Houstonians are thrilled by the return of the Houston Livestock Clearly show and Rodeo. This calendar year marks its 90th anniversary and celebrations have been in total drive with the Rodeo Uncorked Finest Bites, the Bar-B-Cue Contest and Tuesday, the Gold Buckle Foodie Awards.
We had the prospect to sit with a assortment of judges for the Gold Buckle awards from neighborhood radio and television hosts to Houston food stuff writers and social media influencers. At a single table sat an esteemed group of Houston chefs, some Prime Chef and Learn Chef opponents, that provided Dawn Burrell, Evelyn Garcia, Aaron Bludorn, Suu Khin and Joseph Manglicmot.
The event was held at The Ranch Saloon + Steakhouse from Berg Hospitality. The upscale dining location built its Rodeo debut this 12 months and proprietor Benjamin Berg was on hand to exhibit off his new undertaking, a rodeo tent like no other. Big wood beams supported the canopy and blown-up images of cowboys, horses and Western landscapes lined the partitions. There was a fabulous a combine of lights with wrought iron, crystal and antlered chandeliers providing the area a rustic, but sophisticated, experience.
As with most rodeo occasions, there had been smiling volunteers keen to be sure to and make anyone welcome. The judges sat at very long communal tables with many rodeo helpers assigned to every. Our table bundled Ruben Dominguez and Chelsea Edwards from Fox 26, Sarah Pepper and Jesse Watt from Mix 96.5 and Katie Stone, daughter of the late Cleverley Stone.
Our hosts welcomed us and we started the tasting and judging. In 2020, two days ahead of the pandemic shut down the Houston Rodeo, the judges tasted diverse meals at just about every desk. This yr, the course of action was streamlined with the judges obtaining the leading 3 rodeo foods in every single classification that had currently been voted on by the community.
To start with up was the Most effective Fried Food. We began with the Fried Jambalaya Roll from Cajun Cowboys. It was a terrific commence. It was basically an egg roll filled with jambalaya and the roll elicited eye rolls of satisfaction from the members, at the very least at our desk. The following fried food stuff was the Funnel Cake Monte Cristo served with curly fries. However, the fries experienced previously taken a switch for the worse and were chilly and tasteless but would almost certainly be mouth watering when ordered at the Sills Concession stand. The Monte Cristo itself was delicious, providing on the sweet and savory flavors that make the concoction so craveable. We were also served a Chicken Tender Basket with waffle fries from Holmes Smokehouse and they had been really much what one would hope from fried hen tenders accomplished very well.
We were then presented with 3 items for Ideal Food-on-a-Adhere. The Berry Racer Caramel Apple was pretty but given that we ended up sharing every product, it had to be sliced at the desk by our volunteer, an older cowboy from Amarillo. We are pretty certain this was the initial, and past, time he has at any time experienced to carve up a caramel apple. The environmentally friendly apple aided to tamper the sweetness of the white chocolate and caramel a bit but we each individual experienced a minor problem chewing it. How a person would take in this on the rodeo floor, we do not know.
The 2nd stick entry was the Beef K-BOB from Saltgrass Steakhouse. It was cooked quite on the rare side which remaining it particularly tender, simple to take in and it was properly-seasoned. The Spice Corn Canine arrived late owing to a again-up with the contestants from CornDog With No Identify. They had 3 entries for the function so it was easy to understand. It was a very simple corn pet with a small little bit of warmth from the jalapeno within but what stood out was the perfectly fried and mild batter. This was a winner for us but not absolutely everyone agreed.
When it came time for Typical Truthful Food stuff, the volunteers introduced out some significant dishes. Even though it was a very little disconcerting sharing and passing food about in the time of COVID, 1 just has to say a little blessing and hope for the ideal at this point. We are vaccinated, boosted and experienced a quick situation of COVID so here’s to hoping for immunity.
Our table dug into the All Meat Stuffed Baked Potato from Harlon’s BBQ, a frequent winner at the Gold Buckle Foodie Award. It was a massive baker topped with smoked turkey, sausage, brisket and tender ribs. It received initially location in its group, offering owner Candace Harlon yet another notch in her Gold Buckle belt. The Pulled Pork Baked Potato from Saltgrass Steakhouse was significantly less complicated for just one diner to take in with meltingly tender barbecue pork atop a additional moderately sized baked potato. The Brisket Cheese Fries from Spring County Kitchen was a single of this writer’s favorites but most of the men and women at our desk were being unimpressed. Nicely, we can by no means get sufficient of loaded fries and for carnival food stuff, it features all the consolation 1 would hope of cheesy, meaty French fries.
The Most Innovative Meals category was surprisingly uncreative. The Steak Salad from Saltgrass Steakhouse was tasty with the sum of all its areas but rarely ground breaking. On the other hand, these have been the top rated a few winners out of 7. Harlon’s Stuffed Turkey Leg was a tad on the dry facet, filled with a rice dressing. The Bonfire Funnel Cake from CornDog With No Title was torched tableside, supplying the marshmallows on leading the flavor of a campfire roast. Topped with a couple of graham crackers and a mild chocolate drizzle, it deservedly won to start with put in its group.
We judges had been obtaining down to the wire with a few popping antacids and discussing waistband changes. Our nevertheless smiling volunteers brought out the 3 dishes for Greatest New Flavor. We ended up served a different egg roll, this time a Bacon Mac & Cheese Egg Roll from The Finer Diner. When our desk found it instead bland, it have to have happy the some others simply because it took house to start with spot. The Brisket Bacon Soften was a messy affair and complicated to share amid 7 folks. We felt that we couldn’t actually give it its thanks as this kind of but it received 2nd position. Personally, we relished the creativeness of the Island Slaw from Island Noodles, a welcome addition to all the barbecue and meat-large entries.
Last but not least, the function was capped with Very best Dessert. The Fried Red Velvet Cupcake from Sills Funnel Cakes wowed our table. The Chocolate Turtle Cookie Sandwich was fantastic but not a stunning dessert. The Yellow Rose Funnel Cake was topped with a very yellow bloom but it had all of the judges wondering where by the standout taste was. We figured the drizzle of icing had a citrus trace but not ample to give it the edge. Nonetheless, it was a properly done funnel cake and that’s what carnival goers hope.
Right after the tasting, judges and contestants adjourned to the bar location and waited for the winners to be announced. Some of the judges lamented the reality that this year’s entries weren’t as above-the-top as past Gold Buckle individuals. There were being no Scorching Cheetos to be noticed on nearly anything, a craze that may be heading the way numerous foods developments do.
When the winners have been declared, the suppliers each individual posed with their ribbons as their shots ended up taken though the panel of judges and rodeo volunteers cheered their really hard get the job done.
For all those whose appetites have been whetted by the Gold Buckle Foodie highlights, the Houston Livestock Present and Rodeo runs through March 20 and Houstonians can give these foodie companies their guidance whilst making the most of some damn good eats.
HLSR 2022 Gold Buckle Foodie Awards Winners
Most effective Fried Foods:
1st: Deep Fried Jambalaya Roll – Cajun Cowboys
2nd: Funnel Cake Monte Cristo Basket – Sills Concessions INC
3rd: Chicken Tender Basket – Holmes Smokehouse
1st: The Berry Racer Caramel Apple – Munch-oes Bakery
2nd:Beef K-BOB on a Adhere – Saltgrass Steakhouse
3rd: The Spice Corn Puppy – CornDog With No Name
Vintage Fair Foods:
1st: Harlon’s All Meat Stuffed Potato
2nd: Pulled Pork Baked Potato – Saltgrass Steakhouse
3rd: Brisket Cheese Fries – Spring County Kitchen
Most Artistic Food:
1st: The Bonfire Funnel Cake – CornDog With No Name
2nd: Harlon’s Stuffed Turkey Leg – Harlon’s BBQ
3rd: Steak Salad – Saltgrass Steakhouse
Most effective New Flavor:
1st: Bacon Mac & Cheese Egg Roll – The Finer Diner
2nd: Brisket Bacon Melt – Spring County Kitchen
3rd: Island Slaw – Island Noodles
Very best Dessert:
1st: Fried Purple Velvet Cupcake – Sills Funnel Cakes
2nd: Chocolate Turtle Cookie Sandwich – Munch-oes Bakery
3rd: The Yellow Rose Funnel Cake – CornDog With No Name