On this week's episode of "What's Eric Eating," CultureMap food editor Eric Sandler forgoes his usual podcast format for a special episode that's all about barbecue. Together with his friends Matt Harris, Michael Fulmer, Anthony Compofelice, and Felice Sloan, he conducts the Ultimate Houston BBQ Draft.
Structured as a fantasy football-style snake draft, each participant is required to select three meats, two sides, a dessert, and a wild card, which is either a weekly special or a composed plate with a barbecue component. Each may only select a restaurant once; no one may take multiple meats or sides from the same barbecue joint.
Sandler leads things off by taking Truth Barbecue's brisket with the first selection. He's followed by CorkScrew BBQ's cobbler (Harris), CorkScrew BBQ's brisket (Compofelice), Brett's Barbecue Shop's brisket (Fulmer), and Killen's Barbecue's beef rib (Sloan). Over the course of the seven rounds, the selections pull primarily from restaurants included in Texas Monthly's list of the state's 50 best barbecue joints, but it also contains a few surprises along the way.
The draft segment concludes with the panelists reflecting on the most prominent items that they didn't select. Houston's smoked meat talent is so deep that it's easy to imagine a sixth team that could hold its own with any of the participants' selections.
After the draft, Dozier's BBQ pitmaster Jim Buchanan joins the show to offer his opinion about who "won" the contest. He and Sandler also discuss the Fulshear restaurant's recently launched weekend dinner service. Yes, the menu includes Buchanan's signature smoked meatloaf.
"What's Eric Eating" will return to its normal format next week.