Photos by Jack Sorokin
For the sixth year in a row, the Austin Food & Wine Alliance threw a wildly successful Live Fire event, celebrating the marriage of meat and fire with delicious bites from restaurants across Austin, Houston, Dallas and San Antonio. Always a fan favorite for its well-curated chefs and beautiful location at Salt Lick BBQ's Pecan Pavilion alongside Onion Creek, this year's sold-out celebration of Texas beef certainly didn't disappoint.
Though the spacious grounds and plentiful stands helped to alleviate lines, two restaurants attracted a queue throughout the night: Franklin Barbecue (unsurprisingly) and Emmer & Rye, whose chef-owner Kevin Fink was recently named one of Food & Wine's Best New Chefs. Guests enjoyed the bluesy, twangy styings of Eve and the Exiles while enjoying cocktails from Garage and Knob Creek, local wine from Duchman Family Winery, and local beer from Hops & Grain and Jester King Brewery. Read on for our favorite 12 bites.
Freedmen's Bloody Mary beef
In a nod to the restaurant's notoriously epic Holy Mary Bloody Mary, pitmaster Evan LeRoy whipped up beef ribs marinated in a Bloody Mary sauce cooked down from short-rib bones with zingy horseradish paste and a pickled cucumber garnish. Brilliant.
Truffle-licious beef ribs from Knife Dallas
Three-time James Beard “Best Southwest Chef” semifinalist and “Top Chef” contestant John Tesar kept things classy by serving grilled bone-in beef ribs over creamy polenta with a rich, fragrant black truffle emulsion.
Franklin Barbecue's massive beef ribs
It wouldn't be Austin if there wasn't a line for Franklin Barbecue. The object of fans' desire: massive beef ribs (bone still attached if you were lucky!), accompanied by a scoop of potato salad.
Salt & Time's unique nod to Mexico
This creative eastside butcher shop brought out all the stops once again with avocado chochoyotes (masa dumplings) topped with tender slices of grilled whole top blade, mole creme fraiche and cilantro.
SPUN's latest next-level frozen creation
The sister duo behind SPUN must dream up new frozen concepts in their sleep. For this event, mint ice cream was topped with a beef fat jalapeño shortbread crumble, a spoonful of watermelon gelee and a charred lime chip.
Emmer & Rye's winning short ribs
Emmer & Rye's line didn't let up all night — and it wasn't just because of Fink's recent accolade, but the raved-about dish he was serving: smoked, confit and grilled beef short ribs with a tangy piri piri and wild arugula over freshly griddled roti made from house-milled white Sonoran wheat.
Filament's new take on pastrami
Austinites got a taste of Dallas chef Matt McCallister's newest concept with this inventive pastrami made from thin sliced, cured and grilled beef tongue topped with fermented kohlrabi slaw, smoked pickled fresno chile dressing and celery mustard.
Fluff Bake Bar's latest gift to Austin
Austin rejoices every time Rebecca Masson, of the Houston-based Sugar Fairy, hosts a pop-ups around town and Live Fire was no exception. This time she came bearing hazelnut drumsticks: mini sugar cones filled with Wether's curd, crowned with tiny scoops of hazelnut ice cream coated in milk chocolate, then sprinkled with fizzy cocoa pebble crunch.
Jason Stude's delicious sneak peek to Boiler Nine
Foodies have been waiting with bated breath for Boiler Nine to open in the Seaholm District. And now, just about a month before the projected opening, chef Jason Stude (formerly of Congress) gave us a delicious sneak peek with his brown sugar-grilled brisket with sourdough soubise, colatura and beer bread with smoked beef fat butter.
Fresa's ice cream cart
Not only did chef Rene Ortiz create an homage to Mexico City's famous El Califa tacos, but pastry queen Laura Sawicki served ice cream from an old school rolling cart. Pictured here is a scoop of rosemary drizzled with smoked brisket caramel and candied cashews.
Dude Sweet Chocolate's bold use of brisket
This Dallas-based chocolatier truly upped the dessert ante with this fun, savory-sweet creation: crispy churros filled with Valentina's BBQ brisket pieces, then served dipped in añejo drinking chocolate. We need more of this in our lives on the daily.
Supper's droolworthy beef cheek bowl
Austinites who hadn't yet visited Supper at the new Hotel Emma are surely headed there soon after tasting chef John Brand's succulent smoked beef cheek and charred eggplant over creamy corn pudding. It was undoubtedly one of the bites bites we tasted at the fest.