Foodie Events / Restaurants

Butcher’s Ball Takes Over Rockin’ Star Ranch, Brings Top Chefs Into the Texas Countryside

And the Golden Cleaver Winner is…

BY // 10.31.18

The weather was glorious — blue skies, cool air, light breeze — the setting more than ideal, and the meat and beverages abundant. It was the 2018 Butcher’s Ball, and it was the best edition yet of this love song to all things grilled, smoked, barbecued and braised.

Nearly 1,200 people  — including Kinky Friedman, who was the special guest for the day and performed in front of an adoring crowd — traveled to Rockin’ Star Ranch in Brenham last weekend from miles around to stroll the property, enjoy cocktails, wine and beer, listen to music, and, above all, sample food from the likes of Ryan LaChaine, John Tesar, Felix Florez, the Feges BBQ team and others.

Pigs over heat: Felix Florez (top right) keeps an eye on some pork. (Photo by The Brockhaus)

The event, now in its third year, raised $20,000 for Urban Harvest, and featured panel discussions about agriculture and other topics important to the culinary world. Kim Olson, who is running to be Texas’ next agriculture commissioner and who owns and runs a farm with her husband, was a featured panelist.

Butcher’s Ball is much more than meat and alcohol, after all.

The event bestows The Golden Cleaver (voted on by guests who sample the dishes) on one participating cook, and this year’s winner was Tony Luhrman, who owns El Topo food truck in Houston. His 44 Farms barbacoa taco was rich and bold, and the yellow sauce served with it was mild yet distinctive and memorable. Plus, the homemade tortillas he offered were some of the best I’ve had.

The Golden Cleaver: Tony Luhrman and Kale Luhrman pose with the coveted piece of cutlery. (Photo by Emily Jäschke)

Other highlights were the bao bun and frankfurters from Nobie’s, Feges BBQ’s pork belly (from Black Hill Meats) with polenta and collards, and Uchi’s pork jowl beauty.

Crisp and moist pork belly, polenta, and braised collards are a killer combo. (Photo by The Brockhaus)
From Uchi, pork jowl, yuzu, and couscous. (Photo by The Brockhaus)

Planning for next year’s Butcher’s Ball is under way (click here for updates).

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