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Austin Barbecue Society

by Matt Gross

Not long ago, Evan LeRoy (chef/pit master at Freedmen’s Bar) and I were talking about the direction of barbecue. What does the future of barbecue look like? Who will be cooking and what will they cook? Who is advancing the cause of smoked meat in Texas?

All of these questions (and many more) led us to form the Austin Barbecue Society.

On June 24th, 2013 we held the inaugural dinner of the Austin Barbecue Society. It was a resounding success and had some really awesome folks attending.

Chef LeRoy prepared the first dinner and allowed me to assist with prep work. I had a blast, to say the least.

Our first meal was four courses and the theme was Cuisine of India. The courses were as follows:

  1. Smoked spinach and kale saag with housemade, lightly smoked paneer cheese.
  2. Curried potato salad with cashews.
  3. Smoked lamb vindaloo.
  4. Mango lassi shot.

Everyone had a favorite for the night, but mine was the smoked lamb vindaloo. The lamb was soft and supple, and the sauce packed a nice spice and anĀ unbelievableĀ flavor.

John Lewis, pit master at La Barbecue and brilliant flavor engineer, brought a second dessert that was incredible. He served black pepper ice cream over strawberries with balsamic vinegar, topped with candied orange peel. My God, it was amazing.

I’m still working on where exactly the Austin Barbecue Society is headed (I think amazing places), but for now I’m going to keep it simple and continue down the path we’ve already started: small, themed dinners with chefs and pit masters from around the Austin area (and a little outside).

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