Tickets for the third annual Texas Monthly BBQ Festival went on sale today. Twenty-one barbecue joints will gather just south of Lady Bird Lake to show off their take on brisket, sausage, ribs and anything else with enough fat content to stand up to an hours-long stint in a smoker. If you need an extra excuse to drive all the way to Austin to attend the September 23 event, you should know that Pecan Lodge is joining Baker's Ribs to represent Dallas this year.
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This will be Lurlene's longest road trip. The affectionately named smoker that keeps the hot boxes at Pecan Lodge full of fatty, smoky meat has traveled as far as Waco for catering events but has yet to make it all the way to Austin. Chef and owner Justin Fourton says he's excited about the road trip.
"For us it was a no-brainer," he said when asked if attending in the event was a tough decision. He says the publicity garnered from participating will more than offset the cost associated with closing his restaurant down Saturday and Sunday and hauling about 700 pounds of meat all the way to Austin. "It's an honor."
Pecan Lodge's popularity has been swelling consistently since opening in the Dallas Farmers Market in February 2010. Positive reviews have fueled a steadily increasing following that ballooned with a recent appearance on the popular Diners, Drive-ins and Dives show.
"It's been incredible," Fourton told me. "We were expecting a bell curve but it's still building," he said of sales. Week after week more customers have come to wait in a line that's gaining a reputation of its own. Other Texas barbecue joints with cult followings are known for their lines as much as their brisket and Pecan Lodge may building a reputation on par with Franklin Barbecue and Snow's BBQ, who are also participating in the Texas Monthly event.