BBQ News

Big brisket smokeout benefits Dallas bartenders and frontline workers

Big brisket smokeout benefits Dallas bartenders and frontline workers

Ferris Wheelers BBQ Doug Pickering
Using BBQ to do good. Photo courtesy of Ferris Wheelers

Since coronavirus hit town, Dallas has seen much generosity in the food & beverage industry, and The Great Texas Bar-B-Que Pickup is the latest greatest example. This initiative uses smoked brisket as a way to benefit bartenders who are out of work.

Seven Dallas-area pitmasters will join forces to smoke a heap of briskets and transform them into family meals, featuring 2 pounds of sliced prime brisket, garlic mashed potatoes, green beens, and a loaf of bread, enough to serve four, for $50.

You can help by ordering a meal for your family, or by donating a meal to a worker on the front line; order here.

Participating pitmasters/restaurants include:

  • Leo Morales/ Derek Parker, Barrel & Bones Craft Bar and Smokehouse, The Colony
  • Chad Sessions, Smoke Sessions, Royse City
  • Michael Sharp, Ferris Wheelers Backyard & BBQ, Dallas Design District
  • Hurtado BBQ
  • Bryan Clarity, 407 BBQ
  • Kenneth Cunningham, North Texas BBQ Addicts

The idea came from Leo Morales of Barrel and Bones Craft Bar & Smokehouse and Bryan Townsend of Trigger's Toys, with Brian McCullough of Specs offering an assist.

Founded by Townsend and his wife Stacey, Trigger's Toys is a nonprofit dedicated to helping hospitalized children, and has had a longtime association with the bartender industry through an annual charitable event, The Ultimate Cocktail Experience. (Trigger's Toys was also the charitable recipient for the 2018 version of CultureMap's annual Tastemaker Awards.)

"Bartenders have been there since day one for Trigger's Toys, and have raised over $1 million," Townsend says. "Stacey and I wanted to be there for them. I called Brian McCullough and said I wanted to put up some cash and help as many bartenders as possible."

"Out of nowhere, somebody tagged me on a Facebook post from Leo Morales of Barrel and Bones who wanted to do a barbecue event and was looking for a 5013c," he says. "We immediately decided that instead of doing the same thing separately, we could do something together."

Their priority is to make sure that the money goes to people who will benefit the most: bartenders, and also first responders.

"We wanted to find a way to help not just those in the industry bu also help feed people working on the front lines, fire and police and hospital workers," Townsend says.

To that end, you can help in 3 ways:

  • Buy a meal for your family. Proceeds go to the bartenders, and your family gets fed.
  • Buy a meal for someone on the front lines. Proceeds go to the bartenders, and a nurse gets fed.
  • Buy a virtual meal for $50 donation. Proceeds go to the bartenders.

Townsend says that nobody involved is taking a dime. "The only money spent is to buy the meat for the briskets," he says. "If we're able to sell 750 meals, that'll allow us to help 100 bartenders with a significant payout. There are things going on nationally, but I was determined to help people in our community. And with so many bartenders out of work, it's enough to put some decent money in a lot of people’s hands."

They also got participation from eight area breweries who will serve as pickup spots around DFW:

  • Oak Highlands Brewery​
  • Bitter Sisters Brewing
  • Pegasus City
  • Deep Ellum Distillery
  • Turning Point
  • Shannon Brewing
  • On Rotation
  • 3 Nations

The smoking event begins April 24, and the meal pickup takes place on Monday April 27.

The application process is open to members of the unemployed service industry who were laid off or lost work due to COVID-19. They're using a third party to oversee the process and make sure the money situation runs smoothly. Recipients will be selected prior to April 29 and will receive their grant on the following day.