By Emily Reynolds
NEW YORK — Texans showed their stuff here at last weekend’s StarChefs event, and San Antonio’s Jason Dady won a coveted award.
In fact, it appeared that New York City’s Chelsea Pier was transformed to a Texas barbecue joint for an evening. Picture the waft of meaty smoke, swirling the air with eagerness and hopes of winning the grand prize — a trip to Korea.
This was the first ever Smoke@ICC competition. The event was seen as a kick-off to the 8th annual StarChefs International Chefs Congress. The competition pitted teams from across the country against each other. But it was the Texas teams that made us all proud, particularly those from Austin and San Antonio.
The competition featured a judges-only categories including: Regional American (quail), New World (lamb), Asian Barbecue (pork), and best in show categories (beef). The best in show was category was the only sample offered to the crowd.
“What a great experience Smoke@ICC was. Taking Texas barbecue to the Big Apples and coming out on top of the People’s Choice was such an honor — and also a validation that the best barbecue is from Texas,” said chef Jason Dady, owner of Jason Dady Restaurants, which includes Two Bros. BBQ Market.
New York’s barbecue lovers sampled the Australian Wagyu beef brisket and chose their favorite. That winner received the People’s Choice Award. However, it was up to the judges as to who received the grand prize. As the crowd enjoyed the gorgeous sunset with a side of Waygu beef and waterfalls of craft beer, it was up to the judges who was going to Korea.
Teams from San Francisco, New York, Philadelphia and, of course, Houston, Austin and San Antonio worked from 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. making their smoked meats as perfect as possible. Crowds of attendees began sampling the variety of beef done 10 ways, and guzzling all-you-can-drink beer, as the judges tasted the quail, lamb and pork.
At the end of the evening the drum roll began and Dady took home the People’s Choice crown. Dady’s bites of brisket with a sweet tamarind glaze were topped with umami salted peanuts. The simplistic yet flavorful morsels of brisket popped with Asian inspiration and were packed with Dady’s signature, a whole lotta flavor.
It was the visions of beautiful Bloody Marys and beef tacos that led Austin’s Josh Watkins from The Carillon down the path to the Grand Prize. We think both Watkins and Dady did us proud, showing the East Coast barbecue crowd what Texans can do.
And, that’s not all!
While Dady and crew were in New York, Two Bros. was represented at the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo Bar-B-Que Cook-Off last weekend as well.
Two Bros. BBQ Market team smoked up 80 briskets to serve attendees barbecue at the big tent all day. Crystal Dady trained the big team of volunteers who stocked two long tables all day with plated brisket, coleslaw, beans and sausage, dessert brownies and iced tea.
Outside, the pits were blasting while pitmaster Emilio Solis handled the restaurant’s competition entries. At the end of the day, the crew took home sixth place for their ribs — a category that is almost as hotly contested as the brisket among the 200-300 contestants at the competition.
Emily Reynolds is a San Antonio free-lance writer, PR professional and blogger.
Photos by Emily Reynolds