Sunday night brought cooler weather with a pleasant departure from the scorching heat that Dallas residents anticipate through the end of August. But, if you happened to be enjoying that lovely weather at Fearing’s inside the Ritz-Carlton, you were also in attendance at a truly wonderful barbecue event to commemorate the restaurant’s 6th anniversary. Like any good birthday party, some fantastic guests were in attendance. Deep Ellum Brewing Company was on-hand to present several local ale offerings. And well, doesn’t a Dallas Blonde pair well with BBQ?
The co-host of the evening was none other than Chris Lilly, barbecue legend in his own right. Hailing from Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q in Decatur, Alabama, Chris told me he’s inspired by all types of food and wants to bring diners, “not just your ordinary barbecue, and hopefully something Texas has never seen before.”
So I had to ask what enticed him to cook in Dallas. “Fearing’s and Dean are all about bold flavors… Dean has these, rich, bold, in-your-face flavors” Lilly exclaimed. With a rich family history in barbecue, multiple championships, and a secret white barbecue sauce, it’s clear that Chris Lilly was the right man to help ring in another year of celebrated food here at Fearing’s.
After a cocktail hour in the beautifully manicured courtyard, complete with a selection from Deep Ellum Brewing Company and multiple hors d’oeuvres, diners were treated to a fantastic four-course meal. In true southern fashion, we began with a salad duo. The chicken salad was flavorful and light, while the accompanying grape, red onion and aged cheese salad added a delicate acidity to the plate.
Next was barbecued, bacon-wrapped shrimp. The skewers were served atop gouda grits, an excellent combination. The bacon was crisp and the barbecue sauce was savory, preparing diners for the amazing plate of meat that would soon be set before them. It’s impossible to say that any one item of the entrée stole the show. With incredibly tender pulled pork, rich macaroni and cheese, perfectly charred short rib, and buttermilk soaked, flash fried okra, the plate was the equivalent of a gold medal winning Olympic team.
The meal ended perfectly with a peach cobbler and ice cream topped with blackberry sauce. Speaking as a person that doesn’t usually order dessert, I couldn’t put my spoon down. Feeling full becomes a mute point when you are served a bowl of delicious cobbler.
The meal was certainly impressive coming at the end of restaurant week here in Dallas. Dean referred to the work that had gone into the night as a, “labor of love”. He raved about how easy it is to plan an event with Chris Lilly and that Chris has, “given us an awareness of great Alabama barbecue.” Since he too smokes with Hickory, Chef Fearing felt that Alabama barbecue is a lot like Texas Barbecue.
I’m sure eager diners will look forward to what Chris Lilly and Dean Fearing might plan in the future. If you weren’t able to make it out, be sure to keep an eye out for the new Fall menu at Fearing’s which will debut mid September.