Houston, the Brits are back.
We’re stoked to have been invited to compete in the World’s Championship Bar-B-Que contest for the third year running. At the end of this week, we’ll be going toe to toe with the best cook teams in the US, and this year we’re upping the stakes.
In previous years we’ve just been involved in the brisket, but this year we’re entering in chicken, ribs and the Dutch Oven dessert categories. It’s gonna be a lot more work, but we’re pumped for the challenge.
We’ve had a few days to explore Texas beforehand, so here’s the best of what we’ve got up to so far…
Putting it plainly, the journey is a long one. 1 hour drive to the airport + 10 hours on the plane (with plenty of refreshments…) + 1 hour in a hire car = serious jet lag kicking in.
To shake off the cobwebs, we headed straight out in search of a crawfish boil because, well, Texas. After a bit of light TripAdvisor research, we hit up LA Crawfish. We were immediately reassured by the snaking queue coming out of the door (anyone who came to Call Lane circa 2013, we hear ya).
We didn’t go hungry either. We went for their biggest platter, which was filled to the brim with authentic cajun crawfish. Pinch the head, suck the tail and you’re in heaven. They do sides a bit differently here too – buttered corn and full potatoes served in boil bags. Just don’t think about the calorie count…
As you may know, we’ve been lucky enough to launch our rubs and sauces into supermarkets across the country. The feedback has been amazing (thanks to everyone who’s bought one!), and we’ve been working hard on a new range of products.
We headed up to LL Longhorns – a huge ranch in the sticks owned Scottish expat Neil. He very kindly let us film there all day to promote some new products that are on the way.
Watch this space for the videos, and the products will be hitting shelves in the very near future.
CHAPPELL HILL BAKERY & DELI
After a solid day’s filming, we hit up the Chappell Hill Bakery & Deli.
To start off, they take a unique stance on allergens…
We obviously didn’t head there for the bakery, we’d heard from a local that this place slings some seriously good ‘cue. And they were right.
As you’d expect, we got a little bit of everything, and the highlight was definitely the St. Louis spare ribs – full of meat, perfect smoke ring and left huge bite marks. The cheese & jalapeño sausage was also strong, but we steered clear of the brisket – we’ll be eating enough of that over the course of the next few days…
Sides-wise, the mac-n-cheese was some of the best we’ve ever had – the Texans use Velveeta, a smooth cheese that makes the texture and consistency a lot thicker. We can’t really source it over in Britain, so we use burger cheese instead. Either way, you could eat it for days.
We then met up with Chuck and Darlene, our hosts for the week. Chuck is a former Grand Champion, so it’s safe to say we’re in good company. He also happens to be one of the nicest guys on the planet, which definitely helps.
The great thing about Chuck is that he knows a lot of people, and has a tone of recommendations on places to eat. He insisted we hit up Mamaritas in Pasadena for some Mexican, and who were we to say no?
We went for a fajita platter (and some margaritas, obviously) which came out looking like a British buffet on steroids. But instead of cheese being stuck in a pineapple, it was prawns stuck in hot peppers. It was flanked by hunks of meat – steak, chicken, pork and even quail. Next level stuff!
We’re now waiting for the big event – keep checking back to the blog to see how we get on. And wish us luck!