Power pitmaster Aaron Franklin’s Hot Luck Fest returns with a smoking lineup from Texas and beyond

Power pitmaster Aaron Franklin’s Hot Luck Fest returns with a smoking lineup from Texas and beyond
Power pitmaster Aaron Franklin’s Hot Luck Fest returns with a smoking lineup from Texas and beyond

We know, we know: SXSW hasn’t even started yet, but another festival announcement just dropped, and foodies in Houston and Texas will be paying attention. Aaron Franklin’sHot Luck Fest is back and returning to Austin Memorial Day Weekend, 25-28. May, and the tickets go on sale today at 10am (Tuesday 7 March).

Founded by the James Beard Award-winning chef — along with Guerilla Suit principal and Mohawk owner James Moody, and Mike Thelin, co-founder of Feast Portland — Hot Luck is more casual family gathering than loud, flashy music and food party. Franklin invites some of his favorite chefs, chefs and musicians from around the country and beyond.

“We’re excited to welcome our friends to Austin, and kick off the summer with Hot Luck,” the Hot Luck founders say via the release.

According to a release, Hot Luck weekend means fun food events by day, and music by night at some of Austin’s most iconic clubs, including Mohawk and Hotel Vegas. This year Hot Luck are delighted to welcome The King Khan and the BBQ Show, The Gories, Frankie and the Witch Fingers, Shinyribs, Robert Ellis. and more.

This year the party is partnering again with the Southern Smoke Foundation, renewing their partnership with a focus on helping people in our industry when they need it most. Southern Smoke has been a recipient of the Hot Luck Fest charity since 2022.

Guests can choose to attend each event throughout the weekend with the Whole Enchilada Pass or sample one or two food or music events individually. Music show ticket prices start at just $12, and the 2023 events and chef lineup are as follows:

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Thursday 25 March – Hi, how’s it going?: Franklin Barbecue

Join Hot Luck for this East Side backyard industry gathering featuring some of Aaron’s favorites including: Franklin Barbecue (Austin, TX); Jeremy Sewall, Row 34 (Boston, MA); Ashley Christensen, Poole’s Diner (Raleigh, NC), Dana Cree, Pretty Cool Ice Cream (Chicago, IL); Sophina Uong, Mister Mao (New Orleans, LA); Misti Norris, Petra and the Beast (Dallas, TX); Tracy Malechek-Ezekiel, Birdie’s and Arjav Ezekiel, Birdie’s (Austin, TX), Evan Leroy, Leroy and Lewis (Austin, TX); Todd Duplechan, Lenoir (Austin, TX); Mashama Bailey & Kristine Kittrell The Diner Bar (Austin, TX); Patrick Feges, Feges BBQ (Houston, TX); Erin Smith, Fege’s BBQ (Houston, TX); Damien Brockway, Distant Relatives (Austin, TX)

*This event is from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM and is included in the Whole Enchilada ticket package, which can be entered early at 17.30. Individual tickets are also available for $180.

Friday 26 May – Big Top: Fair Market

A completely new event, this is an ode to carnivals and fairs. Join Hot Luck under the Big Top at the Fair Market, a beautiful and iconic venue in East Austin, for a night of fun and games and delicious food. The full chef selection includes:Chris Bianco, Pizzeria Bianco (Phoenix, AZ); Stuart Brioza, The Anchovy Bar (San Francisco, CA); Mason Hereford, The Turkey and the Wolf (New Orleans, LA); Gabe Rucker, Le Pigeon (Portland, OR); Marc Vetri, Vetri Cucina (Philadelphia, PA); Amanda Shulman, Her Place (Philadelphia, PA); Sarah Grueneberg, Monteverde (Chicago, IL); Paola Velez (Washington DC); Marc-Olivier Frappier, Mon Lapin (Montreal, CAN); Becky Masson, Fluff (Houston, TX); Tavel Bristol-Joseph, Emmer & Rye Hospitality Group/Canje (Austin, TX); Sarah McIntosh, Épicerie (Austin, TX); Yoshi Okai, Otoko (Austin, TX); Edgar Rico and Sara Mardanbigi, Nixta (Austin, TX); Fiore Tedesco, L’Oco d’Oro (Austin, TX); Luis ‘Beto’ Robledo, Cuantos Tacos (Austin, TX)

*This event is from 7-10pm and is included in the Whole Enchilada ticket package; Full Enchilada passholders can enter early at 6:30 p.m. Individual tickets are also available for $180.

Saturday 27 May – Al Fuego: Wild Onion Ranch

This is Hot Luck’s main event and live-action celebration of flame-fueled and outdoor cooking styles that run the gamut. Boots optional. Koozies required. Participating chefs include: Crystal Wahpepah, Wahpepah’s Kitchen (Oakland, CA); Alon Shaya, Safta (Denver, CO); Erick Williams, Virtue (Chicago, IL); Arlin Smith, Eventide Oyster Co. (Portland, ME); Andrew Taylor, Eventide Oyster Co. (Portland, ME); Jordan Rubin, Mr. Tuna (Portland, ME); Ashleigh Shanti, Good Hot Fish (Asheville, NC); Matt Lightner, Okta (Portland, OR); Diane Moua (Minneapolis, MN); Michael Cimarusti, Providence (Los Angeles, CA); Reem Assil, Reem’s California (Oakland, CA); Eric Wareheim; Joe Beddia, Pizzeria Beddia (Philadelphia, PA); Chuy Villarreal, Orinoco (Monterey, MEX); Chava Orozco, Mi Compa Orozco (Mexico City, MEX); Kevin Fink, Emmer & Rye Hospitality Group/Ezov(Austin, TX); Davis Turner, Huckleberry Hospitality (Austin, TX); Michael Fojtasek, Albert Hotel (Austin, TX); Amanda Turner, Olamaie (Austin, TX); Shane Stark, Mongers (Austin, TX); Andy Knudson, Tillie’s (Wimberly, TX); Fermín Núñez, Este (Austin, TX); Ariana Quant, Uchi, Uchiko (Austin, TX); Kareem El-Ghayesh, KG BBQ (Austin, TX); Jakub Czyszczon, Garrison (Austin, TX); Blake Ransom, revue (Austin, TX); Brad McDonald, Nido (Austin, TX); Thomas Malz, Carpenters Hall at the Carpenter Hotel (Austin, TX); Jeffrey Hundelt, Summer House on Music Lane (Austin, TX)

*This event is from 7-10pm and is included in the Whole Enchilada ticket package; Full Enchilada pass holders can enter early at 18.30. Individual tickets are also available for $250.

More details on various ticket options, including the Whole Enchilada package, are available at

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