rookie award.  Once the Cereal Pop, resting all tempting-like on a bed of Fruity Pebbles, hit the judges table all I could think was…ding ding ding ding ding. I even caught myself glancing at my champagne wondering what would be better... dry Fruity Pebbles or Fruity Pebble cereal sub champagne. I decided not to make a scene.
click to enlarge The Cereal Pop from Pop Fancy made me feel shiny and new. - PHOTO BY KATE MCLEAN
The Cereal Pop from Pop Fancy made me feel shiny and new.
Photo by Kate McLean

Another notable winner was Texas de Brazil who won two second place awards for the Lone Star Entree and Tasty Tradition categories with their Flank Steak with Chimichurri Sauce with Mashed Potatoes. It's true, a good chimichurri sauce is hard to beat.


Five food trucks lined up outside to duke it out for the Trail Boss Food Truck Award; Ripe Cuisine, Bayou City Eats, Breaking Bao, Eaker Barbecue and Sticky's Chicken. Breaking Bao came out on top with The Hot Jam Bao.

Here is a look at more of last night's winners...

Trail Boss Food Truck Award
  • 1st: Breaking Bao, The Hot Jam Bao
Trailblazing Appetizer Award
  • 1st: Snooze an AM Eatery, Pork belly on a Tortilla with Mango Pico de Gallo
  • 2nd: Brennan's, Tasso and Grit Dumpling with NOLA Barbecue Shrimp
  • 3rd: EurAsia Fusion, Pepper Tuna Crab
Lone Star Entrée Award
  • 1st: Killen's, Beef Ribs
  • 2nd: Texas de Brazil, Flank Steak with Chimichurri Sauce and Mashed Potatoes
  • 3rd: Brio Tuscan Grill, Balsamic Braised Beef with Smoked Gouda, Polenta and Brussel Sprouts
Two-Steppin' Dessert Award
  • 1st: Killen's STQ, Maple Bacon Bread Pudding
  • 2nd: Pop Fancy, Cereal Pops
  • 3rd: Ooh La La, Corn Flake Cookie
Tasty Tradition Award
  • 1st: Ooh La La, Corn Flake Cookie
  • 2nd: Texas de Brazil, Flank Steak with Chimichurri sauce and Mashed Potatoes
Rookie Award
  • Pop Fancy, Cereal Pops
Outstanding Showmanship Award
  • 1st: Brothers Produce
  • 2nd: Pop Fancy
People's Choice
  • 1st: Killen's, Beef Ribs
  • 2nd: Taste of Texas, Certified Angus Beef Tenderloin
And to that crisp, sweet and spicy chicken wing served with a ramekin of meh ranch that I met in the first round of judging, I searched everywhere for you afterward. You are my Cinderella chicken wing...
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