The Butcher's Ball celebrates knowing your food and stuffing your face with it.
If you've never been, the Ball is made for people who love eating an outrageous amount of sustainably-raised meat, prepared by some of the most talented chefs and culinary leaders in Houston and beyond. By car or via party bus, about 1,100 people—400 more than in 2017—made the trek Sunday to the Rockin' Star Ranch in Brenham to be among more than 50 chefs, including Chris Davies of Uchi, E.J. Miller of International Smoke, Dawn Burrell of Kulture, and Rebecca Masson of Fluff Bake Bar.
A lineup of delicious craft cocktails was curated by celebrated bartender Alba Huerta of Julep, a Butcher's Brunch was held at 11 a.m. as a delicious prelude to the main event, and a people's choice competition closed out the fun.
Festival-goers had multiple opportunities to connect event-goers to their food and its producers. Panel discussions encouraged attendees to learn more about farm and food policies, and how to source local foods. Butcher demonstrations, featuring Julia Poplawsky from Central Texas Meat Collective and Gina Lopez of El Burro & The Bull, showed whole animal butchery, and outdoor live fire cooking demos brought medieval-looking meat-cooking techniques to life.
The event also featured an Urban Harvest farmers' market with growers, ranchers, and artisans who focus on local and sustainable products. Ticket-holders interested in a silent auction got an opportunity to bid on enormous bottles of wine, a private sherry class, and other unique dining experiences.
Entertainment included performances by Mason Lankford Family Band, DJ Mexican Blackbird, Western Bling, White Ghost Shivers, and Hard Luck Revival. Kinky Friedman served as emcee.
Winner of the people's choice competition, receiving the Golden Cleaver and $1,000, was Tony Luhrman of El Topo food truck, who stole the prize away from two-time winner Willow Villarreal and 24 other contestants. Teddy Lopez of Killen’s STQ finished in second place, and Erin & Patrick Feges of Feges BBQ came in third. The event raised more than $20,000 for Urban Harvest’s Farmers Market Program.
For more information, visit butchersball.com.