Following a successful inaugural year that showcased 13 Texas chefs competing for the Golden Cleaver award to a crowd of nearly 500, The Butcher’s Ball is back – scheduled for Oct. 15, 2017 at beautiful Rockin’ Star Ranch in Brenham, Texas. Austinites are invited to the annual meat-focused food and drink event that aims to highlight local ranchers adhering to ethical and sustainable ranching practices while raising money for two nonprofit beneficiaries, Urban Harvest and Foodways Texas. Partnering with these two organizations and also welcoming the organization Piggy Bank for 2017, in its second iteration the event will welcome over 40 leaders in all aspects of the culinary industry. For tickets and additional information visit www.butchersball.com. All patrons buying tickets before Aug. 31 will be registered to win a free two-night stay for two at Rockin’ Star Ranch. Guests will eat, drink, dance and learn through a lineup of programming including:

The Golden Cleaver showdown:

  • A live music series headlined by Texas legend Dale Watson, with support from White Ghost Shivers, Will Van Horn Trio and Vinyl Ranch

  • Butchering from Texas’ award-winning butchers

  • Panel discussions focusing on issues facing the food industry featuring an array of culinary leaders

  • Cocktails and spirits curated by Julep’s Alba Huerta

  • An early morning Boucherie v. Matanza competition hosted by Felix Florez of Black Hill Ranch

All spread amongst Rockin’ Star Ranch’s luxurious ballroom, pool, arena and fields.

This year, Rockin’ Star Ranch welcomes chefs from across the state to prepare dishes utilizing every element of the five main culinary proteins: beef, pork, chicken, lamb and fish. Supported by their ranching partners 44 Farms, Black Hill Ranch, Liberty Provisions, Three Sisters Farms and Yonder Way Farm, the following chefs will be competing for the Golden Cleaver Award – voted on by the public based on their favorite dish:

Ara Malekian – Harlem Road Texas BBQ (Richmond)

Ben Runkle – Salt & Time (Austin)

Benjy Mason – Down House (Houston) Bobby Matos – State of Grace (Houston) Brek Webber – Tin Roof BBQ (Atascocita) Dawn Burrell – Uchiko (Austin)

Dominick Lee – Kiran’s (Houston) Luke Smith – Eunice (Houston) EJ Miller – Riel (Houston)

Jeff White – Boiler House (San Antonio)

Martin Sayer – Nobie’s (Houston)

Monica Pope – Sparrow Cook Shop (Houston)

Oliver Sitrin – Blind Butcher (Dallas) Patrick Feges – Feges BBQ (Houston) Russell Kirkham – Artisan’s (Houston)

Ryan Hildebrand – FM Kitchen & Bar (Houston)

Ryan Savoie – Saint Arnold Brewing Company (Houston)

Willow Villarreal – Willow’s Texas BBQ (Houston)

In addition to the competition aspect of The Butcher’s Ball, two butchery demonstrations will take place throughout the day. Texas Beef Council 2017 Butcher of the Year Bryan Butler of Salt & Time in Austin and Richard Knight, formerly of Hunky Dory and now heading the Breaking Bread Pop-Up Series, will butcher a beef hind quarter and a lamb, respectively, and the finished products will be auctioned off during the event’s silent auction, raising money for the participating organizations.

Panel discussions featuring leaders in the food industry will educate the public on the purpose and practice of sustainable, hormone-free farming and ranching. Atlanta-based restaurateur Ford Fry, whose Houston restaurant State of Grace opened in 2015, will join Black Hill Ranch’s Felix Florez, Tejas Heritage Farm’s David Glover, 44 Farms’ Steve Harrison and representatives from Urban Harvest and Foodways Texas for an interactive discussion to spotlight the ways in which these culinary leaders are making waves in the industry and encouraging others to follow suit.

If that’s not enough, live music from the Texas country legend Dale Watson and His Lone Stars will headline the outdoor stage, with support from White Ghost Shivers, Will Van Horn Trio and Vinyl Ranch – hosted by Craig Hlavaty of Newsfix and the Houston Chronicle.

Acclaimed bartender and owner of Houston’s Julep Bar, Alba Huerta, will curate the day’s beverages, while poolside cocktail demonstrations from Lainey Collumof Yauatcha Houston and Robin Berwick of Double Trouble Caffeine & Cocktails will provide an interactive experience for guests. An extensive silent auctionfeaturing art, food and experiences all benefiting Urban Harvest and Foodways Texas, and a farmers market, curated by Urban Harvest and featuring local food and artisan vendors, will round out the day’s activities.

New for 2017, Felix Florez will be hosting an early-morning event on the same day – Le Boucherie vs. La Matanza. French and Spanish (respectively) for the tradition of slaughtering a hog and assigning different cuts of meat to volunteers to make into dishes that feed the whole village, Team Boucherie and Team Matanza will compete against each other for the best slaughter, break-down, and preparation of dishes utilizing a hog from Florez’s own Black Hill Ranch. Competing in Le Boucherie vs. La Matanza are:

TEAM BOUCHERIE                          TEAM MATANZA

Graham Laborde – Killen’s                 Alex Padilla – Ninfa’s on Navigation

Jeff Weinstock – Cake & Bacon         David Cordúa – Américas Joe Cervantez – Brennan’s                                           Javier Lopez – Sysco Matt Lovelace – formerly of Triniti                     Kevin Callahan – Ritual                       Mike Nutt – Café Rabelais

Peter Garcia – El Meson

Randy Evans – H-E-B                         Philippe Gaston – Izakaya

Tickets to attend Le Boucherie vs. La Matanza are a $50 add-on and include breakfast and morning cocktails and juices. Ticket purchasers will also have the unique opportunity during Le Boucherie v. La Matanza to cook with the chefs, assisting in preparing dishes throughout the morning and living the “chef life.” A portion of every ticket to participate in the Le Boucherie v. La Matanza will go to Piggy Bank, a genetic sanctuary for heritage breed pigs practicing open access agriculture (OAA) to benefit small family farms. Piggy Bank founder and Cochon555 CEO Brady Lowe will be on hand discussing his vision for safer, more enlightened farming practices through the sharing of genetics, livestock and information.


Tickets for the 2017 Butcher’s Ball are $100 for adults and $25 for children 12 and under. Reserved VIP tables for 10 are available for $1,500. Transportationto and from Houston to Brenham is available for an additional $30. Tickets for Le Boucherie v. La Matanza are $50 and must be purchased with a ticket to the Butcher’s Ball. For tickets and additional information visitwww.butchersball.com.

The Butcher’s Ball is generously sponsored by Rockin’ Star Ranch, Lone Star Beer, 44 Farms, Saint Arnold Brewing Company, Topo Chico, Yeti and Lucio Tailoring.

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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