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Smoke 'Em If You Got 'Em

The Austin Smoke Experiment takes over Clive Bar on March 10
Claudia Alarcón, 3:10pm, Mon. Mar. 4, 2013

The Brooklyn-based duo of Theo Peck and Nick Suarez bring their Food Experiments amateur cooking contest back after a fun and successful two years. The inaugural Pork Experiment was a riot, and last year's Taco Experiment brought some real competition from seriously talented Austin cooks. This time, it's all about smoke.

Nick Suarez (l) and Theo Peck of The Food Experiments
Courtesy of The Food Experiments

This wacky traveling cooking contest series was developed by Peck and Suarez after the two met as amateur cooking contestants themselves. They have taken it on the road all across the country, and last year even made it to Sweden for the first ever European Chili Experiment. Yes, they cook chili in Sweden, and they also drink copious amounts of beer from Brooklyn Brewery, the sponsor of the Experiments.

On Sunday March 10, local cooks will vie for the opportunity to represent Austin at the national level during this year's Austin Smoke Experiment. As of this writing, a few contestant spots were still available, but there are plenty of tickets left to come try the contestants' creations, vote for your favorite, and enjoy lots of Brooklyn brews. I asked Suarez to give us an idea of what we have in store.

"There is something very special that happens to food when it's smoked. Smoke elevates its flavors and adds layers of complex new ones. We felt that since Texans — and specifically Austinites —, are smoke aficionados,it would be a new theme that would get local home chefs excited! We're certainly excited to see the creativity, the flavors, and the experimenting that can be utilized by smoking ingredients," he explained.

The crowd enjoys samples of the competing tacos and some ice cold Brooklyn brews during the 2012 Taco Experiment.
Photo by Dan D'Ippolito

If last year's Taco Experiment is any indication, attendees have a raucous good time in store. "Wherever we hold a Taco Experiment, people go crazy, and that was no different for last year's Austin Taco Experiment," says Suarez. "People get crazy all over the world for tacos, and it really shows whenever we host a taco-themed cook-off. We're pretty sure people will get just as excited for smoked food!"

After all, these contests attract a bunch of imaginative folks who can actually cook, and are not shy to let their freak flag fly. " We always encourage our chefs to push their culinary boundaries and be daring in the kitchen. I wasn't able to make last year's Chinese Experiment in DC, but Theo mentioned someone making a General Tso's Chicken flavored Ice Cream! I think it blew Theo's mind and everyone who attended the cook-off as well."

Photo by Dan D'Ippolito

I am thankful the duo has invited me to be a judge again, and I am very much looking forward to see what Austin will do with their smoke. "The cool thing about 2013 here in Austin," adds Suarez, "is that we are a part of Brooklyn Brewery's MASH series events during SXSW. They'll be hosting dinner parties with Marcus Samuelson, dance-offs with DJ Jonathan Toubin, greenmarket demonstrations, and of course they'll be supporting the Austin Smoke Experiment on March 10 at Clive Bar.

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit the The Austin Smoke Experiment site. Tickets are $15 and include samples and Brooklyn beer. If you're daring enough to jump into the cook-off fray or just want to be there to taste the entries, go here. See you there and good luck!

Austin Smoke Experiment

Sunday, March 10; 1-4pm

Clive Bar

609 Davis

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