Yippee-aye-kay-yay, yesterday was the 2nd annual Houston Chowhound BBQ Smackdown, a hard-nosed, meat-a-rific, head-to-head blind tasting to crown a new Houston-area ‘Q King.
This year’s line-up was intense, people. We pitted the top three finishers from last year’s hard-fought battle (Burns, Pierson & Co, and Luling City Market) against three new entries: Vincek’s, Thelma’s, and Virgie’s. Lest you forget, three of these contestants -- Burns, Virgie’s, and Vincek’s -- hold distinguished spots on Texas Monthly’s 2008 list of the top 50 BBQ joints in Texas, and all are local favorites. No gimmes, no obvious duds. Just pure, unadulterated meaty love.
Diners tasted brisket and ribs from all six venues, rating each on a 1-5 scale in categories like smoke, tenderness, flavor, moistness, and seasoning. Faces around the crowded room scrunched up in thought as voters wrestled with meat hierarchies, flavor ranks, and the dreaded full stomach demon. Many *burps* later, votes were tallied, and the winners announced...
1. Pierson & Co.
2. Pierson & Co
My personal fave in both categories was Pierson’s. The ribs had a distinctly charred outside protecting a moist and juicy, well smoked interior. The tender brisket was lean, beautifully spiced, and absolutely delicious. Luling City Market and Burns, both in last year’s top three, did not place this year. And Thelma’s, recently resurrected after a bad fire, took dead last in each category.
This is a fun and hilarious event, a jovial gathering of meat loving folks joined in a common goal: to find the BBQ best -- and smackdown the rest. While drinking beer. Be sure to get involved in next year’s event -- but you gotta join the Houston Chowhounds first!