If you follow the monthly dining recommendations of CultureMap Dallas (as well you should), you are coming off January's religious experience of tofu. You're feeling fit as a fiddle — but also a teensy bit emasculated. Your carnivorous side is growling like a tiger stuck in a too-small cage (which is to say, any tiger that's caged at all). You want, you NEED meat.
Yes, you've seen the reports claiming that all red meat is bad for you; that it's loaded with fecal matter; and that eating it brings on some pretty bad karma, not to mention a second-hand dose of antibiotics. So what. That's part of its allure.
People who revel in the consumption of meat, who show how worldly they are by eating the scary bits, are badass. They boldly go where 95 percent of the population in America goes.
It's time to bring on the meat. And not just regular meat but extreme meat. The meatiest of the meat. MEAT.
Chef Andrew Dilda is a meat-plying enthusiast who learned the ropes of smoking and curing while at Woodshed Smokehouse and CBD Provisions. He has that hunger to immerse himself and do it all. Barter's menu includes house-made sausage, wild boar ribs and steak by the ounce.
Meat extreme: BLT made with three kinds of bacon
The accomplishment at this Bishop Arts fave is not merely that the menu is chock-a-block with meat, but that it has virtually no vegetables at all. There is, however, lamb neck, pork cheek, bone marrow and hanger steak.
Meat extreme: "The Big Board" charcuterie sampler with pate wrapped in bacon, beef tongue, smoked duck and, for an additional $9, foie gras
New Greenville Avenue spot from Goodfriend crew is as manly — and by manly we mean meaty — as it gets. Consider: beef tartare, charcuterie, six kinds of house-made sausages, duck, duck pastrami, pastrami egg rolls, French fries made with duck fat and pig ears. There's bacon in the side of Brussels sprouts and bacon dressing in the spinach salad.
Meat extreme: Too hard to pick just one
CBD follows the cheese-topped meat-loving philosophy that's a signature of its parent company, Consilient, but with an extra thrust from chef Michael Sindoni, a longtime enthusiast of curing, forcemeats and so on. He's unsurpassed in his literal execution of the whole nose-to-tail thing, in dishes such as braised tripe, pork rinds and pig tails.
Meat extreme: Pig head carnitas, i.e., an actual pig head on the plate, teeth and all
If you follow the Facebook exploits of chef Matt McCallister, you've seen the photos of various meats curing in his shoe closet since before his days at Campo. Currently on FT33's menu: charcuterie, wild boar loin and belly, hot and sour veal sweetbreads, duck with black pudding.
Meat extreme: Akaushi beef cheek and beef belly
Chef Brian Luscher was early on the charcuterie trend and also makes his own line of hot dogs called Post Oak Red Hots. His approach to meat is in line with the old-school continental vibe of The Grape; it's restrained. Think braised rabbit leg, lamb tartines and steak frites.
Meat extreme: Charcuterie plate with bacon-wrapped rabbit mortadella, chicken and mushroom terrine, smoked ham, pork rillettes and chicken-liver pate
HG Sply Co.
"Food = fuel" reads the website of this Paleo palace on Greenville Avenue. Fuel for urban warrior to charge through his day. One category of HG's menu is actually labeled "The Hunted." It includes steak, lamb chop, chicken, ahi tuna and venison, no doubt killed with bow and arrow. There's another menu category called "Meat & Bread"; any other restaurant would call that "Sandwiches."
Meat extreme: bison long ribs with rosemary frites
Lucia's David Uygur gets credit for being the first local chef to make charcuterie the cool thing to do. Thanks to him, we learned how to love (and pronounce) nduja, that spicy red spreadable Calabrian sausage. But his bigger coup is the way he champions the non-steakhouse cuts of meat and makes them high-end.
Meat extreme: Texas Wagyu carne cruda with bone marrow brioche
Rated one of the top barbecue restaurants in Texas, Pecan Lodge gives Dallas a brisket it can brag about. As a barbecue place, it is obviously meat-centric, with ribs, sausage, brisket and pulled pork all available by the pound. That the restaurant also offers a massive baked sweet potato is a lovely gesture.
Meat extreme: $65 family-style (serves four to five) platter with beef rib, pork rib, brisket, pulled pork and sausage links
Having aced game meat at his Stockyards restaurant Lonesome Dove, chef Tim Love goes hog wild at Woodshed, his innovative smokehouse on the Trinity River. He sets the stage when you enter by displaying a whole animal carcass on a spit, behind a picture window in the kitchen. There's far more than meat to this place, but when they do it, they do it big.
Meat extreme: 16-hour smoked beef shin with chili, beans and salad, to be split by four or more