State Fare: Vaca y Vino, near Austin, should be on your bucket list next year

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a roasting whole steer, with chefs Fox and Lambert talking 'cue to Hatch contributor Zeke Quezada (R to L)

roast beast

oak coals fueled the roast

great setting for a bbq

turned out great, including Lambert's jalepeno beef sausage

damn good beef

If only the bbq at the neaby Salt Lick were as good as the beef at vaca y vino...

Last weekend, Austin chefs Emmett Fox (of Fino and Asti), Lou Lambert (of Lamberts Downtown Barbecue) and Larry McGuire (of Perla’s and Elizabeth Street Café) hogtied an 850 pound Texas steer to a custom made grill, built a bed of hot oak coals in a cedar block pit in the middle of a perfect meadow a half-hour’s drive south of Austin, and invited 300 middle-aged food pilgrims to dig in.

I was among them.

(But so was Texas Monthly’s senior editor Pat Sharpe, BBQ snob Daniel Vaughn, and LA food and travel writer/Hatch contributor Zeke Quezada).

They called it Vaca y Vino, and there was plenty of both.

“We can easily feed a few hundred people from this steer alone,” Lambert told me. “But just to be safe, we also slow roasted a ton of primal cuts” separately, for extra ribeyes, tenderloins and strip steaks. The day-long outing included appetizers, soup, dessert, hundreds of bottles of Shiner beer and Norton wines, and desserts.

No one left hungry.