H-E-B Quest for Texas Best winners include Dallas’ Smokey John’s BBQ rub

H-E-B brought its annual Quest for Texas Best to Dallas’ Fair Park as it prepares to open stores in Frisco and Plano this fall.

More than 500 Texans submitted 564 products — coffee, cleaners, sweets, salsa and salamis — to be judged in H-E-B’s 2022 statewide competition.

Annie Leal, McAllen, won the grand prix with her I Love Chamoy Chamoy Sauce. Condiments made from dried chilies and lime water. Add no sugar

It was selected Wednesday from 10 finalists that included Dallas brothers Brent and Juan Reaves, who tied for third place with their restaurant’s Smokey John’s BBQ meat rub. The brothers say their family recipe takes on a different taste depending on the protein and how it’s cooked.

It’s a project that they got serious about during the pandemic. The Reaves brothers received some guidance from Raising Cane’s founder Todd Graves when he featured the Dallas restaurant on an episode of his 2021 season of Restaurant Recovery, The broadcast was also carried on Discovery+ and the Cooking Channel.

“Todd helped us navigate the pandemic and get started with the rub’s label and how to become shelf-ready with a UPC code,”Juan Reaves 51. “He really helped us fulfill Dad’s dream for the business.”

Their late father John Reaves, who founded Smokey John’s in 1976, died in 2019. Reaves would inspire his sons to try new ideas. “make money while you sleep.”

I Love Chamoy founder Annie Leal (right) thanks judge Bob Phillips after winning the H-E-B’s Quest for the Best competition in the Briscoe Carpenter Livestock Center at Fair Park in Dallas. Leal of McAllen invented I Love Chamoy, which is a keto-friendly and sugarless version of Chamoy. Leo, Leo’s father was diagnosed with diabetes. Leo couldn’t enjoy his Mexican food so Leal created a sugar-free version that will now be sold at HEB stores. (Tom Fox/Staff Photographer)

They are regular attendees at the Texas State Fair as well as vendors. Smokey John’s is one of the largest sellers of turkey legs at the State Fair, and the brothers try to come up with an annual outrageous food concoction.

Panel of judges that includes Dallas Morning NewsErin Booke (food editor) selected four products valued at $80,000. The grand prize winner received $25,000 and space on H&EB shelves. You can find the majority of the products, plus some more entries in HEB stores.

It’s a contest that allows retailers to offer Texan products in their stores, and also encourages creativity. “to support local, small and diverse businesses,” said James Harris, H-E-B’s senior director of diversity and inclusion.

Texas Best 2022 Quest finalist

1. Four Sixes Ranch Chuck Wagon Chile Mix: Burnett Ranches LLC (Guthrie)

2. I Love Chamoy Chamoy Sauce: Annie Leal (McAllen)

3. Lapeyreaux’s Crawfish Hand Soap/Cleaner: James Lapreyrouse and Chris English (Magnolia)

4. Ashley Cameron (Lakeway), Love and Cookie Frozen Cookies Dough

5. Guillermo Amtmann, Houston (PSR Brands Patria Energy Drink).

6. Puro Gallo Enterprises Puro Nitro Coffee: Daniel Mezza (San Antonio)

7. Smokey John’s BBQ Rub: Brent and Juan Reaves (Dallas)

8. Sweet Boulevard Japanese Cotton Cheesecake: Manuel Alvarez and Nadia Escalante (Brownsville)

9. Texas Iberico Charcuterie Meats (Menard), Ashly Martin and Sondra Warren

10. ZWITA Spicy Traditional Harissa: Karim, Houston

Twitter: @MariaHalkias

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H-E-B Quest for Texas Best winners include Dallas’ Smokey John’s BBQ rub

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