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The best Father’s Day ever: new Birthright BBQ Festival in Dallas on Sunday, June 17, features Aaron Franklin and other top US pitmasters


If your dad likes barbecue – really good barbecue – here’s a Father’s Day gift he won’t soon forget: a barbecue in the park with Aaron Franklin and a few of America’s top pitmasters. Texas Monthly barbecue editor Daniel Vaughn has recruited a team of top barbecue experts to cook at the inaugural Birthright BBQ Festival, a new Father’s Day picnic-in-the-park event near downtown Dallas and presented by Four Corners Brewery and Dallas Heritage Village. But if you’re thinking booths and briskets, Vaughn promises Birthright won’t be like any other barbecue festival in Texas.

“We’re going to highlight the history of Texas barbecue and heritage cooking because Texans celebrate barbecue as a birthright,” Vaughn says. “We’ll be smoking sausages in an old smokehouse on the property, cooking whole animals over open coal pits, and drinking plenty of beer.”

His all-star team of pitmasters includes Aaron Franklin of Franklin Barbecue in Austin, whole hog cookery expert Elliot Moss of Ashville, S.C.’s Buxton Hall, plus Dallas notables Todd David of Cattleack BBQ, and Brent & Juan Reeves of Smoky Johns BBQ. They’ll be joined by Patrick Feges of Feges BBQ in Houston and Evan LeRoy of LeRoy and Lewis Barbecue in Austin.

While Moss tends to the whole hog (his specialty), the others will be mingling with the crowd, carving brisket and mopping the goats, pigs and half-a-steer cooking over coal pits. “It’s an opportunity for them to cook things they don’t normally cook, which means this should be a lot more fun than a plate of brisket and some pinto beans,” Vaughn says.

The $65 admission price ($75 at the door) covers everything from quality time with the pitmasters to chowing down on bbq to experiencing a type of live fire cooking we haven’t seen in these parts in many years.

“It’ll be like an old-style community barbecue,” Vaughn says. “Plenty of food, ice-cold beer, lots of people” – and a lot more delicious than a restaurant buffet.

Sunday, June 17, from 6 p.m.; 1515 S. Harwood St., Dallas. Tickets: Birthrightbbqfest.com.

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