It's Getting Hot

BBQ superhero Aaron Franklin's hotly anticipated food festival debuts in Austin

Barbecue superhero Aaron Franklin's food festival debuts in Austin

Franklin Barbecue
The first-ever Hot Luck festival takes place in Austin Thursday through Saturday. Photo courtesy of Franklin Barbecue

Although it seems that there’s a new festival every week, we are particularly excited about the first-ever Hot Luck festival, taking place across Austin May 18-21.

It's organized by Austin barbecue superhero Aaron Franklin; Guerilla Suit principal James Moody; and Mike Thelin, co-founder of Feast Portland. Hot Luck offers a variety of events and activities at different venues and price points, from walkabout tastings to music performances accompanied by thematic bites and drinks.

The chef lineup features top national culinary talent, including Adam Perry Lang, Roy Choi, Andy Ricker, as well as regional and local chefs. "I wanted to help create something really fun and really Austin-y, that didn't feel schmooze-y,” says founder Aaron Franklin. “We have so many creative chef friends locally and nationwide that we thought would be fun to showcase."

The three-day festival includes events all around the city at venues like Franklin Barbecue, Fair Market, Barracuda, Mohawk, The White Horse, Alamo Drafthouse, Wild Onion Ranch, and more, allowing guests to mix and match preferred events. Additionally, L’Oca d’Oro, Contigo, and The Hightower will serve Sunday brunch with Hot Luck visiting chefs partnering with local chefs.

The Whole Enchilada package ($550) grants access to all events, including music shows and the exclusive Hi, How Are You? welcome event on Thursday (May 18) and Hawaii, Texas, a late-night Tiki party at Weather Up on Saturday (May 20).

Those who aren't splurging for the premium package can kick off the festival Thursday with a performance from the Black Lips at Barracuda, featuring bites from chef Elias Cairo of Olympia Provisions in Portland.

On Friday (May 17) The Hi Lo at Fair Market showcases chefs who will share the dishes that inspired them to get behind the stove. Expect outstanding samples from Adam Sappington (The Country Cat, Portland); David Bull (Second Bar + Kitchen); Fiore Tedesco (L’Oca d'Oro); Jason Dady (Jason Dady Restaurants, San Antonio); Rene Orti (Launderette); and a preview of Callie Speer’s new Holy Roller, among others.

That same night, chef Yoshi Okai will serve Japanese fare at Barracuda to accompany Japanese pop-punk band Shonen Knife, and Rayland Baxter, joined by supporting acts Jonathan Terrell and Carson McHone, will take over The White Horse, along with cold brew ice cream floats from Stumptown Coffee Roasters.

Sappington, a veteran of the Austin Food + Wine Festival, is excited to participate in the inaugural edition of this versatile festival. His restaurant is a farm-to-table endeavor that takes advantage of the bountiful Pacific Northwest to craft comfort American food. “The Austin and Portland culinary scenes are similar in the way of wanting to cook the best food possible in a setting that reflects the region. I am most looking forward to meeting and cooking with Andrew Wiseheart and all my friends, as well as getting some much needed sun," he says.

Saturday is jam-packed with fun, starting at 6 pm with Al Fuego, an outdoor sip and stroll event at Wild Onion Ranch, featuring open fire cooking from locals Jesse Griffiths (Dai Due), Kevin Fink (Emmer and Rye), Bryce Gilmore (Odd Duck), and Miguel Vidal (Valentina's Tex-Mex BBQ), plus visiting chefs. For the evening’s music shows, Black Joe Lewis will pair up with Valentina’s at Barracuda, and Robert Ellis will close out the music portion of the fest with Harvest Thieves and Altamesa at The White Horse, topped off with ice cream sandwiches from Oregon’s Tillamook.

The Whole Enchilada package is almost sold out, but individual tickets are still available for all music shows, The Hi Lo, and Al Fuego events. A portion of the proceeds from Hot Luck will benefit the SAFE Alliance.