Recap: A day of delicious competition at Lenoir

We partnered with Austin Food Magazine to bring together social media influencers, exciting brands from Austin and beyond, and food-obsessed community members for a day of delicious competition and experimentation. Hosted graciously by our friends at Lenoir, the event featured a grill competition using Traeger grills, featuring our locally sourced meat and served alongside Nine Banded Whiskey cocktails and Richard’s Rainwater.

The event began with some education and recipe-sharing from Jimmy Ho (@thesmokingho), who demonstrated the wood-pellet method of the Traeger Grill series. See his recipe

We had a few tricks up our own sleeve, and showed off a few recipes inspired by our friends at Traeger. We kept the hungry crowd fed with beer can chicken (with the delicious Marco IPA from Zilker Brewing), simply delicious smoked pork belly sandwiches, and carne asada skirt steak with salsa verde.

Pork belly fresh off the smoker.

Pork belly sandwiches occupied the crowd until competition time.

Beer can chicken with Austin’s own Zilker Brewing Marco IPA.

Chelsea prepares Cobb Creek whole chickens for their barbecue fate.

With light snacking and fraternization out of the way, it was competition time. At 6:30, the competitors were assigned to their grills and the rules were laid out. The competition would have three phases, beginning with chicken wings, followed by bavettes and concluding with quail, and the food writers and bloggers in competition were ready to show off their skills in styles all their own. The cooks included:

Gavin & Karen - Couple in the Kitchen

Natalie Paramore - Natalie Paramore

Shayda Torabi - with Shayda

Sydney Torabi - Spin Syddy

Shannon McGarry Krawll- ATX Party Girl 

Nine Banded Whiskey lent their delicious signature product to the event’s Peach Old-Fashioned cocktails.

 Our own Lisa Flynn laid out the available supplies, and the mad dash began, competitors duking it out for available supplies, eager to get their chicken wings seasoned while leaving enough time to crisp them on the grill. The end of phase one brought a wide range of preparations to the judges table, and we took a special liking to Natalie Paramore’s Pok Pok wing recipe, which she was kind enough to share.

Lisa’s shopping list for the restricted supplies allowed in competition.

Natalie Paramore prepares her Pok Pok chicken wings.


Natalie Paramore (@natalieparamore)

With few more peach cocktails, the competitors moved into the bavette and quail, challenged to take advantage of the versatile heat settings of the Traeger temperature-control systems for the cuts of different sizes and styles. Each round was sent to the judges table, manned by some of the preeminent food minds of the town:

Evan LeRoy, LeRoy & Lewis

Todd Duplechan, Lenoir Restaurant

Taylor Byrd, Brewer’s Table

Brad Sorenson, Alamo Drafthouse

So while the crowd enjoyed cold beer on a (very) hot day, the judges had the great pleasure of selecting favorites from a pool of exquisite grill-work, with food writer Natalie Paramore ultimately winning out. Prizes included bottles of Nine Banded Whiskey, Rosso & Flynn steaks, a small trophy and a summer’s worth of bragging rights.

The night finished as it began: with conversation, cold drinks and a community of friends sharing a passion for food, growing business, and good company.

Judges await the feast (L-R: Evan LeRoy, Todd Duplechan, Taylor Byrd, Brad Sorenson)

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