Arlington’s Brisket Boss Eyes Top Prize in H-E-B’s 10th Annual ‘Quest for Texas Best’ Competition

From effervescent beverages and farm-fresh yogurts to handcrafted tanning oils and novel cereals, ten contenders are set to compete for the CPG spotlight come Aug. 9. Here's the lineup.

As H-E-B’s “Quest for Texas Best” competition marks its 10th anniversary of spotlighting Texas’s culinary marvels, Arlington’s Brisket Boss, led by Royce Simmons has emerged as one of the top contenders.

Over the past decade, the competition has brought nearly 1,000 unique food items, beverages, and general merchandise to H-E-B shelves. 

The Texas-based grocery chain said it’s spent that time searching, tasting, and selecting the best Texas-made products ranging from salsas, spices, and sausages to cookies, coffee, cheeses, and every food, beverage, and unique merchandise in between.

On Aug. 9, ten finalists, including Simmons, will pitch their products and share the stories behind their creations at Fair Park in Dallas. A panel of judges will determine the four winning products of a combined $70,000 prize and award $25,000 to the Grand Prize winner, deemed the “Texas Best,” and earning placement on store shelves, the company said.

James Harris, H-E-B’s senior director of diversity & inclusion and supplier diversity, commended these small business pioneers: “Not only are we supporting small business in Texas, we’re also expanding our selection of innovative, diverse, and quality products our customers expect.”

The first-place winner will be awarded $20,000, $15,000 will go to the second-place winner, and $10,000 to the third-place winner.

This year, the contest saw a record influx of submissions, with over 21 hours of video content representing 632 products from 132 Texan cities, H-E-B said.

Texas Best finalists

Arlington-based Brisket Boss’ Royce D. Simmons (center) with the 2023 competition finalists. [Photo: H-E-B]

Royce D. Simmons of Brisket Boss in Arlington will bring the barbecue company’s “Savory Peach Molasses Seasoning” to the table.

It’s a nod to decades of BBQ love in his family.

Per the H-E-B contest site: “For more than 70 years the Simmons/Johnson family has been known for delivering delicious BBQ throughout Texas. It started with Royce’s father also name Royce, and his uncle Bill Johson who legend says sold more BBQ than most official BBQ restaurants and ‘than the law would allow.’ After Billy Johnson’s passing in the late ’90s, son Royce Simmons continued the passion for preparing delicious BBQ and founded Brisket Boss, a BBQ catering company. The Brisket Boss Savory Peach Molasses Seasoning is an all-purpose seasoning with a dynamic combination of Peach Molasses and savory flavors. It is a great addition to beef, pork, chicken, lamb, seafood, and vegetables.”

Since launching the contest in 2014, H-E-B said it has awarded nearly $2 million in prize money, marketing, mentoring, and supplemental support. H-E-B has also awarded 50 Quest for Texas Best suppliers with a commemorative H-E-B Million Dollar Club belt buckle for achieving $1 million in sales.

H-E-B said that in that time, more than 6,000 products have been highlighted in the H-E-B Quest for Texas Best competition and that more than 990 unique food items, beverages, and general merchandise have made it to H-E-B shelves.

During that decade, 180 finalists have made it to the judges’ table representing a “dynamic lineup” of small local businesses owned by women, minorities, and military veterans with diverse backgrounds.

Joining Brisket Boss among the finalists are:

  • A’HUA Sparkling Agua Fresca of Jasper
  • Texas Babe Tanning Oil of Rockport
  • Armagh Creamery Organic Yogurt of Dublin
  • Funky Mello, Sweet N Salty Dipsterz of Austin
  • PhoLicious – Authentic Vietnamese Rice Noodle Soup of Houston
  • Sorrento Ristorante Pasta Sauce of San Antonio
  • Sweets With L&L Cotton Candy of Spring
  • Verdegreens Farmstand Salad Dressing of Houston
  • Wella-Wellas Grain-Free Cereal of Lockhart.

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