Smoke infused the warm, muggy air out at Rio Cibolo Ranch Sunday afternoon, as barbecue cookers were fired up across from the main pavilion. Couples with kids, extended families, even a few family dogs, had made their way out to Zeuhl Sunday to enjoy this closing event of Culinaria.
The festival, with a new name and partner, the Valero Texas Open, had performed a quick turnaround from its 2009 festival in November.
“It’s amazing. This was the best festival ever,” said Suzanne Taranto, Culinaria president, as the afternoon drew to a close. Taranto, along with staff members Ginger McAnear and Christina Higgs, were grateful for the success, but already thinking about new events to launch at Culinaria 2011.
Totally Tejas spreads out around the main pavilion at the ranch. Most of the action was inside, where people sold arts and crafts, and festival goers tasted cheeses and cold cuts from H-E-B, and sampled beers and wines from Texas, as well as wines from other domestic and international wineries. Texas Tide played pop and country tunes, while the barbecue teams outside prepared for the second annual Totally Tejas barbecue competition.
Judges (chef Tomme Johnson of The Grill at Leon Springs, Craig Cristopher of Rio Cibolo Ranch, John Griffin and myself) sampled chicken, brisket and ribs, judging on taste and texture. Then, they walked around to check out the barbecue stations and see who looked the best (or acted the most hospitable).
The top awards were presented:
- FJK Ranch (San Antonio)
- Smoky Bones
- Two Bros. BBQ Market
- Smoky Bones (Seguin)
- BBQ Nation
- FJK Ranch
- Smoky Bones
- Cactus Cookers
- BBQ Nation and Two Bros. BBQ Market (tie)
Most hospitable team award winner was Pig Pen Smokers from New Braunfels.