that’s hot!

Austin’s chef-centric food and music festival returns with fiery 4-day fete

Austin’s chef-centric food and music festival returns with fiery fete

Hot Luck Fest
Things are heating up in anticipation of Hot Luck Fest. Photo courtesy of Hot Luck Fest

Austin’s favorite backyard cookout — helmed by local meat genius Aaron Franklin — is getting all fired up for its jubilant return this Memorial Day weekend, and every ingredient of the four-day fest, from the musical entertainment to the chefs and tantalizing bites, is guaranteed to be red-hot.

Hot Luck Fest, the annual food and music experience that has been on hold for the past couple years because of the pandemic, will flare back up in Austin May 26-29 at a variety of local spots and with plenty of juicy offerings for festivalgoers to sink their teeth into.

Individual tickets and weekend passes for Hot Luck Fest are available for purchase at hotluckfest.com.

Founded by James Beard Award winner Aaron Franklin of in-demand hot spot Franklin Barbecue, as well as Mohawk owner James Moody, and Mike Thelin, cofounder of Feast Portland, Hot Luck Fest is specifically designed to highlight the best chefs, cooks, and musicians from all over the country and beyond.

Hot Luck Fest is also a charitable event, with this year’s fest benefiting the Southern Smoke Foundation, which supports the food-and-beverage industry workers nationwide.

“Super stoked that we’re able to bring Hot Luck back this year. I’ve invited a whole lot of my homies to come down to Austin to cook,” Franklin says. “We’ve all been through a lot in the last year and a half, and it’s going to be fun to all get together and catch up and help our friends at Southern Smoke, who continue to serve our industry unfailingly.”

While daytime events feature all the chef-y bites every foodie craves, in the evenings, Hot Luck Fest shifts its focus to music, with live performances at some of Austin’s most iconic clubs, including Mohawk and Antone’s. And ticket prices for music shows start at only $10.

This year’s performers include Superchunk, Shannon and The Clams, DJ Jazzy Jeff with DJ Mel, Cam Cole, Joe Marcinek Band featuring George Porter Jr., and more.

Here’s the rundown of this year’s Hot Luck Fest events:

Thursday, May 26, 6-9 pm
The Giddy Up: Mohawk
The festival lights up with a Thursday night industry pizza party, which will include savory pies, as well as sweet treats from Whole Foods and Christina Tosi’s Milk Bar. Sets from DJ Jazzy Jeff and DJ Mel will follow the food event. The chef lineup for The Giddy Up event includes:

  • Chris Bianco, Pizzeria Bianco (Phoenix)
  • Elias Cairo, Olympia Provisions (Portland, Oregon)
  • Fermin Nunez, Suerte (Austin)
  • Fiore Tedesco, L’Oca d’Oro (Austin)
  • Joe Beddia, Pizzeria Beddia (Philadelphia)
  • Mike Diaz, Oseyo (Austin)
  • Rebecca Masson, Fluff Bake Bar (Houston)
  • Reem Assil, Reem’s (Oakland, California)

Friday, May 27, 7-10 pm
Hi, How Are You?: Franklin Barbecue

This extravagant east side event is a backyard-style get-together that will feature the man himself, Aaron Franklin of Franklin Barbecue, as well as other acclaimed chefs, bites and sips, and a whole lot of extravagance that culinary nerds can totally geek out to. The chef lineup for the Hi, How Are You? event includes:

  • Aaron Franklin, Franklin Barbecue (Austin)
  • Amanda Shulman, Her Place (Philadelphia)
  • Andrew Taylor, Eventide Oyster Co. (Portland, Maine)
  • Ashley Christensen, Poole’s Diner (Raleigh, North Carolina)
  • Arlin Smith, Eventide Oyster Co. (Portland, Maine)
  • Chris Shepherd, Underbelly (Houston)
  • Erin Smith, Feges BBQ (Houston)
  • Jordan Rubin, Crispy Gai (Portland, Maine)
  • Kristine Kittrell, The Diner Bar (Austin)
  • Laura Sawicki and Mei Lin, Nightshade (Los Angeles)
  • Misti Norris, Petra and the Beast (Dallas)
  • Patrick Feges, Feges BBQ (Houston)
  • Shota Nakajima, Taku (Seattle)
  • Tavel Bristol-Joseph, Canje (Austin)
  • Todd Duplechan, Lenoir (Austin)
  • Tyson Cole, Uchi (Austin)

Saturday, May 28, 7-10 pm
Al Fuego: Wild Onion Ranch

Al Fuego is Hot Luck’s celebration of live-action, flame-fueled cooking styles and features a showcase of the “most inspiring food on the planet.” As fest organizers note, if you’ve ever wondered what chefs cook for their friends in their own backyards, this fiery shindig is for you. The chef lineup for the Al Fuego event includes:

  • Alon Shaya, Saba (New Orleans)
  • Amanda Rockman, South Congress Hotel (Austin)
  • Ashleigh Shanti, Good Hot Fish (Asheville, North Carolina)
  • Brad Leone (New York City)
  • Bradley Nicholson, Lutie’s (Austin)
  • Carlo Lamagna, Magna Kusina (Portland, Oregon)
  • Casey Wilcox, Little Trouble (Lockhart)
  • Christopher Schaefer, Geraldine’s (Austin)
  • Colin Yoshimoto, Eem (Portland, Oregon)
  • Davis Turner, Huckleberry (Austin)
  • Dawn Burrell, Late August (Houston)
  • Diego Galicia and Rico Torres, Mixtli (San Antonio)
  • Donny Sirisavath, Khao Noodle Shop (Dallas)
  • Earl Ninsom, Eem (Portland, Oregon)
  • Edgar Rico, Nixta Taqueria (Austin)
  • Evan LeRoy, Leroy and Lewis Barbecue, (Austin)
  • Jakub Czyszczon, Garrison (Austin)
  • James Wilson, East Austin Hotel (Austin)
  • Jeremy Charles, Raymonds (St. Johns, California)
  • John Tesar, Knife (Dallas)
  • Jori Jayne and José Enrique, José Enrique (San Juan, Puerto Rico)
  • Jules Stoddart, Olamaie (Austin)
  • Kareem El-Ghayesh, KG BBQ (Austin)
  • Kevin Fink, Hestia (Austin) 
  • Maneet Chauhan, Chauhan Ale & Masala House (Nashville)
  • Mason Hereford, Turkey and the Wolf (New Orleans)
  • Matt Horn, Horn Barbecue (Oakland, California) 
  • Michael Fojtasek, Olamaie (Austin)
  • Nicola Blaque, The Jerk Shack (San Antonio)
  • Ravi Kapur, Liholiho Yacht Club (San Francisco)
  • Rick Lopez, La Condesa (Austin)
  • Sarah Grueneberg, Monteverde (Chicago)
  • Shane Stark, Mongers (Austin)
  • Shota Nakajima, Taku (Seattle)
  • Stuart Brioza, The Anchovy Bar (San Francisco)
  • Susana Querejazu, Lutie’s (Austin)
  • Todd Pulsenelli, Hotel Chloe (New Orleans)
  • Tracy Malechek-Ezekiel, Birdie’s (Austin)
  • Yoshi Okai, Otoko (Austin)
  • Zak Pelaccio (Hudson Valley, New York)

For more info about this year’s Hot Luck Fest, visit hotluckfest.com and follow Hot Luck on Facebook and Instagram.