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It’s Music, Barbecue and a Benefit for the Food Bank All in One


It’s such a simple equation: You get free music and a chance to have some fine barbecue while making sure that others have food to put on their table.

Roger Creager

Roger Creager

That’s what the popular Ancira Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram 2014 Live Music Series at The County Line, 10101 I-10 W., benefiting the San Antonio Food Bank is all about. And the music returns on Wednesday with Dirty River Boys.

Now in its 14th year, the music series has featured some of the very best Texas and national country musicians such as Blake Shelton, Bart Crow Band, Kyle Park, Gary P. Nunn, Cory Morrow, Stoney LaRue, Randy Rogers, Jason Boland, Roger Creager, Wade Bowen, Pat Green, Aaron Watson, Radney Foster, Kevin Fowler, Bleu Edmondson, The Rick Cavender Band and many more.

Here are the performers booked as of March 20, with the headliners listed first, followed by the opening acts:

  • April 2: Dirty River Boys with Jonathan Garcia
  • April 9: Midnight River Choir with James Delgado
  • April 16: Roger Creager with Ray Johnston Band
  • April 23: Jason Boland with Wally West & Them Lostbound Souls
  • April 30: Micky & The Motorcars with The Rusty Brothers
  • May 7: Cody Canada with Stewart Mann & The Statesboro Revue
  • May 14: Jason Eady with Cameran Nelson
  • May 21: Chris King with Jeffery Charles
  • Brandon Rhyder

    Brandon Rhyder

    May 28: Tejas Brothers with Roadside Libby

  • June 4: Brandon Rhyder with Jonathan Garcia
  • June 11: Bri Bagwell with The Washers
  • June 18: TBD
  • June 25: Cody Canada and Willy Braun of Reckless Kelly with Bryan Boyce and Jonathan Garcia
  • July 2: Jon Wolfe with Bonnie Lang
  • July 9: The Damn Quails with Kyle Reed Band
  • July 16: TBD
  • July 23: Thieving Birds with James Pardo
  • July 30: TBD

The live music series is free; however, all who attend are asked to make a food or monetary donation to the San Antonio Food Bank. Since it started, the series has raised more than 820,000 pounds of food for the San Antonio Food Bank; last year’s music series alone raised almost 105,000 pounds of food for the Food Bank, which translates into more than 81,000 meals to those in need in our community. The Texas Restaurant Association just named this County Line a winner of its annual Restaurant Neighbor Award—one of only three in the state and the only one in San Antonio—for its charitable support and dedication to improving their local communities through its music series and donations to the Food Bank.

Micky and the Motorcars

Micky and the Motorcars

“Summer is the hardest time for the San Antonio Food Bank as the need in our 16 county service area grows with children out of school and the elderly facing increased utility bills while our donations from the public decrease,” says Eric Cooper, San Antonio Food Bank president and CEO. “The County Line Music Series is tremendously helpful filling that gap and makes sure that those in need have food on their table.”

The free music concerts are held every Wednesday night from 6:30 – 10 p.m. from April 2 through July 30 at the I-10 location, which is between the Wurzbach and Huebner Road exits, near the Colonnade). Held on the restaurant’s open-air patio, the opening act comes on at 6:30 p.m.; the headliner plays from 8 – 10 p.m. Concerts are held rain or shine. Drink specials run from 3 to 7 p.m. on concert days in the bar.

Sponsors thus far include Ancira Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram; Y-100; Budweiser; Dulce Vida; Rebecca Creek; Enchanted Rock Vodka; Twilight Services; Comfort Air/Primo Plumbing; Red Bull; Ozarka; and Pure Party Ice.

For up-to-date information on the series lineup, click here.

Call 210-641-1998 for more information.

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You Can Help with Isabella’s Journey


Local chef Andrew Mendoza is planning a fundraiser to benefit a 5-year-old girl who’s battling cancer.

isabella's journeyIsabella Reidel has been diagnosed with a rare form of cancer called Rhabdomysarcoma and requires months of radiation and chemotherapy treatments in Houston.

To help her out, Mendoza and Christine Garcia are planning a barbecue plate fundraiser f0r 1 – 3 p.m. Nov. 17 at 3100 Nogalitos (the Duncan Professional Building). Chicken and sausage plates with potato salad, rice and beans will be sold for $7 apiece. Sodas and baked goods will also be available.

Donations will also be accepted. People can fill out a card, like the one depicted here, with a message for Isabella that will be given to her.

 

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The Granary, Boiler House Texas Grill Open at the Pearl


The taps are flowing at the Granary.

Two days, two new restaurants in the lineup at the Pearl Brewery.

That’s all it took.

A Granary flight

The Granary ‘Cue and Brew opened Tuesday at 604 Avenue A in an area that is still a bit under construction. But who cares what the drive is like when the beer’s fine? And the Granary, under the attention of brewmaster Alex Rattray, has some fine initial offerings on tap including the in-house Blonde, Rye Saison (which will make you yearn for a Reuben), and India Pale Ale, with a Brown Ale due any day now.

Other local taps include Live Oak’s Pils and Hefeweizen, Ranger Creek’s Lucky ‘Ol Sun, and Rogness Rattler Pale Ale and Beardy Garde. Ask what’s available on cask or try a flight in order to sample the house offerings.

A view of the Granary kitchen.

There’s ‘cue to go with the brew, and the Granary menu includes a rasher of interesting apps: Texas Toast with barbecue butter, Grit Fritters with country ham “salt” and red-eye mayonnaise, Smoked Tofu with curried pumpkin, and Smoked Beef Tongue with a caper-raisin vinaigrette.

Main course offerings include Pork Belly with a salsa negra and masa spoon bread, Szechuan Duck Leg with a poached egg, Beef Clod (the shoulder) with coffee quinoa crunch, Moroccan Lamb Shoulder with cous cous; and Jerk Chicken with red beans. And there’s Old School ‘Cue, served family style, while supplies last.

Texas cheeses, buttermilk chess pie, and Chocolate Blackout Cake are among the desserts, though the Soft Serve Twist with beer and pretzels flavor sounds the most intriguing.

The restaurant is situated in the former cooper’s house for the former Pearl Brewery and features some intriguing features, from the obviously antique glass windows to a board near the entrance to the restrooms that proudly declares “There’s a reason.” For what? You figure it out. Another beer can help such heady contemplation.

For more on the Granary ‘Cue and Brew, click here.

Nearby, at 312 Pearl Parkway, the Boiler House Texas Grill & Wine Garden opens today with chef James Moore in the kitchen overseeing the flame-cooked meals and vegetables.

Lamb polpettes

The restaurant, from the owners of Max’s Wine Dive, is indeed in the brewery’s old boiler house, which makes for a rustic, eclectic setting that’s comfortable, whether you’re seated at the bar so you can watch the kitchen staff at work or outside at one of the picnic tables.

Pork belly with soy-pineapple glaze.

Moore has said that Texas flavors, made with the best Texas ingredients, would be the focus on his menu.”When we began talking about Boiler House, we knew we wanted to honor the history at Pearl and the unique aspect of the building,” he said. “We started with the concept of grilling, something that plays a huge role in Texas cuisine. Pair that with flavors that reflect Texas and the concept just grew.”

Items that are attracting attention include starters of grilled breads with bone marrow, shrimp bacon brochettes, lamb polpettes (or meatballs), and tender Texas quail. Entrees include antelope, steaks, seafood and pork belly, the latter was served with a soy-pineapple glaze at a preview, but signs show that the sauces may change. There will be vegetarian options, too.

Texas quail at Boiler House.

There are also plenty of wines and a selection of Texas beers, from Ranger Creek Mission Trail Ale to South Austin Brewery Belgian Saison, to slake your thirst. Plus, the wines are also available to go, if you sample something that really speaks to you.

Desserts include Texas Pear Crumble as well as a big old brownie with a bourbon bacon anglaise that will thrill any dark chocolate fan.

For more information on Boiler House, click here.

Though both restaurants are open to the public, their hours or dining space are limited at the moment. Lunch at the Granary won’t start this week, for example, while live music at the Boiler House will come in the future.

The Boiler House Texas Grill & Wine Garden opens Friday.

 

 

 

 

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Big Lou’s Burgers & BBQ to Open Oct. 28


The sign out front of the future home of Big Lou's Burgers & BBQ.

Big Lou’s Burgers & BBQ will open Oct. 28 at 2014 S. W.W. White Road, in the building next door to its parent restaurant, Big Lou’s Pizza.

If you have a huge appetite, you could try the Super Big Lou’s Burger, a 66-ounce, 14-inch burger. It could feed up to seven people or one with a truly grandiose appetite. And if that’s not enough, you could always go next door for Big Lou’s 42-inch pizza.

The rest of the new restaurant’s menu will include brisket, sausage, jumbo wings, onion rings and 16 different draft beers.

The restaurant will be open Oct. 28 from 11 a.m. to midnight.

For more information please call 210-337-0707.

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Griffin to Go: Following the Scent of Smoke and Sausage


Gonzales Food Market BBQ & Sausage

When it comes to great barbecue, San Antonio has never had the reputation of Lockhart and Luling, two hallowed havens of smoked meat places.

Yet, it isn’t for lack of trying on our part.

Yet no two people can seem to agree on what great barbecue is. Some prefer smoking the meat with certain woods. Others argue it’s about the amount of heat and the length of time you leave it in the smoker. Or the rubs. Or the sauce.

So many options, and I love the unique ways so many pitmasters come up with their special creations.

I wanted to find to some fine ‘cue, so I set out Saturday morning for the city’s east side. I was looking for new places (a habit with me), but just driving past Ed’s Smok-N-Q on W.W. White Road planted a big smile on my face. Plenty of cars were parked around Ed’s, which has some excellent mesquite-smoked ribs, sausage, brisket and more.

Sausage and ribs at Gonzales Food Market

Before I knew it, I had driven right to Gonzales Food Market BBQ & Sausage at 2530 S. W.W. White Road. I had been to the original in Gonzales and it was going to be hard to live up to that. And it didn’t, but not because the meats were any less wonderful. It was just that they didn’t have a lot ready by 11:30 in the morning. No lamb ribs, no pork steak. Oh well, I guessed I would have to settle for pork ribs and sausage, which is like asking a wine lover to settle for Silver Oak.

The sausage was loose and full of spice. The ribs were meaty and not overcooked. No, the meat did not fall off the bone, and that isn’t what real rib lovers want. They want something they can hold in their hands as they indulge some primordial drive that makes them clean every last lick of meat off that bone.

I opted for green beans and coleslaw, yet neither was prepared in a traditional manner. The green beans were loaded with tomatoes and bacon, giving them some added substance. The creamy slaw was on the sweet side, because it featured raisins in it, but it was satisfying because the flavors worked together.

Chit Chat's Barbecue

I got back in the car to head back to Rigsby. That’s when I noticed Big Lou’s would soon be opening a burgers and barbecue joint near their pizza place. Great news. Another destination along W.W. White.

As I was driving down Roland Avenue, I spied a giant yellow sign with a black arrow pointing me to Chit Chat’s Barbecue, 1130 Hampton St. The place has only been open for about three months now, the owner told me, and she’s generally open only on weekdays. But because she had a private party to cater, she decided to do a little business beforehand. My luck!

Because of the party, I decided to get my order to go, though the cozy dining room, with plenty of antique Texana on the walls and the bracing aroma of mesquite in the air, seemed inviting.

Brisket and ribs from Chit Chat's Barbecue

More ribs but with brisket this time. They arrived in a Styrofoam container with sauce already poured over it. I know some would find that heretical, but the sauce added flavor to the meats, which had been smoked to the point that the wood imparted flavor without dominating.

Green beans again, but these were toothsome with a touch of vinegar adding a slight tang. There also seemed to be vinegar in the potato salad, rather than an overload of mayonnaise with the piquant addition of pimentos.

I was on a roll and ready to head home with two new additions to my list when I passed the Sausage Hauze at 734 N. New Braunfels Ave. It has only been open for about three weeks, in a space that once housed the Grandview Food Market.

Sausage Hauze

The menu is fairly limited with hot or cold sausage rings, brisket and chopped barbecue — and the cook’s special seafood gumbo on occasion, according to a flyer for the restaurant. This was not a gumbo day. In fact, all the owner had was sausage, but it was from Luling, so I was more than happy with the result. Yes, it was wonderful sausage, with just the right amount of garlic to give it heft.

And just the right note to end the trip on before heading back home.

But that makes me curious about all the other great barbecues in San Antonio. What are you favorites? What makes great ‘cue? Post your answers below, because I know I’ll want to hit the trail soon and explore some more.

 

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Coming Soon: Big Lou’s Burgers & BBQ


The sign out front of the future home of Big Lou's Burgers & BBQ.

The sign out front of 2014 S. W.W. White Road says it call: Coming soon … Big Lou’s Burgers & BBQ.

Well, almost all. It’s opening at the end of October.

If Big Lou’s does burgers and barbecue with any of the care and attention it (he?) lavishes on pizza, lasagna and chicken, then look out, W.W. White drivers. The traffic will be getting heavier in that neighborhood.

Big Lou’s Pizza is nearby at 2048 S. W.W. White Road.

 

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Chefs’ Corner: Q on the Riverwalk Offers a Lively Mixed Grill Kebab


The Q Kebab with Chimichurri Sauce

Q on the Riverwalk is a haven for barbecue of all styles, from Texas smoked meat to Korean kalbi.

Among the many meaty treats at the restaurant, located in the downtown Hyatt, 123 Losoya St., are ribs with your choice of rubs: Tuscan, Kansas City, Cantonese and Texas Dry.

From Brazil comes the churrasco-style mixed grill, which chef David Wirebaugh serves with sausage, shrimp, chicken and sirloin along with vegetables and a chimichurri sauce. It’s an easy recipe to recreate at home where you can play around with the ingredients, doubling the sausage and deleting the chicken or adding scallops instead of beef.

Anyway you skewer it, this is a great summertime treat for grill fans.

Q’s Churrasco Mixed Grill

1 bell pepper, sliced into 1-inch chunks
1 red onion, sliced into 1-inch chunks
8 jumbo shrimp
1 zucchini, cut into ½-inch slices
12 ounces sirloin, sliced into 1-inch cubes
1 yellow squash, cut into ½-inch slices
1 chicken breast, sliced into 1-inch cubes
1 sausage link, cut into 1-inch slices
Chimichurri Marinade (recipe follows)

Take eight skewers and assemble in the following order: pepper, onion, shrimp, pepper, onion, zucchini, beef, pepper, onion, squash, sausage, pepper, onion, zucchini, chicken, onion, pepper. If the skewers are not large enough, make sure you alternate vegetables and meat.

Brush generously with Chimichurri Marinade. Grill until vegetables are cooked and meat is medium rare, about 8 minutes. Try not to overcook shrimp

Makes 6-8 servings.

Chimichurri Marinade

1.5 ounces garlic cloves, peeled
¼ bunch fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon of fresh rosemary, stems removed
4 cups olive oil
1/4 cup sherry vinegar
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste

Place garlic, cilantro, and rosemary into blender. Blend to medium coarse texture. Slowly pour in olive oil and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

 

 

 

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Texas Pride Plans 24-Hour Internet Radio Station


Texas Pride Barbecue is an Adkins destination spot.

Television has shown the wonders of Texas Pride Barbecue and the fun that can be had on the joint’s backyard patio.

The Texas Pride Studio

Soon, people will be able to hear the sounds of the restaurant on an Internet radio station that will be broadcast through the restaurant’s website, www.texaspridebbq.net.

Tony Talanco

Owner Tony Talanco says the station will launch in about six weeks and will feature daily updates. The emphasis will be on Texas music with a new “Talk About Texas” program each Saturday and “The Old Time Gospel Show” on Sundays. (You can now tune in to both shows, hosted by Roy Holley, weekends on KKYX-640 AM.) A small recording studio stands out back, near the stage.

Talanco has been interested in music all his life, and he’s featured plenty of stars on his stage behind the restaurant, 2980 E. Loop 1604, Adkins. Johnny Rodriguez, Moe Bandy, Johnny Lee, David Allen Coe, Johnny Winter and more have performed there.

In recent years, it has been featured on Guy Fieri’s “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives,” the Golf Channel’s “GolfNow” and “The Real Housewives of Orange County.” The latter was a bit of a surprise to Talanco, who was pleased that all of the housewives spoke well of his ‘cue.

The barbecue joint draws crowds each Thursday for its bike night, each Friday for its fish fry, Saturday for its music and Sunday for the Daisy Duke Charity Bike Wash from 1 to 6 p.m.

For more information, call 210-649-3730.

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Pick a Little, Feed a Lot


Jason Boland

The sounds of the 11th annual live music series at the County Line, 10101 I-10 W., have begun to fill the air.

The outdoor series, which runs 6:30-10 p.m. Wednesdays, features some great names in the music business, including Cory Morrow, Two Tons of Steel and Jason Boland, all for free. Admission is merely a donation of food or money to the San Antonio Food Bank. Concerts are held rain or shine.

Cory Morrow

“We’re looking forward to another successful year of this free music series, started 12 years ago by Randy Goss,” says Mike Crenwelge, general manager of the County Line. “Over the years, people who love country music and barbecue have truly showed where their heart is with their generous donations of food and money to the San Antonio Food Bank. Let’s continue to make Randy proud.”

The most recent lineup, which is subject to change, is as follows:

  • March 30 — Kyle Bennett Band and Stonehoney
  • April 6 — Jason Boland and Clint Martin Band
  • April 20 — Stoney LaRue and Rob Baird
  • April 27 — Cory Morrow and the Dirty River Boys
  • May 4 — Bart Crow Band and John David Kent
  • May 18 — Sean McConnell and Reed Brothers
  • June 8 — Johnny Cooper and The Captain Legendary Band
  • June 15 — Brandon Rhyder
  • June 22 — No Justice and Stonehoney
  • July 6 — Emory Quinn
  • July 13 — Gary P. Nunn
  • July 20 — Kyle Park and  Clint Martin Band
  • July 27 — Charlie Robison
  • Aug. 3 — Zack Walther Band
  • Two Tons of Steel

    Aug. 10 — Two Tons of Steel and Rockn’ H Band

  • Aug. 17 — Brandon Jenkins
  • Sept. 7 — Rob Baird
  • Sept. 21 — Scott Wiggins Band

The performances are free; however, all who attend are asked to make a food or monetary donation to the San Antonio Food Bank. The 2010 music series raised more 52,640 pounds of food.

“The San Antonio Food Bank is extremely grateful to have this continued partnership with County Line BBQ again this year,” said Eric Cooper, president/CEO of the San Antonio Food Bank. “Since we began this partnership 11 years ago, we have collected more than 530,000 pounds of food that has helped feed thousands of hungry individuals each week in Southwest Texas. Randy’s legacy of helping others and fighting hunger continues to remain strong through this wonderful partnership.”

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Pork Lovers, Take Note: Don’t Miss the Smoke Shack


Chris Conger opens up the Smoke Shack.

There is something about a good pulled pork sandwich that makes the world stop spinning on its axis. It makes the din of the traffic around you fade into a meditative hum. It makes grown men reach for their hankies, to dab both their eyes and maybe the corners of their mouth.

OK, perhaps those claims are extravagant, but they somehow encompass the feelings conjured by the pulled pork that the Smoke Shack serves up on weekdays just inside Loop 410 at the corner of Nacogdoches Road. This mobile eatery, covered in wood so it looks like the barbecue pit its name refers to, can also be found at the Pearl Brewery on Saturdays during the farmers market there.

The succulent strands of pork are bathed in a mustard sauce that is tangy and just right. You can have the pork two ways, on a barbecue plate or on a slider, which you can order topped with coleslaw. Either way is just fine with a friend and me, who have stopped by the Smoke Shack twice for a quick bite and had almost transcendent experiences.

A pair of pulled pork sliders.

We are both adamant about the slaw on the side of the pulled pork plate or piled high on the slider. The creamy shreds of cabbage does something cool to complement the hot pork, leaving you with a smile on your sauce-smeared face.

The menu is not extensive. Kiolbassa sausage, chicken and brisket are also offered. Sides include potato salad, pinto beans and a spicy corn that would be even better if cooked with a touch more salt as well as the coleslaw. That’s it; but what more do you need when you have that pork?

The Smoke Shack is a guy place, to be sure. The last time we was there, a crowd of more than a dozen men — and not a single woman — was hanging around the truck, filling up on ‘cue. So, women, if you’re wondering where the boys are, this is the place.

The Smoke Shack also caters under the name Conger Catering. Visit www.CongerCatering.com or call 210-829-8448.

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