Tuesday, June 29, 2010

BBQ Smackdown 2010

The Houston Chowhounds hosted the third annual BBQ Smackdown over this past weekend. The event was held at Pearl Bar where meat from six competitors was laid out for the taking. The premise is simple, taste samples of brisket and ribs from six different Houston joints, and rate them in terms of what amounts to taste and texture. Reviews of the first and second annual events can be found here, and here, and Pierson's is the only joint that has been involved in all three.

Attendance was strong, and included Houston Foodie, Drew and Brad from Man Up Texas BBQ, Ruthie Johnson and Houston Chowhound founder, I'm Never Full. These are some serious foodies.

Sample #1 Vincek's in St. Bernard

Sample #2 Virgie's in Houston

Sample #3 Pizzitola's in Houston
Sample #4 Dozier's in Fulshear

Sample #5 Smokin' Mike's in Sugar Land
Sample #6 Pierson's in Houston

I had a full head of steam when I started, but as the samples wore on I started to really fill up. After all that I was still able to get another sample of my favorite joint which was Virgie's. Those oak smoked slices of brisket were perfectly moist with a great line of silky fat left on for more enjoyment. My least favorite ribs were actually the winners while the sample from Pierson's, which was incredible on a recent visit, were over seasoned and oversmoked.

After the final results were tallied (and I was at the next BBQ joint watching the World Cup) there were four joints in the top three spots that will move on to next year's Smackdown.

#1 Smokin' Mike's
#2 Virgie's
#3 (tied) Pierson's
#3 (tied) Pizzitola's
#5 Vincek's
#6 Dozier's

In all, it was a great time, and a very well organized event. The system works well for good comparisons, but it is flawed by no fault of the Chowhounds. All of the meat that was sampled had been sliced at least an hour before it was eaten, if not longer. This created some brisket slices that were pretty dry for all the samples. It's really just a symptom of bringing samples from so far to one location, and the ability to sample so much good BBQ in one place far outweighed having to eat some slightly dry brisket. I can't wait for next year.

- BBQ Snob

No comments:


Each joint is judged on the essence of Texas 'cue...sliced brisket and pork ribs. Sausage is only considered if house made. Sauce is good, but good meat needs no adornment to satisfy. Each review can only be based on specific cuts of meat on that particular day. Finally, if the place fries up catfish or serves a caesar salad, then chances are they aren't paying enough attention to the pits, so we mostly steered clear.