fall food events
8 festive fall food events in Houston showcase BBQ, caviar, tailgating, and more
This week’s milder temperatures and decreased humidity have Houstonians thinking about fall’s inevitable arrival. The end of summer’s intense heat means it’s finally safe to gather outdoors again.
For the first time since 2019, fall also brings a full slate of food events. With options designed to appeal to all tastes and price points, the next couple of months will see events devoted to barbecue, tacos, and, for the first time, caviar. While most feature local favorites, a few draw on top culinary talent from Texas and beyond. Here’s a look at some of the season’s most exciting events.
Pitmaster Party, September 17
Dozier’s BBQ in Fulshear will host this event devoted to making dishes with smoked wild game. Pitmaster Jim Buchanan has invited 14 top Texas pitmasters, starting with two of the top five in Texas Monthly’s list of the state’s 50 best barbecue joints: No. 2, John Bates of Interstellar BBQ (Austin), and No. 4, Ernest Servantes of Burnt Bean Co. (Seguin). Other restaurants from the magazine’s list include: John Brotherton of Brotherton’s Black Iron Barbecue (Pflugerville); Patrick Feges of Feges BBQ (Houston); Quy Hoang of Blood Bros. Barbecue (Bellaire); and Scott Moore of Tejas Chocolate & Barbecue (Tomball). A portion of proceeds benefits the Fulshear Police Foundation. Tickets, $75, include samples from the participants and live music by Morgan Obenhaus (beverages purchased separately). Buy them here.
Karbachtoberfest, beginning September 23
Held at Karbach’s brewery near Spring Branch, this three-weekend event features live music, wiener dog races, a stein holding competition and more. The brewery will feature its seasonal marzen that pairs well with German fare like pretzels and sausage. See the event’s website for performers and other details.
La Nuit du Caviar, October 3
This celebration of everyone’s favorite high-priced ingredient comes from DR Delicacy, the luxury foods retailer behind the popular Truffle Masters chef competition. Held at the Astorian near Sawyer Yards, the event will feature caviar dishes created by more than a dozen local chefs, including Jassi Bindra (Amrina), Roberto Crescini (Davanti), Nikki Vongthong (Hidden Omakase), Luis Roger (MAD and BCN), Alex Au-Yeung (Phat Eatery), and CultureMap Tastemaker Awards Rising Star Chef of the Year winner Benchawan Painter (Street to Kitchen). A portion of proceeds will benefit the Houston Symphony League. Tickets start at $450.
Two Saints and a Taco Tasting, October 14
Named for two of Houston’s favorite saints, St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Arnold, this event features more than a dozen local restaurants — confirmed participants include Chilosos, Chuy’s, and Velvet Taco — competing for the title of “Best Taco” from both attendees and a panel of media judges. Organized by St. Thomas University alumni, proceeds benefit a student scholarship fund. Tickets, priced at $50 until October 4 ($75 after), include tacos and drinks.
Southern Smoke Festival, October 21-23
For its first in-person event since 2019, Southern Smoke has transformed into a three-day affair: the H-Town Welcome Wagon on October 22, the intimate Southern Smoke on Ice on October 23, and the energetic East Downtown Throwdown on October 24. Southern Smoke Foundation co-founder Chris Shepherd has recruited more than 60 chefs that include many of his fellow James Beard Award winners, Top Chef fan favorites, and plenty of local talent to serve at each event. The weekend raises money for the Southern Smoke Foundation, the non-profit Shepherd started to provide cash assistance to hospitality workers in crisis situations like medical emergencies, natural disasters, lost wages, and other unexpected events. Find full details about times, tickets, and VIP packages at the event’s website.
The Tailgate, presented by CultureMap, October 27
A new signature event for CultureMap, The Tailgate celebrates the culture of sports and the fans who cheer them on. It will feature chef-driven food and signature cocktails, plus game-day-inspired activities, entertainment, and a spotlight on local sports-related nonprofits. Participating restaurants include past Tastemaker winners like Street to Kitchen, d’Alba Kitchen & Cocktails, Pizaro’s Pizza, and many more. Local athletes will be present to spotlight their favorite charities. It'll all take place at Silver Street Studios. General admission and VIP tickets ($60-$99) are on sale now.
The Butchers Ball, November 12-13
Chefs from across Texas will gather at Brenham’s Rockin’ Star Ranch to celebrate independent farmers and ranchers who are committed to sustainable practices. The two-day affair kicks off Saturday night with the Butcher’s Baller Farm-To-Table Dinner that will feature 10 chefs collaborating on a five-course meal; the evening also includes live music and a hay ride. Sunday’s Butchers Ball will see more than a dozen chefs competing for the coveted Golden Cleaver while another group show off their best live-fire dishes at the Ring of Fire. Tickets, priced at $200 for the dinner and $175 for the Butchers Ball, are available at the event’s website.
Houston BBQ Throwdown, November 20
The organizers of the popular Houston Barbecue Festival present this event where 14 restaurants will compete to create a dish that best demonstrates the future of Houston barbecue. Held at Saint Arnold Brewing Co., participants include Brett's BBQ Shop, Dozier's BBQ, Harlem Road Texas BBQ, Roegels Barbecue Co, The Pit Room, and more. Tickets ($75 for general admission, $130 for VIP) include samples from the participants and beer from Saint Arnold.