The Texas Monthly Barbecue Festival is breaking with tradition this year and hitting the road to three Texas cities.

Brownsville is one of them.

The annual festival, held in Austin for the first 10 years and then virtually last year due to the pandemic, will hold a series of in-person Pit Stops in Brownsville, Lubbock and Tyler Oct. 9-17 in what is being billed as “Texas Monthly BBQ Fest: Road Trip Edition.”

Tickets for the three events go on sale Aug. 9 and probably won’t last long. Members of the Texas Monthly BBQ Club will get early bird ticket access on Aug. 6.

Texas Monthly Barbecue Editor Daniel Vaughn said in an announcement that the magazine decided to take the festival to the Rio Grande Valley and eastern and western parts of the state this year because “we thought it was time to spread the barbecue love.”

“These areas have been building a barbecue community all their own, and we want to let them show that off,” he said.

The Brownsville Pit Stop will be Oct. 17 from noon to 4 p.m. at the Brownsville Market Square in downtown Brownsville. Barbecue from Vera’s Backyard BBQ, Smoking Oak, Teddy’s BBQ and Smoking Moon will be featured.

Texas Monthly normally releases its list of top 50 barbecue joints every four years in the summer, though this year it will be published in November to ensure Vaughn and his team of contributors have plenty of time for research and reporting in light of COVID-19 protocols, said the magazine. This year’s list will go online on Oct. 20 and hit newsstands on Oct. 21 with the November issue.

A view of Vera’s Backyard Bar-B-Que sign on the corner of East 24th Street and Southmost Boulevard. (Miguel Roberts/The Brownsville Herald)

Brownsville Mayor Trey Mendez said the city has been in talks with Texas Monthly ever since last year’s first Crossroads Festival about bringing more big events to Brownsville.

“The Texas Monthly Live event in 2019 was hugely successful, as was our Crossroads collaboration,” he said. “Texas Monthly’s BBQ and taco editors have enjoyed their time in Brownsville, and this event only helps to elevate our culinary talent on a larger platform. We are definitely excited to welcome Texas Monthly and all of the folks who will be coming down to participate.”

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