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Texas' Top Chefs Battle at a Rockin' Star Ranch: Who Emerged as the Whole Hog Champ? - PaperCity Magazine
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Foodie Events / Restaurants

Texas’ Top Chefs Battle at a Rockin’ Star Ranch

Who Emerged as the Whole Hog Champ?

BY // 10.19.17
photography Emile Jaschke

You could smell the smoking mesquite and grilling meats almost before you entered the gates of Rockin’ Star Ranch in Brenham last Sunday. The second annual Butcher’s Ball, pitting the area’s top chefs in a heated competition over the open grills, drew close to 700 paying guests with proceeds going to the aid of farms and ranches affected by Hurricane Harvey.

Fifty chefs, butchers, cooks and friends came early in the day to participate in the Boucherie vs. Matanza event in which two teams with six head chefs, each broke down a 300-pound hog from which they created a selection of mouthwatering dishes. The prize went to Team Boucherie, led by chefs Graham Laborde (Killen’s), Jeff Weinstock (Cake & Bacon), Joe Cervantez (Brennan’s), Matt Lovelace (formerly of Triniti), Michael Nutt (Cafe Rabelais) and Randy Evans (H-E-B).

And that was just the start of the barbecue fun that focused on sustainable ranching. Sixteen chefs then threw their meat on the grills in competition for the Golden Cleaver award. For the second year, Willow Villarreal of Willow’s Texas BBQ took the top honor. Second place went to Monica Pope of Sparrow Cook Shop and third place to Arash Kharat from Beaver’s.

In addition to roaming the acreage of the party ranch, guests could take in the butchering exhibition presented by Texas Beef Council 2017 Butcher of the Year Bryan Butler of Salt & Time in Austin, and Richard Knight, formerly of Hunky Dory and now heading the Breaking Bread Pop-Up Series. Guests who had the stomach for it, watched as they butchered a beef hind quarter and a lamb, respectively.

The entertainments included music by country bands, tastings and servings of Julep’s Alba Huerta craft cocktails in the ranch ballroom and by the outdoor stage. Over at the Don Q Pool Bar, pina coladas were served out of whole pineapples.

Who: Butcher’s Ball founders Black Hills Ranch’s Felix Flores, Treadsack Group’s Jason Kerr, Barrellhouse Media’s Jonathan Beitler and Elaine Dillard of Rockin’ Star Ranch; plus Rebecca Masson, Cesar Bodden, Claudia Solis, Craig Hlavaty, Zac Wilmore, Keri Henry, Shiva Zamen, Matthew Moncivais, Phaedra Cook, Brad Moore, and Peter Garcia.

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