You have to keep an eye out for the brisket lean. This is a pitmaster’s position that signals something good is about to occur: The pitmaster hunches forward, places one hand on the jiggly body of the brisket and runs a long blade across the bark. This pitmaster’s lean is the thing to look for while walking through a festival of sliders. It means that brisket is about to piled onto a bun, splashed with barbecue sauce and skewered to stay in place.
The Hutchins BBQ team had a full brisket lean at Saturday’s Between the Buns, a slider event held at the Dallas Farmers Market. Three slices of brisket, hard barked on the outer layer, fell off the whole brisket; it was so tender and rich with juices that the knife seemed to barely touch the brisket before it collapsed away. A quick soak with barbecue sauce and a few pickles and Hutchins’ slider was quickly one of the best bites at the festival.
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Nearly 2,000 fellow Dallasites attended this year's Between the Buns, and Open Palette won people's choice for their meatball slider. The stand emitted a cheer when a token was dropped in their tub. We would like to float in a sensory deprivation tank of the sauce that accompanied the meatball. Here are a few of our observations (and favorite bites) from this year's Between the Buns:
- At least one award should go to the Local Oak, who freed themselves from their booth to walk Spam sliders around for the folks waiting in line. In a brilliantly competitive move, they brought along one Local Oak rep to dispense a swirl of a spicy-sweet glaze from a large Tabasco bottle.
- The aroma-steam emitting from the Easy Slider food truck should be bottled and sold at NorthPark Center.
- Shout-out to Cattleack Barbecue for sustaining our human bodies with a modicum of vegetables: Two pickled green beans accompanied their flaky-crusted empanada, which was stuffed with brisket.
- At one point, a pigeon nose-dived into the Hutchins BBQ line. I’d like to think that I held my cool after the carb-drunk bird nearly destroyed itself on a tall man in front of me.
- At food festivals, use a pendulum pattern to eat more efficiently. Swing to the farthest line, then arc back to the front lines. Repeat pattern until you reach the center line, and make sure to shout “IT IS COMPLETE” at the top of your lungs when you've eaten everything.
- Now that we think of it, a good drinking game for an outdoor food festival at the Farmers Market would be to take a shot anytime you see a pigeon acting bold AF. Prepare to not be sober.
- We cannot be held accountable for throwing a tray like Captain America’s shield at line-jumpers.
- Let’s stand for all those who fry chicken for mini sandwiches at a festival brimming with people. That’s not easy.
- Also, it’s not easy to grill and serve mini-burgers at a medium-rare temperature while a line’s building, but folks like Easy Slider somehow pull it off.
- We're always, always here for more pickles.
If you missed out on this year's Between the Buns and are craving a food fest, snag tickets for the Dallas Observer's Iron Fork, taking over Centennial Hall at Fair Park from 7 to 10 p.m. on Wednesday, May 1 with a beautifully stacked lineup.