Chris Plavidal


How Dallas Tailgates, as Told Through Recipes

It's football season. So we asked Dallas' star chefs to whip up some snacks for your tailgate party. Tim Byres, Dean Fearing, Graham Dodds, and Leann Berry all obliged.


Watermelon Salad

By Tim Byres

1 English cucumber, cut into large dice (about 2 cups)
1 jicama, cut into large dice (about 1 ¼ cups)
8 radishes, cut into large dice (about 1 ½ cups)
1/8 watermelon, cut into large dice (about 2 cups)
4 Roma tomatoes, seeded and cut into large dice, about 2 cups

Gremolata Vinaigrette

2 tablespoons fresh jalapeños, diced
1 shallot, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
½ bunch fresh cilantro, stemmed and minced
½ bunch fresh mint or tarragon, stemmed and minced
Zest and juice of 2 lemons
½ cup olive oil
½ cup pickled jalapeño or pickle juice
1 teaspoon honey
2 teaspoons kosher salt


½ bunch fresh cilantro, stemmed
½ bunch fresh mint or tarragon, stemmed

Combine the first five ingredients in a large bowl. To make the vinaigrette, stir together jalapeños, shallot, garlic, cilantro, mint or tarragon, lemon zest and juice, olive oil, pickle juice, honey, and salt. To serve, toss the salad with the vinaigrette and garnish with cilantro and mint or tarragon.

Recipe adapted from Smoke: New Firewood Cooking, by Tim Byres (Rizzoli, 2013).

Ultimate Nachos

By Dean Fearing

2 dozen tortilla chips
Mashed Black Beans (recipe follows)
Guacamole (recipe follows)
2 cups grated jalapeño Jack cheese
1 fresh jalapeño, very thinly sliced
Charred Tomato Salsa (recipe follows)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Spread each tortilla chip lightly with mashed black beans and add a dollop of guacamole. Top with a sprinkling of cheese and bake for three minutes or until cheese is melted. Garnish with a slice of jalapeño. Serve with charred tomato salsa for dipping.

Mashed Black Beans

2 cups dried black turtle beans, soaked in water for 6 hours
3 slices hickory-smoked bacon with drippings, cooked and chopped
1 small onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeño, minced
6 cups rich chicken or ham stock
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
Salt and lime juice to taste

Heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add first six ingredients. Bring to a boil, turn heat down to a simmer, and cook for 1 hour, or until liquid cooks down to just cover beans. Stir occasionally, adding more stock if necessary. Remove from heat and cool. Place beans in a food processor and pulse to a chunky paste. Season with cilantro, salt, and lime juice.


3 large ripe avocados, peeled and pit removed
¼ cup onion, finely diced
¼ cup tomato, finely diced
1 jalapeño, minced
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
Salt and lime juice to taste

Combine first five ingredients. Mash with a fork until avocado is smooth. Season generously with salt and lime juice to taste.

Charred Tomato Salsa

6 large ripe tomatoes, core removed
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
6 cloves garlic
2 jalapeños, stem removed
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
Salt and lime juice to taste

Preheat broiler to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. Place tomatoes on a baking sheet and brush the tops with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Put pan under broiler until skin is blackened, about 8 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place onion, garlic, and jalapeños on a baking sheet and drizzle with remaining olive oil; toss to coat. Place pan in oven and roast for 12 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden brown. Remove pan from oven and set aside.

In a food processor, process tomatoes, onion, garlic, and jalapeños with cilantro. Add a generous amount of salt and lime juice to taste.

Chili and Cornbread

By Graham Dodds

Texas Red Chili

5 pounds ground beef
6 bottles Shiner Bock
1 cup onion powder
1 cup garlic powder
1 cup paprika
1 cup Pendery’s Fort Worth chili powder
1/4 cup cayenne
2 No. 10 cans of whole peeled tomatoes, puréed through a ricer

Heat a large braising pot over medium-high heat and coat with cooking oil. Add beef and season well with salt. Stir until beef breaks apart and fat is rendered out; do not allow meat to brown. Pour into a colander and discard fat. Put rendered beef back into pot, add beer, and simmer until beer is reduced by half. Add ⅓ cup onion powder, ⅓ cup garlic powder, ⅓ cup paprika, and ⅓ cup chili powder. Add tomato purée and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Once chili has cooked for an hour, add another ⅓ cup onion powder, ⅓ cup garlic powder, ⅓ cup paprika, and ⅓ cup chili powder. Season with a little more salt to taste. Keep stirring occasionally; chili will start to thicken. Cook for another 45 minutes or so, and then add the remaining spices plus the cayenne. Season with more salt if needed and serve.

Jalapeño Cornbread

1 ½ pounds butter, melted
3 cups sugar
12 eggs
3 cups Corn Pudding (recipe below)
3 cups buttermilk
3 cups grated Veldhuizen Redneck Cheddar (or Fontina or Monterey Jack)
6 jalapeños, thinly sliced
3 cups flour
3 cups cornmeal
12 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons salt

Note: makes one large batch. Bake in one large 15-inch cast-iron skillet and one smaller skillet, or divide between two medium skillets. Recipe can also be halved.

To make corn pudding: purée fresh, raw kernels from 8 to 10 ears of corn. Add a touch of salt and cook over a double boiler until purée thickens, about 45 minutes.

To make cornbread: place cast-iron skillets in oven and preheat to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large bowl, combine melted butter, sugar, and eggs. Add corn pudding, buttermilk, and cheddar, and whisk until combined. Stir in jalapeños.

In another bowl, sift flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt together. Fold flour mixture into egg mixture very gently. Do not overmix.

Remove cast-iron pans from oven. Grease lightly with oil and pour in the cornbread mixture.

Bake until skewer comes out clean, about 40 to 45 minutes for 15-inch skillet, 30 minutes for the small.

Pomegranate Punch

By Leann Berry

14 ounces vodka
14 ounces Pom pomegranate juice
10 ounces fresh lime juice
1 ounce agave syrup
10 big dashes peach bitters
5 ounces Topo Chico or sparkling mineral water
Orange or lime slices for garnish

Combine first five ingredients in pitcher; stir until blended. When ready to serve, add Topo Chico and stir again. Pour over ice in tall Collins glasses. Garnish with orange or lime wheels.

Cantaloupe Pops

By Pop Star

½ cup water
½ cup sugar
4 cups chopped fresh cantaloupe (about 1 small cantaloupe)
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
2 tablespoons honey
Pinch of salt

Combine water and sugar in a small saucepan and cook over medium-high heat, stirring, until the mixture comes to a boil and the sugar has dissolved. Let cool to room temperature.

Pour the syrup into a food processor or blender. Add the melon, lime juice, honey, and salt, and blend until smooth.

Pour the mixture into molds and freeze until solid. Makes 8 to 10 pops.


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