Aaron Franklin’s Hot Luck festival will debut in Austin in a couple weeks. Despite Franklin’s involvement, this isn’t strictly a barbecue festival, but smoked meat fans needn’t worry. There are still plenty of talented pitmasters coming to Austin for the highly anticipated food festival.
The Hi Lo and Al Fuego, Friday and Saturday respectively, are the two big evening events. Hi Lo will feature some of Franklin’s famous barbecue, but don’t expect brisket. Franklin told me he’s been playing around with a smoked/braised shoulder clod, a cut still popular at legendary spots like Kreuz Market. There’ll also be short rib mole from Austin’s Launderette and Korean pork ribs from Jason Dady, who you may have seen on the Food Network’s Iron Chef Gauntlet. (Full lineup here.)
As Al Fuego’s name suggests, there will be plenty of meat over fires at the Wild Onion Ranch. Local restaurants like Kemuri Tastsu-Ya will serve a riff on Hawaiian musubi, but replace the Spam with smoked pork jowl. Central Standard is bringing bison brisket pastrami, while Valentina’s will smoke marsala-glazed beef ribs. For classic barbecue lovers, Two Bros. BBQ Market, a Top 50 San Antonio barbecue joint in 2013, will bring their smoked meats. From further afield, Portland chefs are all about pork ribs. Andy Ricker from Pok Pok will cook up some Gaam Muu Yang (Thai style pork ribs), and Nong Poonsukwattana from Nong’s is deep frying some pork spare ribs. Momofuku will serve their famous smoked pork buns from the other coast.
The dish I’m most excited about is the smoked beef tongue from Adam Perry Lang. I tried this dish a couple years ago at an event in LA that featured Adam Perry Lang alongside Francis Mallmann and Wolfgang Puck. It was the best dish there, and I’m still thinking about it. (Full lineup here.)
A few events are only available to those with The Whole Enchilada package ($550). That includes the Saturday late night whole hog from San Antonio’s Mixtli at a Hawaii-Texas event. Also in that package is the Thursday night Hi, How Are You dinner at Franklin Barbecue. It’s the Hot Luck welcome event where Aaron Franklin will be slicing brisket and his new house made sausages inside the restaurant, and Roy Choi will be there with kalbi (Korean beef short ribs). If you want to hang out in the parking lot, I’ll be standing at a charcoal grill searing smoked strip steaks destined for tacos on Valentina’s tortillas. Come by and say hello.