A little bit of culinary history was made last night as Aaron Franklin of Austin’s legendary Franklin Barbecue and Knife Dallas Chef John Tesar kicked off Knife and The Highland Dallas’ week-long chef series of EAT (RED) DRINK (RED) SAVE LIVES benefit dinners with an epic meat celebration.
The dinner, which sold out in less than 24 hours, highlighted Franklin’s barbecue, cooked on a special tandem smoker (nicknamed “Laburne and Shirley”) that the BBQ king transported to Dallas from Austin and used for the first time. Guests were served six courses beginning with passed hors d’oeuvres of tuna tartare cones and BBQ tidbits, then continuing with a charcuterie plate highlighting Franklin’s confit brisket ends and pork rillettes; beef cheek ravioli Bolognese with lime basil pesto; family-style 44 Farms prime New York strip with au poivre sauce and Johnny’s mac & cheese; and finally, monumental plates of Franklin BBQ brisket, beef ribs and links. Knife’s award-winning pastry chef David Collier capped the meal perfectly with a modern banana pudding and petit fours.
Beverages included a special Crimson cocktail created by Knife barman Charlie Moore, featuring strawberry-infused Belvedere (RED) vodka, vanilla bean syrup and lemon, followed by San Pietro Pinot Noir 2012 and Pacific Sur Sauvignon Blanc 2013 L’Conti Brut and beers by Dallas’ own Four Corners Brewery.
Chefs Tesar and Franklin addressed the room at the beginning of the evening, thanked everyone for attending and emphasized the importance of the (RED) campaign.
“This really was an amazing way to kick off our campaign,” said Tesar. “Aaron Franklin is not only a barbecue legend, he’s also a great guy, with a big heart.”
The dinner series continues tonight with Michelin-starred Chef Alex Stratta (Las Vegas) , who was also in attendance last night at the dinner. The three final guest chefs will be Naomi Pomeroy (Beast, Portland) on June 3, Tim Rattray (The Granary, San Antonio) on June 4, and Kris Morningstar (Terrine, Los Angeles) on June 5. Some tickets may still be available by calling the restaurant directly at (214) 443-9339 or by going to the website.
Nationally led by Chef Mario Batali, the EAT (RED) DRINK (RED) SAVE LIVES campaign represents the culinary arm of (RED), which was founded by U2’s Bono and Bobby Shriver in 2006 to engage millions of people all over the world in the fight against HIV/AIDS. This is the second year of EAT (RED) DRINK (RED) SAVE LIVES. For more information, including a free downloadable recipe book, go to this website.
photos courtesy of Brad Murano