Houstonians are ready to Rodeo. More than 4,000 food and wine lovers turned out for the annual Rodeo Uncorked! Roundup & Best Bites Competition that pairs award-winning wines from the 2022 Rodeo Uncorked! International Wine Competition with food prepared by almost 100 Houston restaurants, bakeries, and food trucks.
As always, Ronnie Killen fared well with the panel of media judges, scoring first place in the Lone Star Entrée Award with a dish from Killen's TMX. The Tex-Mex restaurant's brisket suadero taco with black garlic salsa, guacamole, and queso fresco also drew long lines of attendees, keeping veteran Killen's chef Teddy Lopez and his team busy all night.
As for the coveted people's choice belt buckle, Cotton Culinary won with its "Figgy Piggy," while downtown steakhouse Guard & Grace took second for its flavorful oak-grilled New York strip with loaded baked potato cracker. See the full list of winners below.
Highlights from the non-winning dishes included smoked enchiladas from Brett's BBQ Shop, classic Louisiana gumbo from Eunice, seafood empanadas from Pier 6 Seafood, and truffle salmon nigiri from Memorial-area Japanese restaurant Kuu. Overall, the participants range from Houston classics like Brennan's and Taste of Texas to relative newcomers like Palace Social and Click Virtual Food Hall.
The annual event — unofficially the kick-off of Rodeo season ahead of the trail rides and barbecue cook-off — draws thousands to NRG Center. In addition to food from some of the city's top restaurants, attendees may sample some of the almost 500 wines that earned medals in the annual International Wine Competition. Thankfully, those who missed the festivities have the opportunity to sample some of the vintages in the Rodeo's wine garden, and many of the bottles will be auctioned off at the Rodeo Uncorked! Champion Wine Auction & Dinner on Sunday, February 27.
Here's the full list of winners:
People’s Choice Award
First Place: Cotton Culinary: Figgy Piggy
Second Place: Guard & Grace, A Modern Steakhouse: Oak grilled Creekstone Farms Prime New York Strip with loaded baked potato
Tasty Tradition Award
First Place: Joyce’s Seafood & Steaks: White chocolate bread pudding
Second Place: Taste of Texas Restaurant: Certified Angus Beef tenderloin and Megan’s mac & cheese
Trailblazer Appetizer Award
First Place: Omni Houston: Pork belly skewer, Moroccan BBQ, Carrot Puree, Chicharrone
Second Place: Songkran Thai Kitchen: Thai Steak Salad (Neu Nam Tok)
Third Place: Revival Market: Cauliflower Crositini – cauliflower hummus, homemade giardiniera, za’atar, chives
Lone Star Entrée Award
First Place: Killen’s TMX: Brisket suadero taco with black garlic salsa guacamole and queso fresco, and charro beans with jalapeno sausage
Second Place: Gus’ Fried Chicken: Fried Chicken Wing
Third Place: Russo’s Italian Kitchen: Lobster maestro – lobster essence, bianco, talegio, capelietti, maine lobster, smoked pecan
Two-Steppin’ Dessert Award
First Place: Egghaus Gourmet: Texas Pecan Croissant
Second Place: Ragin Cajun: Bread pudding with rum sauce
Third Place: Ashley Cakes: Carrot Cake
Craft Creamery: R-C Ranch Wagyu Brisket Ice Cream Sandwich
Trail Boss Food Truck Award
Cruisin Sushi: Cruisin Special Roll – fried roll inside chicken, zucchini, carrots, Monterrey cheese, Tampico, cream cheese and avocado, drizzled with homemade spicy mayo and eel sauce (homemade soy and jalapeno sauce on the side)
Outstanding Showmanship Award
First Place: Eculent
Second Place: Texas Harvest