Meat Me Somewhere

Southern Smoke Festival Pivots with a Weekend of Events and Specials

While we can't all get in line for Franklin Barbecue, we can have plenty of beef, lamb, and pork.

By Timothy Malcolm September 22, 2020

Chris Shepherd's Southern Smoke Festival won't go on as planned this year, but it will still have a presence.

Between the sight of dozens of accomplished local and national chefs firing up meat dishes (and whatever else they want), the live music, the booze, and the always-long line of people hoping to get a bite of Franklin Barbecue's wares, the Southern Smoke Festival is always one of Houston's most anticipated food events. Sadly, this year's festival isn't happening, but there will be a presence.

Events supporting the Southern Smoke Emergency Relief Fund will run October 2 to 4 at foundation co-founder Chris Shepherd's restaurants. They include a sneak peek of a collaborative beer, a miniature taste of the festival at a farmers market, and a Zoom workshop for amateur and professional pitmasters.

Hay Merchant on October 2 will host an early look at Horseshoe pilsner, a beer made by Karbach Brewing Co. in partnership with Aaron Franklin's Hot Luck festival. It'll be on draft at the gastropub for $6 with plenty of food specials.

On October 3, Underbelly Hospitality will showcase a number of festival-inspired, ready-to-eat menu items, like beer-can chicken and a smoked-turkey Reuben, at Urban Harvest Farmers Market. From noon to 4 p.m. at One Fifth Mediterranean, Shepherd and chef de cuisine Matt Staph will host a lamb-and-chicken roast. Shawarma plates will be sold for $35. Also that day, Georgia James will be selling smoked brisket to-go.

Finally on October 4, UB Preserv will serve a smoked McRib pork bun and boozy Shamrock Shake for brunch. Also, Georgia James-chef de cuisine Greg Peters will host a Zoom class on smoking ribs. The $120 course comes with ingredients, including ribs, boudin, charred green bean panzanella, tater tot casserole, a dozen cookies, and a six-pack of Horseshoe pilsner.

A portion of proceeds from the events and specials will go to the Southern Smoke Emergency Relief Fund. Since March the organization has distributed more than $3.2 million to hospitality workers impacted by Covid-19.

For more information, visit each individual restaurant's website.

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