By happy coincidence, Matthew’s and my schedule for Tuesday night freed up and we were able to attend The Prophets of Smoked Meat dinner at The Greenhouse Tavern. It was an easy decision to get an extra ticket and take Matthew’s dad with us, as the love of Texas BBQ runs deep in his family.
The evening started with a cocktail hour on the rooftop patio. It was a beautiful night to sip some adult Texas tea and prepare for the meat feast.
Chef Brian Goodman focused the dinner not on Texas barbeque, but on how The Greenhouse Tavern serves smoked meats. Since I was expecting course after course of ribs and brisket, this was a surprise, but a good one! Every course was delicious and most are currently available on The Greenhouse Tavern menu.
Our first course was small bites of an open-faced brisket sandwich, tuna crudo, branzino escabeche (a meaty white fish), and crispy hominy (my favorite).
The second course was a kale salad, with radish, black pepper, pecorino, and “croutons” made from parmesan rind. The simple flavors of this salad were a nice change from the complex smokiness of the various appetizers.
Our third, and my favorite, course was angel hair amatriciana pasta. Tender angel hair pasta was tossed with bacon, soffrito, cuttlefish, and a light tomato cream sauce and topped with breadcrumbs. The cuttlefish are cured pancetta-style and taste salty and smoky. The sauce stood up to the flavors in the bacon and cuttlefish, but didn’t overwhelm the dish. It was absolutely fantastic and currently on the menu at The Greenhouse Tavern.
Finally, the course everyone was talking about, the pigs’ and steers’ heads. I have to admit, I was a little intimidated by this course. The idea of eating the head of something, particularly when it’s identifiable as the head, freaked me out a bit. But I think I’m a convert after tasting the smoky, saucy meat.
The steer’s head meat was prepared corned-beef style and tasted like a more tender version of that. The pig’s head was slathered in barbeque sauce and had the consistency of pork belly. You have to be OK with fatty meat to enjoy this dish. But this fourth course was what we were all anticipating from a smoked meat dinner and it did not disappoint.
We got to listen to and chat with Daniel Vaughn, author of “The Prophets of Smoked Meat: A Journey Through Texas Barbeque.” Daniel told us of his journeys across Texas, seeking out the best barbeque. I had no idea that within Texas, there are many different styles of barbeque, from saucy in the East to smoked meat in Central Texas to barbacoa in the South. We each received a signed copy of the book, which will certainly be our bible on our Texas trip this fall.
The highlights of the evening were seeing my father-in-law so enjoy reminiscing about Texas barbecue (including attending a barbecue on the King’s Ranch) and learning that there is much more variety and possibility with smoked meat than I imagined going into the event. Chef Goodman and Daniel Vaughn certainly provided a memorable and meaty evening!
***Disclosure: I was asked by The Greenhouse Tavern to help promote The Prophets of Smoked Meat dinner. In exchange, I received 2 tickets for myself and 2 tickets to give away. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***