Heim BBQ shines in Fort Worth Food & Wine Festival Collaborative Dinner at Central Market
Fort Worth’s Central Market and the Fort Worth Food & Wine Festival have been hosting a series of collaborative dinners, introducing talented Cowtown chefs to food lovers in an informal setting. “It’s all designed to bring attention to our city’s chefs and to the Fort Worth Food & Wine Festival,” which kicks off next March 31, says Central Market’s Sarah Hooten.
I’d heard a great deal about Heim Barbecue, which owners Emma and Travis Heim operate out of a trailer — and sell out their slow-smoked brisket, ribs and pork bacon by mid-day. I’d also been told that Scott Kaiser, the culinary force behind FW’s Cannon Chinese Kitchen, was quite a dynamo with modern Chinese cooking. At a collaborative dinner last week, the three proved they had talent and moxie, mixing low-and-slow with ingredients ranging from beef ribs to hamachi sashimi and salmon to tofu, all if it teamed with beers from Fort Worth’s prizewinning Rahr & Son’s Brewery and poured by brewery owner Fritz Rahr.
“Our thing is bbq,” Travis Heim told the crowd of about 30 digging into hamachi that the Heims had smoked over post oak and red oak. “We are not chefs, but Scott is and he knows how to take our food and make it beautiful.”
“When (Emma and Travis) first started out, we cooked on a small smoker for our family then for friends then it became like a kegger party and then people were handing us cash, $10 or $20 at a time, so we thought we might be able to make a business of it,” said Travis. “We expanded to smoking pork belly bacon, and cook it till it’s chewy crispy and sweet. At the trailer, we still sell everything by weight. And we always make sure there’s plenty of bacon.”
At the dinner, that bacon made its way into plates of bacon burnt ends with sushi rice, daikon and beets.
“I kept it simple,” said Kaiser, “because I wanted to complement the bacon. Then we drizzled some of the bacon drippings on top just because we could.” For another interesting dish, Kaiser used Heim’s rendered brisket fat to deep fry tofu.
“I’ll be honest. We’re not very smart,” Travis added. “We opened (Heim Barbecue) during a blizzard and hoped we could sell one brisket to pay our bills. Somehow we did. Then we did it again the next day. We’re not chefs. I overcook meat for a living and make okay sides which is why we’re honored to be part of the Fort Worth Food & Wine Festival.”
Russel Kirkpatrick, a founder and driving force of the FWFWF, says the organization has used its proceeds to promote the Fort Worth food scene and has awarded $20,000 in culinary scholarships to needy kids.
You can sign up for future dinners here and follow the FWFWF here.
Here’s the menu: