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Texas Monthly blazes a trail to the state’s barbecue capital for 2022 festival

Texas Monthly blazes a trail to state’s barbecue capital for 2022 fest

"Meat" the state's best barbecue at the annual Texas Monthly BBQ Fest. Texas Monthly/Instagram

Austin’s famous annual “meat” up event hosted by barbecue authority Texas Monthly is firing up a smokin’ new location for its expanded BBQ Fest this fall.

Texas Monthly’s 13th annual BBQ Fest, which has long been hosted in Austin and features a dizzying variety of pitmasters and barbecue brainiacs, is moving to a new locale just 30 miles southeast of Austin — Lockhart, aka the official barbecue capital of Texas — with a scaled-up two-day event on November 5 and 6.

“I am very excited to have Texas Monthly’s BBQ Fest come to Lockhart,” says Lew White, the mayor of Lockhart, via a release. “Our barbecue attracts hundreds of thousands of tourists each year, and we are proud to host the next generation of pitmasters. It’s a great opportunity to showcase that Lockhart is not only a great place to visit, but it’s also a great place to raise your family or locate your business.”

The festival, which routinely attracts thousands of meatheads, has been in a bit of a pickle in recent years, with the pandemic railroading it to a virtual event in 2020 and a three-stop Texas road-trip version in 2021.

But this year’s festival is staking its claim in the charming hamlet of Lockhart, which boasts a handful of the state’s most notable barbecue joints.

Highlighting a range of Texas barbecue spots — from historic classics to newcomers gracing Texas Monthly’s most recent list of the top 50 meaty spots in the state — the fest kicks off this year with an all-new event: a BBQ World’s Fair on Saturday, November 5 that’s open to the public.

According to the publication, the fair will feature “experiences and activities that showcase the wide, eclectic world of barbecue, its different aspects and flavors, the array of techniques behind the craft, as well as the people and culture surrounding it.”

Then, on Sunday, November 6, the traditional barbecue extravaganza gets cooking, with ticketed festivalgoers getting access to some of the state’s most celebrated pitmasters and their meat-tastic offerings.

“Before we even wrapped the BBQ Fest Road Trip in 2021, we were already brainstorming with our barbecue editor, Daniel Vaughn, about how to bring back the big, in-person festival,” says Melissa Reese, Texas Monthly’s director of video and events.

“There’s a lot to celebrate with this new format: a new top 50 list, the rich history and culture of barbecue, and the ability to gather more safely,” Reese continues. “For a handful of reasons, Lockhart became apparent as the ideal setting. We’ve got some ideas in the works, and we’re looking forward to creating a fun, memorable weekend for anyone and everyone with a love for Texas barbecue.”

Details about tickets and programming for Texas Monthly’s 13th annual BBQ Fest in Lockhart will be released as the event nears. Barbecue fans can join the Texas Monthly barbecue newsletter and visit the event’s Facebook page for updates.