Saturday, 20 September 2014

Brisketfest 2014 at Camden Town Brewery

Brisketfest 2014 flyer
Brisketfest 2014 at Camden Town Brewery
God Bless Texas Joe. Not only does he have the balls to be Texas Joe, and all that stands for, he also conceptualised and pulled off a brilliant event at Camden Town Brewery – Brisketfest 2014. Joe brought together eight chefs to produce their version of beef brisket and most of them did a great job.

I must admit, after six full servings I was again hitting the wall and struggled to finish them all. In fact, I did not as Miss P’s sold out by the time we arrived. So here is a review of the ones that stood out:

Prairie Fire BBQ

An American ex-banker (like myself) who would rather make beautiful BBQ than bang his head against a wall all day. His offering was old school Texas BBQ: beautiful brisket on white bread with two sauces, two different pickles and some burnt ends for good measure. We folded the whole thing up into a makeshift sandwich and dug in. It was perfectly balanced, no rough edges yet everything was flavourful and distinct. We all really enjoyed this.

Howard's Meat Co.

Again, another American making excellent brisket. Their offering was a Frito Pie, which is essentially several ingredients served over Frito Corn Chips: brisket red chili, sour cream, queso fresco, more brisket, more cheese, pickles, onions and more. I guess you could call this Texas Nachos. Not the most refined dish but the flavour was excellent and this was a really fun, unique dish. I fucking love this!

Texas Joe

Joe is a brisket man and it showed. Nicely balanced combination of meat, smoke, moisture and a nicely balanced sauce.  All very subtle – isn’t this what brisket is supposed to be? I will be soon visiting him at The Grafton Pub in Kentish Town.

BBQ Fanatics

These guys are primarily an award-winning competition team and they offered a very nice sandwich. The addition of mayo was probably not authentic but we all agreed it was a very nice balance to the meat, pickles and sauce. Well done, guys.

Smokestak

I had this sandwich at Meatopia and if you read that review, I was underwhelmed. I found too many sharp edges and not enough harmony. This time around I liked the sandwich better but still not nearly as balanced as the guys at Prairie Fire. I think it was the smoked salt that set me off – it just isn’t necessary. Nonetheless, Smokestak is a force to be reckoned with and Dave, whom I spent quite a bit of time talking to, is a great guy and a great businessman. Hats off to Dave and his team, they are a class act.

Overall, this was a great event and incredible value for money. Eight dishes and a pint of Camden Hells Lager for 30 quid. It's a steal. Especially when compared to Meatopia where the entry fee was 35 quid alone. In Texas Joe We Trust.

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