Drizzle couldn’t dampen Rachael Ray’s spirits on Saturday morning as she accepted a proclamation from Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell at her seventh annual Feedback Party at Stubb’s.
Leffingwell declared Saturday Rachael Ray Day in Austin in honor of the celebrity food personality’s annual free party, which she has said is her way of giving back to the city she calls "utopia."
Earlier in the week, Ray effused about her love of Austin as a guest on "Jimmy Kimmel Live," where said she that last year’s Feedback drew more than 75,000 RSVPs.
Only a fraction of that many people packed into Stubb’s on Saturday, some lining up as early as 3 a.m., according to reports on Twitter, to hear artists including Blondie, Cee-Lo Green, Allen Stone, Yelawolf (featuring Travis Barker), The Wild Feathers, Bob Schneider, The Cringe (fronted by Ray’s husband, John Cusimano), Har Mar Superstars and Foxboro Hot Tubs, a garage band side project from the members of Green Day. (Click here for Deborah Sengupta Stith’s review of the Cee-Lo performance.)
But arguably the biggest draw is the free food and drinks from sponsors including Blue Moon and Ball Park. Ray spends weeks working on the menu each year, and this year’s dishes were quite different, with not a single spin on Tex Mex in sight. However, despite a long wait for food, no one had anything but praise for the brisket sliders topped with Ray’s mom’s recipe for horseradish sauce, and her whiskey-soaked chicken wings and drumsticks left plenty of people grinning with sauce on their cheeks.
In partnership with Ball Park, which is launching a new line of upscale hot dogs called Park’s Finest, Ray created a kimchi chow chow dog topped with a sweet relish that was another highlight of the menu. (The vegetarian-friendly but ho-hum eggplant sliders with tahini sauce isn’t a dish we’ll likely see again at the party.)
Ray, as usual, shuffled from stage to stage, camera in hand and security detail not far behind, to get up close with almost every band that played. Easy to spot in a black hat and jumper, Ray paused for selfies with enthusiastic members of the audience and was at ease as host of one of the biggest, longest-running, and best-loved parties at South by Southwest.
You can find more photos of the party at Facebook.com/relishaustin.
Cracked Dijon Mustard Frankfurter with Kimchi Chow Chow
1 1/2 cups rice wine vinegar
1-2 Tbsp. Sriracha hot sauce
1 Tbsp. celery seed
1 Tbsp. yellow mustard seed
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp. salt
1 small head or half of a large Napa or green cabbage, thinly sliced
1/2 small to medium size red onion, very thinly sliced
2 large cloves garlic, very thinly sliced
1 cup fresh corn kernels
4 Park’s Finest Cracked Dijon Mustard Frankfurters (any hot dog would work)
4 good, quality hot dog buns (such as brioche buns)
Bring the vinegar, hot sauce, celery seed, mustard seed, Chinese mustard, water, sugar, and salt to a boil. Add the cabbage, onion, garlic and corn, and bring everything back to a boil. Then, turn off the heat.
Once the chow chow cools slightly, pour the mixture into a large bowl and let cool fully in the fridge while you cook the franks. It can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks in a sealed container.
Preheat a grill or grill pan to medium-low heat. Place the frankfurters on the grill and cook according to package instructions (about 6 to 8 minutes, turning frequently).
When the frankfurters are ready, remove them from grill and place on buns. Top with kimchi chow chow and serve. Serves 4.
— Adapted from a recipe from Rachael Ray and Park’s Finest