Yes, please.

Image: Gary Wise

The lineup has been announced for the fourth annual Southern Smoke festival, a collaboration between chef Chris Shepherd and the HOUBBQ Collective to showcase beautiful, mouth-melting meat in all its glory with the help of chefs from across the country.

The event, scheduled for 4-8 p.m. on September 30, is headlined by Momofuku stars: Matthew Rudofker, the director of culinary operations at David Chang’s empire that includes noodle bars, the renowned Ssam Bar, and Milk Bar, will be coming to Southern Smoke, along with Tae Strain, the executive chef at Momofuku CCDC, the modern take on Asian cuisine in Washington, D.C.

(Shepherd has himself chosen from the Momofuku cooking tree: Former Ssam Bar chef de cuisine Nick Wong is now the chef de cuisine at his UB Preserv.)

More names coming to Southern Smoke include Aaron Franklin of Franklin BBQ (he’s been to the festival every year), Vivian Howard of Chef & the Farmer in Kinston, N.C., Chris Bianco of Pizzeria Bianco in Phoenix, Edouardo Jordan of Salare in Seattle, Ryan Prewitt of Peche Seafood Grill in New Orleans, Daniela Soto-Innes of Cosme and Atla in New York, Sam Jones of Sam Jones BBQ in Winterville, N.C., Pat Martin of Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint in Nashville, Jason Vincent of Giant in Chicago, and Billy Durney of Hometown Bar-B-Que in New York.

Attendees will get to eat a lot of grub cooked up by these chefs, and drink (red, white, rose, Sierra Nevada beer, a few specialty cocktails) in a space surrounding Shepherd’s locations: Hay Merchant, Blacksmith, and Georgia James, plus Legacy Community Health. Tickets are $200, $350 for VIPs (limit 400 people), and $1,000 for Super VIPs (includes a culinary tour with chefs the Friday before).

Proceeds for Southern Smoke go to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society in honor of Antonio Gianola, a friend of Shepherd’s diagnosed with MS, plus a fund for food-and-beverage industry workers needing emergency assistance.

Tickets go on sale noon Tuesday at

Show Comments
In this Article

Georgia James

$$$ Steak 1100 Westheimer Rd.

Sitting inside chef Chris Shepherd's steakhouse—a spinoff of his first One Fifth concept that took over the space once occupied by Underbelly—it's easy to be...

Editor’s Pick


$ Café 1018 Westheimer Rd.

Fans of coffee whiz David Buehrer’s original coffee shop, Greenway Coffee & Tea, have followed him over to his second location—Blacksmith, which occupies...

Editor’s Pick

The Hay Merchant

$$ American/New American 1100 Westheimer Rd.

The Hay Merchant is arguably the most serious domestic craft beer bar in the country. With cooking that goes well beyond the expected bar food or salty, beer...