Temperatures are on the rise ushering in a sizzling season of summer grilling and backyard barbecues. After all, there’s nothing like a little fire and smoke on your favorite foods to evoke the true taste of summer — that and an ice cold beer.
This year, let some of the state’s top grilling gurus inspire you with some of their best open fire skills at Live Fire!, a sizzling barbecue feast put on by the Austin Food and Wine Alliance at the Salt Lick Pavilion in Driftwood on Thursday, April 26, from 6:30 — 9 p.m.
A beneficiary of the 2012 Tastemaker Awards, the Austin Food and Wine Alliance is the new culinary nonprofit to erupt out of the former Texas Hill Country Wine and Food Festival. The organization is committed to fostering awareness and innovation in the Central Texas food and beverage community giving back to the local culinary community through a grant program for chefs, farmers, artisan producers and nonprofits.
It also happens to be the key beneficiary of the Austin Food and Wine Festival. This year, LiveFire! will kick off the first new national festival with a taste of some of the best Central Texas has to offer — with appearances from a few out-of-state friends as well.
Joining Austin favorites such as Aaron Franklin of Franklin Barbecue, Josh Watkins of The Carillon, Andrew Wiseheart of Contigo, Jesse Griffiths of Dai Due and of course, Salt Lick owner, Scott Roberts, will be Jason Dady of Bin 555 and Tre Trattoria in San Antonio and Naomi Pomeroy of Beast and Adam Sappington of Country Cat in Portland.
“The smell of all those chefs grilling beef on the banks of Onion Creek; Hell, Sam Houston, William B. Travis and Davy Crockett will probably even show up.”
“Who doesn't love the spring time in Texas,” says San Antonio chef Jason Dady. “Outdoor weather at its best with grilling and plenty of libations? I love this event. It’s a great way for us to meet new people and show them how they too can become masters of the grill at home.”
Hosted at the Salt Lick Pavilion, which lies on little bluff along the banks of Onion Creek, this is the second year for Live Fire! but the first for the AFWA as an official non-profit organization, which gives attendees and participating chefs, wineries, breweries and distilleries a little added incentive for celebrating the great culinary tradition that is Texas barbecue.
At least, that’s how Salt Lick owner Scott Roberts feels about it, “The smell of all those chefs grilling beef on the banks of Onion Creek; Hell, Sam Houston, William B. Travis and Davy Crockett will probably even show up.”
The evening festivities will be accompanied by the swinging Texas tunes of the Elana James Trio and refreshing libations will be served from local wineries, breweries, distilleries and more including Becker Vineyards, Fall Creek Vineyards, Savvy Vodka, Deep Eddy Sweet Tea Vodka, Cypress Creek Rum, Paula’s Texas Orange and Paula’s Texas Lemon, Jester King, Twisted X Brewing Company, Hops & Grain, and Live Oak Brewing Company as well as Cuvée Coffee.
National and International wines will include selections from Cape Classics (South Africa), Chat Greysac (France), Robert Hall Winery (California), Frederick Wildan (France & Spain), Feudo Arancio (Italy), Angoves Family (Australia), Donna Paula (Argentina), Terlato Wines International, Trinchero Family Estates (California), Dulce Vida Organic Tequila (Mexico) and Maker’s Mark bourbon.
Tickets are $75 and can be purchased at the Austin Food and Wine Alliance website.
To further tempt your tastebuds, here’s a quick glimpse at the menu:
Aaron Franklin of Franklin Barbecue, Austin - The Tipsy Texan featuring Franklin Barbecue’s famed chopped brisket and sausage piled high on a bun with purple coleslaw and pickles
Naomi Pomeroy of Beast, Portland, OR - Grape-wood smoked New York strip loin with caramelized onion and horseradish mustard. Served with bone marrow and caramelized tomato tarts
Adam Sappington of the Country Cat, Portland, OR - Grilled beef shanks tossed in roasted garlic and sherry vinegar sauce with bone marrow butter and Maker’s Mark® sauce. Served with smoked beef brisket, black eyed peas and collard greens
Jason Dady of Jason Dady Restaurants, San Antonio - Charred brisket with blue cheese spoonbread, caramelized onion puree and housemade pickles with Guinness gastrique
Ned Elliott of Foreign & Domestic, Austin - Dolce de leche beef tongue with Maker’s Mark sauce and salsa verde
Josh Watkins of The Carillon, Austin - Beef cheeks and beef ribs served with corn pudding and pickled vegetables
Andrew Wiseheart of Contigo, Austin - Cured beef heart with chicory salad
John Bullington of Alamo Drafthouse, Austin - Whole cow with coal corn mescal pudding
Reece Lagunas of Whole Foods Market, Austin - Barbacoa with marrow butter
Scott Roberts of Salt Lick Bar-B-Que, Driftwood - Brisket tacos and brisket hush puppies
Jonathan Gelman of The Driskill Hotel, Austin - Fire-grilled and smoked beef tri tip served with cast-iron cornbread puree and fire-grilled corn relish
Damian Mandola of Mandola’s Italian Market & John Lichtenberger of Trattoria Lisina, Austin - Italian steak pizza, beef spiedini served with risotto
Jesse Griffiths of Dai Due Supper Club & Butcher Shop, Austin - Grilled beef blood sausage served with rutabaga puree with red wine, tortillas and charred onion salsa