We're hosting 10 of the most revered pitmasters in Texas.
Louie Mueller Barbecue
When there is a list of top barbecue in the country, Louie Mueller Barbecue in Taylor is usually on it. Louie, himself, managed the town’s first Safeway store back in 1936, from there, he went on to open his own store and then, in 1949, his barbecue joint. The store relocated to its current location at 206 W. Second St. in 1959. Bobby took over the family business and when Louie retired in 1974.
The place was featured in Chris Elley’s highly acclaimed documentary, "Barbecue: A Texas Love Story," in 2004 and the next year in the Emmy-winning documentary, "the Masters of Texas Barbecue" by Russell Yarnell. Many awards and accolades later, Louie Mueller was named the "Official Best Barbecue in Texas — 2008".
Vencil Mares served as a medic in World War II. When he returned to Central Texas after the war, he went to work for Southside Market in Elgin making $25 a week. It was there, working in the smoke pit, that he learned the secrets of the barbecue trade, including how to make his much acclaimed sausage. Eventually, he saved up enough to buy an old railroad hotel north of the tracks in Taylor and opened Taylor Café in 1949. Taylor Café’s hundred-year-old building is as distinctive as Vencil’s ketchup-based barbecue sauce, complete with jukebox, mismatched bar stools, and an antique cash register. Taylor Café has been housed in the same building since it opened and the quality of its menu have never waivered.
Brotherton's black iron Barbecue
John Brotherton is working to put Pflugerville on the barbecue map with his catering and pop-up Brotherton Barbecue. John has worked in the Hall of Flame BBQ in Pflugerville and Curly’s in Round Rock and brings flavor to the table. You won’t want to miss it.
The Stiles Switch BBQ & Brew team is led by Taylor native and owner Shane Stiles along with lead pitmaster Lance Kirkpatrick. Kirkpatrick brings more than 15 years of industry experience and an impressive resume to the table.
Named after the historic 1800s I.&G.N. Railroad stop Stiles Switch, Texas, Shane’s inspiration is derived from his admiration of the Texas BBQ Legends he was raised on growing up in Central Texas. Stiles Switch plays tribute to these Texas “greats” by assembling a passionate team with decades of industry experience. Stiles is focused on setting the bar high with his “no corners cut” methods of preparation and selection of quality product.
The Original Blacks Barbecue
The “Original Black’s Barbecue” opened in 1932. Now four generations of the Edgar Black family later, the Original Black’s in Lockhart is the oldest BBQ joint in Texas, always owned by the same family! Named a “Top 50 in Texas BBQ Joint” by the Texas Monthly magazine, the Original Black’s BBQ continues to serve generations of Texans.
Pappa Charlie’s Barbecue
Wesley Jurena credits his dad – Charlie – for getting him hooked on barbecue. He cooked his first brisket in 1983, when he was 18. After what he says were “25 years of burning meat in the backyard,” he moved on to the competition circuit where he competed for five years before setting up shop out of a 20-foot trailer. Receiving acclaim from some of the top barbecue voices in state, Pappa Charlie’s opened its brick and mortar restaurant in October 2015
Southside Market & BBQ
Elgin & Bastrop
First established in 1882, Southside Market & Barbeque is the oldest BBQ joint in Texas! Started in Elgin, Texas by William J. Moon selling fresh meats door to door from the back of a wagon. With no refrigeration to store his overstocked meats, Mr. Moon began smoking them, over Texas post oak wood, to sell as barbeque. Using his beef trimmings to make sausage, Southside quickly became known for their Original Elgin Hot Guts! When Mr. and Mrs. Ernest Bracewell bought the business in 1968, they continued the tradition of serving top quality meats while also working to make Southside more of a family friendly, all-inclusive market and dining option for the Elgin community. Now owned and operated by third generation Pitmaster Bryan Bracewell, Southside has grown to two restaurants with butcher shops as well as a USDA inspected processing facility where the company produces and distributes Southside branded sausage and barbeque products across Texas and many other states in the USA.
MICKLETHWAIT CRAFT MEATS
Serving Central Texas style barbecue in East Austin since December 2012, Micklethwait’s house-made specialties include house-made sausage, brisket, sliced pork shoulder, house-made bread and pickles, and unique desserts and sides such as homemade moon pies and jalapeño cheese grits. They won the Austin Chronicle’s Beef Rib Smackdown in January 2014 and have been featured on The Jimmy Kimmel Show, The Cooking Channel’s Eat Street, The Discovery Channel’s Barbecue Paradise, The Wall Street Journal, Esquire, Texas Monthly, and more!
Riscky’s BBQ has been around for over 75 years serving up the finest in mouth-watering ribs, BBQ sandwiches and chicken and so much more. The world renowned Riscky’s barbeque is hand-rubbed with “Riscky Dust” and slow smoked for hours. According to the folks that work at Riscky’s and the customers who frequent the restaurants, Riscky’s has become a legend in Texas barbeque.
Robert Sierra, Pitmaster S&S Pit Crew & Heinz Brand Ambassador
If he looks familiar, it's because Pitmaster Robert Sierra was featured as a Heinz BBQ Sauce Brand Ambassador who helped create Heinz Texas Style Bold & Spicy BBQ Sauce. Robert and his S&S Pit Crew competition BBQ Texas from San Marcos has won numerous Grand Championships and Reserve Grand Championships. Robert was featured on the Travel Channels BBQ Crawl, All You Can Eat Meat and on Jimmy Kimmel Live TV Programs. Competition style Texas BBQ is highly regarded as the best in the US. We are honored to have Robert Sierra's competition flavor at our Barbecue Festival.