Fire it Up

Austin's Hot Luck releases smokin' chef lineup and more meaty details

Austin's Hot Luck releases smokin' chef lineup and more meaty details

Hot Luck Food Festival
Hot Luck returns for a fourth year.  Photo by Alison Narro

UPDATE: On March 24, Hot Luck organizers announced this year's festival is being postponed until Memorial Day weekend 2021, due to concerns over COVID-19. Read the full statement here


Aaron Franklin's famed Hot Luck is back for a fourth year, bringing another smokin' lineup of chefs, music, and more.

Billed as a "one-of-a-kind finger-licking and finger-picking good time," Hot Luck is the brainchild of Franklin, Mohawk owner James Moody, and Feast Portland co-founder Mike Thelin. The festival is a unique fusion of food and music that attracts some of the best culinary talent in the country to venues across Austin.

This year, the festival returns Memorial Day weekend, May 21-24, and kicks things off with the The Giddy Up welcome party at the Mohawk on Thursday, May 21. Open to chefs, friends, and Whole Enchilada pass holders, the party will feature Mason Hereford of New Orleans' Turkey and the Wolf along with Austin-based chefs Mike Diaz (Oseyo), Yoshi Okai (Otoko), and Jason Stude (East Austin Hotel).

On Friday, May 22, attendees can head to Hi, How Are You?: Franklin Barbecue, a "backyard get together" hosted by the James Beard Award-winning Franklin along with Andy Ricker, Pok Pok (Portland, Oregon); Ashley Christensen, Poole’s Diner (Raleigh); Elias Cairo, Olympia Provisions (Portland, Oregon); siblings Howard and Anita Hsu, Sweet Auburn BBQ (Atlanta); Chris Shepherd, UB Preserv (Houston); and Rebecca Masson, Fluff Bake Bar (Houston). The out-of-towners join Austin's Andrew Wiseheart (Contigo), Chad Dolezal (Troublemaker), David Norman (Easy Tiger), and Fiore Tedesco (L’Oca D’Oro). Passes to the Hi, How Are You?: Franklin Barbecue event are open to Whole Enchilada and individual ticket holders. 

Hot Luck's main event, Al Fuego, returns to Wild Onion Ranch on Saturday, May 23, for "a live-action, flame-fueled celebration of open-air cooking styles."

Sitting in the hot seat will be Alon Shaya, Saba (New Orleans); Arlin Smith and Andrew Taylor, Eventide Oyster Co. (Portland, Maine); Bonnie Morales, Kachka (Portland, Oregon); Chris Cosentino, Rosalie (Houston); Chris Kronner, KronnerBurger (Oakland); Donny Sirisavath, Khao Noodle Shop (Dallas); Earl Ninsom, EEM (Portland, Oregon); Gregory Gourdet, Departure (Portland, Oregon); Howard and Anita Hsu in partnership with Tillamook, Sweet Auburn BBQ (Atlanta); Joe Beddia, Pizzeria Beddia (Philadelphia); Jorge Hernandez, Veramendi House (San Antonio); Maneet Chauhan, Chauhan Ale & Masala House (Nashville); Pat Martin, Martin’s BBQ (Nashville); Reem Assil, Reem’s California (Oakland); Sarah Grueneberg, Monteverde (Chicago); and Steve McHugh, Cured (San Antonio);

Joining them will be local chefs Ben Runkle and Bryan Butler (Salt & Time), Taylor Hall (Apis), Todd Duplechan and Jessica Maher (Vixen’s Wedding), Bradley Nicholson (Lutie’s), Chris Schaefer (Geraldine’s), Gabe Erales (Comedor), Jordan Sanchez (Garrison), Kevin Fink (Hestia), Rick Lopez (La Condesa), and Sarah McIntosh (Epicerie). This event is open to Whole Enchilada and individual ticket holders. 

The next morning, the action will return to Wild Onion Ranch for Camp Sunnyside, a brunch-inspired ... brunch. "Camp Sunnyside is all about brunch, everybody’s favorite, slow-and-low cooked weekend meal that was created in equal parts by carbs, coffee, late last nights, and salty cooked meats," notes a release.

Whipping up this year's brunch is Blaine Wetzel, The Willows Inn (Lummi Island, Washington); Chris Bianco, Pizzeria Bianco (Phoenix); Chris Pentzlin, The Standard (Maldives); Jose Enrique, Jose Enrique Restaurante (San Juan, Puerto Rico); Matty Matheson (Toronto); and Mei Lin, Nightshade (Los Angeles).

Austin-based talent will include Callie Speer (Holly Roller), Melissa Carroll (Le Politique), Michael Fojtasek (Olamaie), Sarah Heard and Nathan Lemley (Foreign & Domestic), Tatsu Aikawa (Tatsu-Ya), Tavel Bristol-Joseph (Kalimotxo), Edgar Rico (Nixta Taqueria), Gabe Erales (Comedor), Jesse Griffiths (Dai Due), and Laura Sawicki (Launderette).

Hot Luck tickets are on sale now, including the deluxe package — the Whole Enchilada — available for $550. Access for Whole Enchiladians includes The Giddy Up; Hi, How Are You?: Franklin Barbecue; and early entry for both Al Fuego and Sunnyside Brunch at Wild Onion Ranch. The pass also offers access to every music show. A portion of all ticket sales will go to SAFE Alliance.

Additional single tickets are also on sale for both events and music. More information and pricing can be found here

And speaking of music. Though the full lineup hasn't been released yet, the chef press release did tease a few acts: Dinosaur Jr., Hayes Carll, and DJ Jazzy Jeff. More bands should be announced in the coming weeks.