If you’re a barbecue lover like me, then no city, state, or country is out of reach – especially when it’s a barbecue joint that’s slinging succulent Texas-style, award-winning, and Bark-O-Licious barbecue.
As we continue on our MEETS, EATS & SWEETS Tour 2022, we headed to the small community of San Juan Capistrano, California. This is an extremely cozy and beautiful town located in Orange County, California, along the Orange Coast. San Juan Capistrano was founded by the Spanish in 1776 when St. Junípero Serra established Mission San Juan Capistrano. It’s a beautiful place with friendly folks and now offers some of the BEST BARBECUE in the state of California.
I could smell the aromas lofting in the air a block away, and my mouth started watering as we approached. When we pulled up, we saw the beautiful surroundings with the palm trees and landscape dancing with the wind. What an amazing atmosphere to enjoy some delicious barbecue.
Heritage Barbecueis a Texas-style barbecue joint offering a rotating menu of home-made sides, succulent smoked brisket, beef ribs, and pulled pork. They also offer juicy, flavor-loaded tri-tip, smoked chicken, turkey, K.C-style burnt-ends, and a variety of other proteins, even house-prepared sausages.
They have the ordering process down to a science. It’s easy and organized, and the line moves like a finely tuned Swiss watch. We ordered and then enjoyed the fresh air in the unique and cozy outdoor atmosphere. They have four massive barbecue pits on display that are constantly billowing smoke in the California sun while you sit and enjoy your barbecue. The pits are beautiful, offering a variety of colorful patinas that happen naturally in the barbecue smoking process.
About eight years ago I met a chef in Dallas who I had read so much about and heard so many stories. I had been wanting to meet him for several years, but our paths had never crossed, and I’m not one to push meetings. Being in the food and restaurant business for decades, I understand all too well the complications of restaurant operations and how short on time chefs, managers, partners and owners can be every day. Time is a commodity that everyone is short on these days, especially celebrity chefs. They have a tough schedule already, and if they’re traveling between multiple restaurant concepts, events, charity functions, meetings, and TV interviews, there truly is NO TIME to spare. With that in mind, I waited until the time was right to meet him.
When I met Chef John Tesar and got to spend some time with him hosting him on my TV show, I realized how passionate he was about the restaurant business and how he personally feels about perfection and what that word truly means. In today’s times some folks mistake passion and the pursuit of perfection for something else entirely. To be honest, being deeply passionate and dedicated toward something is a trait few folks will ever understand, but Chef John Tesar knows all too well because he lives it 24/7/365.
You can never fully understand a person by what you read or hear. You really have to spend some time talking with them to understand what they’re trying to achieve, and the path they’re walking to reach their goals. It would be safe to say that John isn’t walking anywhere – he is running full speed all the time in the relentless pursuit of creating deliciousness for everyone to enjoy.
Have you ever taken a bite of something so delicious that you thought to yourself, “I have to tell someone about this!” I’m sure you have because we all feel that way sometimes. It doesn’t matter if it’s savory, sweet, or both, we just want to tell someone about how perfect a dish was. After traveling around in 2021, eating and visiting with chefs and restaurant folks, I had an idea. I wanted to spread a little deliciousness among my friends; I wanted to share with everyone the BEST DISHES I ATE in 2021.
2021 was our most successful year at locating creative chefs and delicious dishes. We traveled through 10 different states, logging our most miles ever and visiting a record number of chefs and restaurants. I wanted to highlight some of the most unique and delicious dishes you should try in 2022. These are my top restaurants with dishes, and there’s a big variety so there’s something for everyone!
I enjoyed visiting and eating with some of the best chefs and restaurant folks in the business. Each dish has been carefully chosen and is a chef-driven dish prepared by the best! They only use fresh ingredients, vegetables, and spices to create some bold, modern flavor profiles that everyone will love. Most of the eats are simple dishes that are prepared with passion, love, and creativity. Remember, a simple dish is sometimes the most difficult to facilitate because all parts must be complete perfection. I believe that in most cases simple is better because it gives each ingredient that culinary jingle to create deliciousness.
I’ve been excited and wanting to create my list of top fried chicken joints for over two years, but like fried chicken itself, you just can’t rush perfection. We’ve been enjoying fried chicken all over North Texas from casual, fast casual and fast-food joints and I’ve finally decided it was time to let the feathers fly and expose what I consider to be the BEST fried chicken in the North Texas area.
We have many places selling various forms of chicken nowadays, so I want to be clear about what I mean when discussing fried chicken. I’m talking about fresh, bone-in chicken fried to GBP – Golden Brown Perfection. Wikipedia defines fried chicken as: “Southern fried chicken,” also known simply as fried chicken, is a dish consisting of chicken pieces that have been coated with seasoned flour or batter and pan-fried, deep fried, pressure fried, or air fried. The breading adds a crisp coating or crust to the exterior of the chicken while retaining juices in the meat.
Growing up, we served fried chicken at some of our Chapman Family Restaurants and it was very good. Under our restaurant umbrella we also owned a Churches Fried Chicken franchise, and this is where I truly learned the preparation techniques and the time it took to cook and deliver fresh fried chicken. There really are no shortcuts in the process – if you try and eliminate a step, you’re asking for subpar chicken. Preparing fried chicken isn’t very technical, but I strongly believe that simple cooking processes are sometimes the hardest to pull off. The simpler the dish, the less places there are to hide from subpar preparation.
I’m honored to present this year’s BEST burger winners. Any burger on my list is here because they are fresh and delicious. Please support local and try all of these burgers. Below at the end of the blog we created a full color poster of this years winners. You may screen shot from your phone or print it off and plan your BURGER adventures of 2021. By saving our list you will have instance reference for your barbecue cravings.
WOW! What a year 2020 was for the restaurant, food, and culinary world. In my five decades in the restaurant business, I’ve seen disasters of all types and nothing comes close to the devastating effect Covid-19 had on our economy. Restaurants, chefs, pitmasters, and restauranteurs had to make big changes if they wanted to survive the pandemic. Nationwide, we lost over 251,000 restaurants forever and 2.5 million restaurant jobs at the latest estimate. The good thing is that NOW we are on the mend and the Texas economy is in full giddy-up mode! This is why it’s so important to support local restaurants to keep us in giddy-up mode.
Even though things were crazy due to Covid-19 we still worked hard reporting on food and hunting down the best burgers we could locate in North Texas. The pandemic allowed us plenty of extra time to chow down on some tasty burgers; it also allowed burger creators time to come up with some new delicious and creative burgers for all of us to enjoy. If you follow me, you know how much I enjoy a great and tastyburger. This is our seventh year for the BEST BURGERcontest in Texas and I’m excited to tell everyone about my delicious burger discoveries.
Did you know that burgers are one of the most sought-after sandwiches in the world? The burger business is crazy in the U.S.A. I don’t have the newly updated numbers of burgers sold in 2020 during the pandemic (and it would be an oddly skewed amount), so we are using the last updated numbers. A national research company states that we sell 6.48 million burgers a day, and around 75 burgers a second! What? Yes, 75 burgers a second! This roughly breaks down as 4,500 burgers every minute, 270,000 every hour, 6.48 million a day, and 2.36 billion burgers a year. A worldwide research study states we sell 50 billion a year worldwide. 50 Billion a year that to me is shocking, but I know how many folks just love a succulent, savory, and delicious burger.
Hello, and THANK YOU so much for reading our Best Barbecue article for 2020. This year we’re very proud to release our Best Barbecue for 2020 on the Fox Network GOOD DAY Fox 4 show. Last year our 2019 BEST Barbecue in North Texas on ABC was extremely successful! In just over fifteen months we reached 1.2 million barbecue and food lovers. I hope you will visit some, if not all, of this year’s winners and reshare our article with your friends and family to help support local barbecue, pitmasters and deliciousness.
Below at the end of the blog we created a full list of this years winners. You may screen shot from your phone or print it off and plan your BBQ adventures of 2021. By saving our list you will have instance reference for your barbecue cravings.
WOW!What a year 2020 was for the restaurant, barbecue, and culinary world. In my five decades in the restaurant business, I’ve seen disasters of all types and nothing comes close to the devastating effect COVID-19 has had on our economy. Restaurants, pitmasters, chefs, and restauranteurs had to make big changes if they wanted to survive the pandemic. Nationwide we lost over 251,000 restaurants forever and 2.5 million restaurant jobs at the latest estimate. The good thing is that NOW we are on the mend and the Texas economy is in full giddy-up mode!
Saturday, September 4, is International Bacon Day 2021
Everyone dreams about bacon!
When Trey’s Chow Down saw there was an International Bacon Day and it was a real thing my mouth started salivating and all I could think about was how delicious bacon truly is.
Have you ever eaten a bad piece of bacon? I think not! No matter how it’s cooked, (soft, crispy, medium, or rock hard) bacon is always perfectly delightful.
Ever since 1500 B.C. folks have been eating and enjoying bacon. That’s a long time ago, but it just goes to show you how much everyone loves bacon.
Bacon’s history dates back thousands of years to 1500 B.C. The Chinese were curing pork bellies with salt. Basically, they were creating an early form of what we know today as bacon.
I’m shocked about how long ago bacon was being eaten and was created. I wonder how the first bacon fry went down. Here piggy piggy! Come here piggy piggy! Come over here let’s see if we can fry some of your body parts up? Seems legit to me lol!
Now that I’m thinking about it, I bet they could smell bacon frying a mile away and come strolling by to see what that delicious aroma was. I’m sure smelling that bacon for the first time set their foodie senses into overdrive. Well, of course, they didn’t call it bacon at that time but we will play along as if they did.
The first bacon fry must have not only been a mess, but also an exploration to try and figure out how to eat these creatures we call pigs. You know it smelled delicious and they were like, “YES that smells soooooo good”!
Today we have all kinds of various bacon flavors, thickness, bacon dishes, and bacon farmers who create some of the world’s best bacon right here in the good ol’ U.S.A.
When I spoke with the Fox producers about Bacon Day, it was clear that everyone loved bacon and we need to locate some of the best bacon dishes in the DFW area.
I sought out to locate some of the best bacon dishes for all my fellow food lovers to enjoy and boy… Did I find some great dishes to eat. If you love bacon you will love this article and my choices.
B&B has this amazing bacon dish named after Chef Tommy. Let me tell you, “Chef Tommy’s Bacon Dish” is loaded with flavors. When I read about this dish, I had to visit B&B so I could Chow Down and enjoy it for myself. It’s prepared with fresh blue cheese, truffle infused honey, and thick house bacon. This dish meets all the requirements for an award winning dish. The taste has an amazing flavor profile, tenderness, cooked perfectly, great texture, and fantastic eye appeal. One of the best bacon dishes anywhere, period! You need to try this dish, and it’s only 20 bucks.
Dallas & Plano, Texas
Chef John Tesar always has his creative side in forward motion. I haven’t had one dish, or food item, from John that’s not totally amazing. He’s crazy about using fresh ingredients, having perfect execution, pallet busting flavor profiles, fantastic restaurant atmospheres, and amazing customer service. The Knife bacon appetizer, simply put, is deliciousness with every single bite. The succulent variety of bacon is so flavorful you will order an extra one. I know it because we did it. The dish is simplistic. A tasting of five varieties of bacon and it’s served on a beautiful wood cutting board. It is truly life-changing and you need this dish in your life.
Oh, I love me some Sugarbacon! You’re probably saying to yourself, what the heck is Sugarbacon? Well, it’s two things really; A fantastic restaurant and a delicious lip-smacking bacon dish. The team over at Sugarbacon in McKinney have come up with a flavor-packed bacon dish that will send your taste buds to the flavor town. It’s truly an opportunity to try something new and exciting. The “Sugarbacon Appetizer” is prepared with house-smoked pork belly, ancho chili bbq sauce, B and B pickles, and served on thick bacon square bites. I’m telling you right now it has a fantastic flavor profile and is downright delicious. Folks, it is absolutely worth a trip to Chow Down and see what Sugarbacon is all about.
I drove by this place at least 25 times before I stopped into Chow Down. I had heard all about their flavor-packed barbecue treats, but I kept waiting to see some photos and reviews before I made the journey because I’ve been extremely busy. That was a mistake! We stopped in and had a variety of delicious BBQ treats but what really caught my eye was the “Bacon Wrapped Jalapeños.” I eat these all the time but Cowtown’s were different. They were wrapped tightly and the bacon was glazed just enough. Damn, they were delicious so flavorful that I ate 5 out of the 6 and we ordered some more for the whole table. They really were amazing. When you get a chance, head over to Cowtown for little bacon throw down. Tell’em Trey sent you!
I have to confess something to each of you. I’ve had dreams about the bacon dish at Del’s. Oh man, there’s nothing like naughty bacon dreams folks. It’s the THICK-CUT NUESKE’S BACON AU POIVR served with a Bourbon Molasses Glaze and a side of deliciousness. Oh, the food gods are shining down on Del Frisco’s for this bacon dish! By all means, this is so good it should be illegal. The succulent bacon flavor just rolls across your tongue and sends your taste buds into full mode overload. Don’t be surprised if you have to wipe your chin after each juicy bite. A true trend sitter and it’s only 16 bucks, ladies and gentlemen.
I know you’re thinking… What did he just say? Logan’s Roadhouse? Am I reading this correct? Yes, you are! This is all about bacon and Logan’s Roadhouse locations has some great bacon. They have a little appetizer that goes by the name “Bacon On A Stick” and it’s in a bucket too. I’ve had this twice and both times the bacon was perfectly cooked, loaded with flavor, and easy to eat right off the stick. This is a great little bacon treat you will love. It’s prepared from 12-hour smoked bacon seasoned and grilled in a brown sugar glaze with a kick of spice. Served with crispy fried onions and your choice of original BBQ or Bourbon BBQ. Just damn delicious if you ask me. Your taste buds with take a trip to the “bacon flavor rodeo” and it’s only 10 bucks. Check it out!
I took a trip over the Shady Oak to try some barbecue. As I sat down and was reviewing the menu when the server said, “Hey, do you want to try some of our bacon burnt ends“? My head snapped up and said, “Do tell? Why yes I will”! Those bacon burnt ends were saucy and mouth-watering delicious. The flavor really pops in your mouth as they roll across your tongue. This is a dish you must try and price right too!
There are a lot more bacon dishes I have tried, but these are truly some of the best you will find in the Fort Worth/Dallas area. All of these truly stand on their own with fantastic flavor profiles that will leave you wanting more. As a chef once told me, “Trey, if I can leave you wanting more then I’ve done my job. I know you will come back and dine with us again”.
Please visit these local restaurants because eating and buying local is extremely important to our chefs and restaurants.
If you LOVE cooking bacon at home then I would try my favorite Tender Belly Bacon. You can locate Tender Belly at https://www.tenderbelly.com
Don’t forget to listen or watch our worldwide podcast Trey’s Chow Down Liveevery Friday on iHeartRadio, iTunes, Dash Radio or tune and watch us LIVE.
Remember, I’m passionate about bringing each of you the very food and drink experiences I can find.
If you ask the team at OAK’D BBQ who they are and what they serve, they’ll tell you:
We’re located in Dallas’ Old Town Shopping Center, where we proudly serve hand-crafted Texas BBQ. Our brisket is an art form of its own, infused with the vanilla-tinged flavor of Texas Post OAK smoke and cradled in a peppery bark.
Our brisket isn’t the only thing that’s unbelievable here – we take pride in each item on our chef-driven menu. Everything from our scratch kitchen is locally and regionally sourced; flavored just right, no matter what’s in season. From the wide variety of perfectly smoked meats to our gourmet sides and OAK’D Bake Shop, with homemade ice cream, biscuits, and other sweet treats, there’s something for everyone here at OAK’D.
We take pride in our partnerships with local Texas ranchers and farmers to ensure you enjoy the highest quality BBQ available in The Lone Star State. Our Wagyu Brisket comes directly from Rosewood Ranch and our Prime Beef is 100% Texas Black Angus.
August 18, 2020 is National Fajita Day in the USA!
They say the first culinary evidence of fajitas was in the 1930s, along with the Spanish naming. The cooking style used at that time was by a campfire or directly on a fire pit or in a skillet. Originally, it was made from throwaway cuts of beef by Mexican vaqueros in Southwest Texas. The fajita was developed as an everyday meal in the early 1930s. Since then everyone has fallen in love with the fajita!
Who doesn’t just love some succulent delicious fajitas? I think everyone loves fajitas! Well, at least every one I’ve ever spoken with loves them.
The main issue I’ve learned about fajitas and the folks enjoying them is everyone seems to always want more meat. Some of the other issues I hear from folks when I inquire about how they like there fajitas is pretty basic. They say fajitas can be dry and have little or no flavor, or they didn’t receive enough fixings. Everyone might desire more meat or fixings and eat them differently, use a different choice of corn or flour tortillas, but when it’s all said and done everyone loves fajitas.
Every chef, restaurant, or family business that offers fajitas has a different flavor profile. You won’t find any particular fajita meat with the same flavor profile! Everyone uses a different preparation process. They use an array of different spices, marinades, marinating processes, and cooking techniques. Some restaurants offer you fixings with your fajitas, and some charge you extra for it.
It goes without saying that grilling takes flavors to another level. Most people are aware of this phenomenon when it comes to meat, poultry, and fish. But did you know that certain vegetables taste vastly better when they’re cooked on the grill? Here are five of the most potent examples.
When cooked over an open flame, corn on the cob quickly becomes the most sought-after dish on the picnic table. The kernels take on a sweet, mellow flavor that balances well with the smoky char of the exterior. If you don’t want the kernels exposed to the fire, you can soak the ears—husks and all—in cold water for several hours prior to cooking. Place the corn on the grill over medium-high heat for 20 to 30 minutes, turning frequently. Let cool for 5-10 minutes before removing the husks and silks. They should peel right off, allowing you to dress the corn simply with butter and salt.
Alternatively, you can peel the corn and place the ears directly over medium heat, with no other preparation required. This is our preferred method because it’s so carefree, and because we like the taste of the slightly caramelized kernels. This method also has more visual appeal, adding color and texture to the plate.