The June 16 date is very much on purpose: It's organized by dad and "BBQ snob" Daniel Vaughn, and it's positioned to interest families. "For any father out there who wants to attend, you don't have to ask for permission: It's on Father's Day," Vaughn says. "You get to do what you want."
He also notes that tickets — $75 to $95, and free for kids 17 and under — could make for a great Father's Day gift. Tickets go on sale May 1, and there's room for 1,000 people. Last year, the festival held 750 people and sold out.
Vaughn is the barbecue editor for Texas Monthly, and it's his job to drive the Texas highways in search of the best barbecue in the Lone Star State. For this Dallas festival, which is not a Texas Monthly event, Vaughn invited back all of the pitmasters who attended the inaugural event in 2018, plus a few more:
- World-renowned pitmaster Aaron Franklin, of Franklin Barbecue in Austin, will cook a whole steer with Evan LeRoy of LeRoy and Lewis Barbecue, also from Austin.
- Todd David, of Cattleack Barbecue in Dallas/Farmers Branch, will make brisket. His brisket is lauded as some of the best in the state.
- The Reaves brothers, of Smokey John's BBQ in Dallas, will smoke sausages in Dallas Heritage Village's old-time smokehouse.
- Patrick Feges and Erin Smith, of Houston's Feges BBQ, plan to smoke whole lambs served with interesting sides, like Moroccan carrots.
- Miguel and Modesty Vidal, of Valentina's Tex Mex BBQ in Austin, are newcomers to the festival this year. They're known for fusing Central Texas style 'cue with homemade flour tortillas and salsas. At this event, they'll be making barbacoa alongside Michael Wyont, of Flores BBQ. He closed his barbecue shop in Whitney, Texas, in February and reopened as a food trailer in Fort Worth. Barbecue fans expect big things from Flores, especially when his full restaurant opens next year.
- Elliott Moss, who is coming in from Buxton Hall BBQ in Asheville, N.C., will do a whole hog.
- Jeffery Hobbs from The Slow Bone Barbeque in Dallas, will make fried peach pies for dessert.
Attendees can also sip Topo Chico and Four Corners beer.
Vaughn says one of the reasons he thinks pitmasters are interested in returning to this Father's Day fest is because some won't be tasked with making dishes they typically serve in their restaurants. "We didn't ask Aaron Franklin to come and bring 40 briskets with him," Vaughn says. That variety offers both the cooks and the customers new and interesting bites from some of their favorite barbecue joints.
Attendees will get to taste food from every vendor and can also talk to pitmasters about their craft, including watching whole animals being cooked over coals. (If that's not your thing, you've been warned.)
Dallas Heritage Village is home to other animals — live ones, like chickens that run around the property and can offer endless delight for kids in attendance. They're pets. Don't fret: "No animals that live on the property will be harmed in the making of Birthright," Vaughn says.
Birthright BBQ Fest takes place from 6 p.m. till dark on June 16, Father's Day. It's located at Dallas Heritage Village, 1515 S. Harwood St., Dallas. VIP tickets get customers in one hour early, at 5 p.m., and cost $95. General admission tickets allow a 6 p.m. entrance and cost $75 per person. Kids 17 and under are free. birthrightbbqfest.com.
[Update on May 30, 2019: VIP tickets are sold out.]