Alice Laussade woke up this morning still covered with glitter. Normally, that would indicate the previous night’s activities included a lap dance. Not so in this case. Laussade, aka The Cheap Bastard, and her husband Mike put on Meat Fight yesterday at Sons of Hermann Hall. All the signage — the Meat Fight sign hanging above the judges’ table, the signs for the various meat stations — was done in glitter. Though it occurs to me now, as I type this, that I didn’t think to ask Laussade today whether she got a lap dance yesterday. So that possibility can’t yet be ruled out yet.
The fighters yesterday included: Jack Perkins (Maple & Motor), Chad Houser (Cafe Momentum), Tiffany Derry (Private Social), Matt McCallister (FT33), Cody Sharp (The Front Room), Jeffery Hobbs, Jeana Johnson (
Acme F&B Good 2 Go Taco), Jeff Bekavac (Neighborhood Services), Eric Hansen (Il Cane Rosso), Randall Copeland (Restaurant AVA), Omar Flores (Driftwood), and Brian Luscher (The Grape).
The latter spent a sleepless night at the Grape, tending his fire. And it paid off. Luscher captained the winning team, whose name was Meatallica. In the individual categories, Bekavac won best sausage, Flores won best pulled pork, Derry won best pork belly, and Perkins won best Brisket. That was the determination of the judges: Daniel Vaughn (aka the BBQ Snob), Will Fleischman (Lockhart Smokehouse), Tim Byres (Smoke), Justin Fourton (Pecan Lodge), Stephen Joseph (Riverport BBQ), Nick Pencis (Stanley’s Famous Pit BBQ), and Aaron Franklin (aka the Jesus of barbecue from Franklin Barbecue).
Now then. You might well wonder how the team concept comes into play in a barbecue contest. That’s a good question. I don’t have an answer for you. This is because, foremost, I am a bad reporter but also because the event was pure meat mayhem, making it difficult to gather any actual facts. In the past, the Laussades have staged the Meat Fight in their backyard for 75 of their closest friends. This year they sold tickets. Three hundred and fifty of them, at $50 a pop, were gobbled up in one hour and 10 minutes. If you guessed that 350 carnivores simultaneously trying to get their greasy hands on meat served in tiny plastic ramekins (thereby obviating the need for utensils) was an orderly process, then you guessed wrong. The meat came out in flights — first sausage, then pulled pork, and so on — and the people swarmed to it.
“We had a plan,” Laussade tells me, “and then people just started serving food and eating it. People got in lines because people get in lines. And chefs started serving because that’s what chefs do.”
Remarkably, everyone seemed to maintain a cheerful attitude amid the chaos. This is a testament, I think, to Laussade’s popularity and to the fact that it was a charity event (with a silent auction and t-shirts and so forth, $20,000 was raised for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society). Too, it helped that beer from Deep Ellum Brewing flowed very freely. Oh, and bourbon. There was that, too. Some Knob Creek wound up in my tummy.
Next year, Laussade says, the event will be bigger and better. Many of the chefs from this year’s contest have already said they are ready to fight again. “I got hugs and demands for recounts,” Lassaude says, “all the stuff that’s supposed to happen.”
I predict the Meat Fight will grow into a significant date on the yearly Dallas event calendar. You can pencil it in now. Just to be sure, mark off the whole month of November. And when the tickets go on sale, don’t dally.
Now here are some pictures of meat. They were all taken by Nicholas McWhirter.