This Way In >>

grillmaster brett gallaway, foto: eater.com

Dallas’ Sander Wolf signed up for a free steak from Tre Wilcox, but got punked by Wal-Mart instead


Brett Gallaway sure doesn't look like Tre Wilcox (photo: Eater.com)

punk steak

Yesterday I got punked by Walmart.

Here’s the story:

I saw this online:

http://dallas.eater.com/archives/2012/05/10/care-for-some-secret-steak-with-tre-wilcox.php

and thought it sounded like a fun afternoon. Free steak from a chef I really like is hard to beat. I emailed the person organizing the event and had my name and a couple of friends added to the list. Then Tre Wilcox seemed to drop out. No worries, subbing for him was a guy who had apparently won a grilling contest. And again, free steak.

I got an email late Friday night saying that the event was being held at Southfork and I should expect to be there for two hours. That sounded like a long time to eat a steak, but I figured they were filming the next grilling reality show or something.

We arrived at Southfork and were led by men with earpieces through the Southfork museum and told to wait for about 10 min while they finished setting up. That sounded a little weird, but:

a) Southfork has a museum? Wow, the day was already a win for me.
b) free steak

Eventually, we got to ride a tractor pulled tram to the seating area. We were told that Southfork was planning on holding a monthly outdoor grilling event and they were testing it out. People would be coming by while we were eating to see what we thought of the event and especially the food. We were told that the grillmaster was trying out some new things and they wanted lots of feedback. But first, would we like some free beer or wine?

We sat down, met the grillmaster, and proceeded to eat a ribeye so big it literally didn’t fit on my plate. Not bad for a free steak. It was nicely grilled with a rub that was just a little spicy. Sides were basic, but adequate, and everyone just seemed to be having a good time. We all thought that this would be a fun event for kids — mom and dad eat steak while the little ones play horseshoes or just run around the nearby grassy areas. We asked what they were planning on charging for future events and the nice lady with a Southfork shirt on surprisingly said they hadn’t thought about that yet.

When we’d finished eating, one of the people who had been asking us questions throughout the meal stood in the middle of the tables and after asking us if we liked the steak said, “All the steak you ate today came from WalMart. They’re now carrying a new line of premier choice steaks and we’ve been filming you since you got here.”

There were gasps as all the weirdness started to make sense. Our free meal was part of the WalMart Steak Out series of commercials where they go into fine or classic restaurants and replace the regular steaks with WalMart ones. (An homage to the famous Folger’s commercials?) We were told that we could now get a $100 gift card for filling out a waiver allowing them to use us in an upcoming commercial.

So for $100, a steak, and a Shiner, I am now an official potential spokesmodel for a WalMart commercial. Not quite sure how I feel about that yet, but it did make for a nice afternoon. Southfork really should think about doing this more often.

Addendum: After they told us what was up, I signed a two-page release to get the gift card. I read it over pretty good and it was limited enough. I didn’t say anything that undermines my core beliefs and there were provisions on the amount of editing they were allowed to do.

Ed. Note: I couldn’t reach Tre Wilcox for comment, but Eater’s Merritt Martin added this to her post on Thursday, before the Saturday event: 

UPDATE: Tre Wilcox is no longer involved with this event. The steak dinner will go on as described in the original post below, but with 2011 World Championship Steak Cook-off winner Brett Gallaway (pictured) manning the grill.

Recently Published

sprezza--5
»

Dinner plans tonight? Good – you’re going to Sprezza for Italian

Two steps beyond the front door of Sprezza, the casual new ...

spam truck
»

This famous Dallas chef will be serving SPAM corny dogs from a food truck

Dean Fearing is one of the founding father’s of Southwestern ...

knuckle
»

Grab free food, cheap drinks at premiere of Knuckle Sandwich Co., new from barman “Lucky” Campbell

Eddie “Lucky” Campbell announced today that he and his ...

super secret alien rendering of the new Nosh, in Plano, as seen with X-rays
»

Tristan Simon, founder of Hibiscus, Fireside Pies and CBD Provisions, is opening a new restaurant in Dallas

Tristan Simon, once the high-flying restaurateur behind Hibiscus, The ...

your gps will get you lost, so know that the main entrance is not visible from the street
»

Nilton “Junior” Borges, the executive chef of FT33, has resigned

Another notable Dallas chef is rolling up his knifes and heading out ...

Never trust a chef who won't eat his own food.
»

John Tesar, Aphelia Restaurant Group (Oak, Bolero, Royale Magnificent Burgers) have parted ways

If you want drama — in real life, on television or ...

josemeza
»

Guest chef taking over Fearing’s kitchen for important Cinco de Mayo dinner

Eric Dreyer, the chef de cuisine at Fearing’s restaurant in the ...

142A8488
»

Shinsei restaurant in Dallas has a new top chef

Shinsei restaurant has a new chef. He’s Carlos Capistran, ...

Robert Lyford_Patina Green
»

McKinney’s top chef is hosting a Texas beer dinner this weekend

I am crazy about chef Robert Lyford’s cooking and Patina ...