Houstonia BBQ

Old-Time Community Barbecues

The open-pit tradition of Austin Colony lives on.

By Robb Walsh March 15, 2013 Published in the April 2013 issue of Houstonia Magazine

Unlike their countrymen in Central Texas meat markets, the German settlers who began arriving in the Austin Colony in 1831 followed the example of their Southern neighbors, planting cotton and celebrating their holidays with open pit barbecue. The members of German verein societies, Czech churches, and Sons of Hermann Halls still hold annual community events that look amazingly similar to the barbecues of a century ago.

The party usually starts around 11 a.m. with barbecue, beer, and a polka band; more often than not, there’s some sort of raffle or roulette wheel for people who like to gamble for homemade cakes. If you want to see what old-fashioned Southern pit barbecue looks like, go visit one of these events early in the morning just before the meat comes off the fire. 

Annual Frydek Grotto Celebration

11 a.m., Sunday, April 28
St. Mary’s Catholic Church Grounds
FM 1458, 124 Zaruba Rd, Sealy

  • Brisket, chicken, homemade Czech sausage
  • Cake walk, auction, music, kids’ activities

Get there early if you want to buy homemade kolaches—they sell out fast.

Information: 979-885-3131

Peters Mother’s Day BBQ

11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m.
Sunday, May 12 (Mother’s Day)
Peters-Hacienda Community Hall
756 Trenckmann Rd, Sealy

  • Beef, pork
  • Cake walk, live auction, music, beanbag tournament at 2 p.m. 

This barbecue was originally organized by the Peters Schuetzen Verein (a German shooting club) and is one of the oldest in the area.

Information: 281-898-1346

Cat Spring Dance Hall Annual BBQ

11 a.m., Sunday, June 2
Cat Spring Agricultural Society Hall
13035 Hall Rd, Cat Spring

  • Beef, mutton, pork
  • Cake walk, live auction, polka band

The oldest community barbecue in Texas, this one goes back over 150 years.

Information: 979-865-2540 

Millheim Harmonie Verein’s Annual Father’s Day Barbecue

11 a.m., Sunday, June 16 (Father’s Day)
Millheim Harmonie Verein’s Dance Hall
3384 FM 949 Rd, Sealy

  • Beef, mutton, pork
  • Cake wheel, live auction, music

The old German dance hall is all that’s left of the ghost town of Millheim, so it’s hard to find on a map; it’s located seven miles east of Cat Springs on FM 949. This barbecue has been going on for over 80 years. Get there early to see the meat coming off the old-fashioned pits. Better yet, become a volunteer and help cook.

Information: 979-877-4408

For more community barbecue listings, visit ZenBBQ.com.

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