Meaty Event, The Butcher's Ball, Benefits Ranchers and Farmers Affected by Harvey

Felix Florez brings a new Boucherie vs. Matanza competition to this year's Butcher's Ball in Brenham.
Felix Florez brings a new Boucherie vs. Matanza competition to this year's Butcher's Ball in Brenham. Photo by Max Burkhalter
On Sunday, October 15, the 2nd Annual Butcher’s Ball lands in Brenham with 40 of Texas’s top chefs, butchers and culinary leaders participating in an effort to raise funds for local farmers and ranchers who have been devastated by Hurricane Harvey.

The event, which takes place at the luxurious Rockin’ Star Ranch from 1 to 7 p.m. and benefits the Piggy Bank in partnership with the Trust for Conservation Innovation, will have a pretty stellar lineup of daylong entertainment, cocktails and meaty dishes sourced from ethical and sustainable ranchers, farmers and purveyors, including 44 Farms, Black Hill Ranch, Louisiana Foods, Liberty Provisions, Three Sisters Farms and Yonder Way Farm.

The highlight of the Butcher's Ball is the Golden Cleaver showdown, which will pit chefs against each other for top honors. Chefs competing to make the best dish for the crowd at the Butcher's Ball include:

Ara Malekian – Harlem Road Texas BBQ (Richmond)
Ben Runkle – Salt & Time (Austin)
Bobby Matos – State of Grace (Houston)
Brek Webber – Tin Roof BBQ (Atascocita)
Dawn Burrell – Uchiko (Austin)
Dominick Lee – Kiran’s (Houston)
EJ Miller – Riel (Houston)
Jeff White – Boiler House (San Antonio)
Martin Sayer – Nobie’s (Houston)
Monica Pope – Sparrow Cook Shop (Houston)
Oliver Sitrin – Blind Butcher (Dallas)
Patrick Feges – Feges BBQ (Houston)
Russell Kirkham – Artisan’s (Houston)
Ryan Hildebrand – FM Kitchen & Bar (Houston)
Ryan Savoie – Saint Arnold Brewing Company (Houston)
Wade Elkins - My Yard Reaction BBQ (Houston)
Willow Villarreal – Willow’s Texas BBQ (Houston)

This year there will also be live music from Dale Watson, panel discussions from numerous industry leaders on sustainable ranching and disaster relief, a cocktail lineup from Julep's Alba Huerta, poolside cocktail demos, desserts by Rebecca Masson and Becca Reyenga, butchering demos by Texas Beef Council 2017 Butcher of the Year Bryan Butler of Salt & Time in Austin and Houston's own Richard Knight, formerly of Hunky Dory and now heading the Breaking Bread Pop-Up Series — the huge lineup of silent auction items actually includes the beef hind quarter and a lamb that the duo will butcher on site.

Also worth the drive alone will be an early morning (well, 8 a.m.) Boucherie v. Matanza competition hosted by Black Hill Ranch founder Felix Florez.  Two teams, Team Boucherie and Team Matanza, will compete against each other for the best slaughter, break-down and preparation of dishes in respective French/Cajun and Spanish fashion utilizing a hog from Florez’s own ranch. Competing in Le Boucherie vs. La Matanza are:

Team Boucherie
Graham Laborde – Killen’s
Jeff Weinstock – Cake & Bacon
Joe Cervantez – Brennan’s
Matt Lovelace – formerly of Triniti
Mike Nutt – Café Rabelais
Randy Evans – H-E-B

Team Matanza
Alex Padilla - Ninfa's on Navigation
David Cordúa - Americas
Javier Lopez - Sysco
Kevin Callahan - Ritual
Peter Garcia - El Meson
Philippe Gaston - Izakaya

Tickets to attend Le Boucherie vs. La Matanza are a $50 add-on to Butcher Ball's ticket price, which is $100, and includes breakfast and morning cocktails and juices, and the added bonus of being able to cook with the chefs and assist in preparing dishes.

Tickets for the 2017 Butcher’s Ball are available here. Children 12 and under get in for $25. Reserved VIP tables for ten are also available for $1,500. Transportation to and from Houston to Brenham is available for an additional $30, and 20 percent of each Butcher's Ball ticket will go benefiting those local farmers and ranchers who sustained damage from Hurricane Harvey. More info and tickets at

KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Gwendolyn Knapp is the food editor at the Houston Press. A sixth-generation Floridian, she is still torn as to whether she likes smoked fish dip or queso better.