Category Archives: Retail

Meat Me at Home

The American Barbecue Showdown Barn

Competitive cooking shows give me anxiety. I don’t like the beat-the-clock race to finish the challenge or to see the crestfallen faces of contestants who are booted off the show when they lose a challenge.

Having said that, I found a new one to dislike on Netflix called The American Barbecue Showdown. The only things I like about this show are the beautiful barn where competition kitchens are set up, and the refrigerated meat shed which is stocked with rows and rows of all cuts of beef, chicken, pork and sausage. Competitors get to pull whatever they want out of the shed to use for the challenge ahead. 

I recently ordered Dickey’s Chef Selections from Dickey’s Pit BBQ, a Texas barbecue mainstay for almost 80 years. The company launched direct-to-consumer boxes of beef, poultry, pork and fish including wild caught mahi mahi, Atlantic salmon, filet mignon, boneless ribeye, smoked sausages and sides that can be ordered online and shipped directly to your home. When I received my Tailgate Box filled with premium cuts of beef, pork and chicken, I felt like a contestant on The American Barbecue Showdown – I’d never possessed so much protein in my life.

There are two options for the Dickey’s delivery boxes: 1) The Weeknight Box: packaged to feed a family of four for a week includes Jalapeño Cheddar Sausage, pork chops, jumbo boneless skinless breasts, St. Louis Ribs and a pork tenderloin filet; and 2) The Tailgate Box that includes boneless ribeye steaks, filet mignon, St. Louis Ribs, Jalapeño Cheddar Sausage, Dickey’s Original Smoked Kielbasa Sausage and chicken wings. I chose the Tailgate Box because it contains all of the protein I would usually buy for two weeks and one lake weekend.

I always order sliced brisket at Dickey’s BBQ so I had no idea what to expect with their boneless ribeye’s and filet mignons. We seasoned the ribeye’s with a light coating of Montreal Seasoning from Central Market and cooked them over hickory for about 10 minutes. They were just as juicy and tender as the choice steaks I get at the butcher shop with just a little marbling to give it more flavor. I’ll admit I was pleasantly surprised. We cooked the filets a week later in a cast iron skillet and doused them in a green peppercorn sauce which was on par with anything I’ve tasted at a steak house.

Nothing against them, but chicken wings are not in my dietary or culinary repertoire, so I have never prepared them. I don’t know how to fry anything besides bacon, so I decided to bake them in the oven. I tossed them in a mixture of salt and pepper and put them on a baking sheet until done then tossed them in Nikky Phinyawatana’s Sweet and Sour Sauce and popped them back in the oven for a few minutes and sprinkled them with her Drama Queen Thai Crispy Chili when they came out.  WHOA, you should try this and serve with steamed white rice.

Though in my family it’s sacrilegious to use anything other than andouille in Red Beans and Rice, I used the Dickey’s Jalapeño Cheddar and Kielbasa sausages to my RB&R and it was fantastic. 

The Tailgate Box comes with two massive racks of St. Louis style ribs which my husband coated with his super secret rub and smoked over hickory over a long lake weekend.  Though my sides aren’t quite as good as Dickey’s, I managed to make a decent cole slaw and baked beans to accompany the beans. The ribs were great, but I don’t think hubs is going to be on any BBQ Showdown show anytime soon.

The price relative to quantity and quality is excellent.  The Tailgate Box costs around $200 and the Weeknight Box is only $100. You can also purchase strip steaks and prime roast a la carte or order a complete Prime Rib Holiday Meal that includes sides for $175. 

For my family, I can see ordering a Chef’s Selection Box about six times a year.  With the holidays around the corner, I am really excited about using these Chef’s Selections boxes for corporate gifting. My husband often calls upon me to handle that task and this year will be much easier thanks to my experience with this meat delivery.

With their meat box, Dickey’s leadership is clearly thinking outside the box.  We’ve beaten this story to death, but restaurants are hurting right now and the ones more likely to survive are ones that can create an alternative revenue stream to replace lost in-person dining and catering orders. Dickey’s has created a smart way to help their guests enjoy premium meats without the hassle of grocery shopping. 

How to Foxtrot

I don’t know exactly why, but in early October I decided to stage a boycott.  Since early March I’d been meal planning for at least five days at a time and making one, well-planned, agonizing shopping trip to accumulate what I needed. I’ve never been much of a meal planner, but thanks to COVID-19, meals driven by spontaneity and hankerings were few and far between.

So, earlier this month I boycotted meal planning and arduous trips to the supermarket and lived, instead, by eating at Foxtrot Market for three meals a day for four days. Why Foxtrot? I considered it an experiment and change my routine. I visited both local Foxtrot Market locations: Snider Plaza and McKinney Avenue.  There, I found everything I needed except for fresh produce.

To be honest, I’m typically not a grab and go gal. I’m always a little suspicious of food that’s premade, prewrapped up and sitting in a cooler with a “best by” sticker plastered on it but decided to use my boycott to boycott boycotting grab and go.

Many of Foxtrot’s salads, sandwiches, soups, bowls, and other grab and go meals are inspired by international cuisine.  Flavors from Korea, India, Asia, the Mediterranean, Mexico, and Spain are alongside traditional American standards.

Two standouts I recommend are the Aloo Gobi salad with roasted potatoes, pickled cauliflower, kale, lentils, bell peppers and serrano peppers with a sweet-ish fig masala vinaigrette and the Carnitas Bowl with Mojo braised pork, brown rice, black beans and vegetables with a poblano crema.  The carnitas bowl was dinner one night which I served with chips and Sarah Jane’s Finest Gourmet Queso.

Foxtrot has an abundance of snacky foods. This is a merchandising strategy that speaks to my heart. One night, my husband and enjoyed a charcuterie spread with Calabrese, Proscuitto and Iberico Ham from Creminelli, La Quercia and Fermin and cheeses from Kindred Creamery and other brands. The selection at Foxtrot is all premium but I didn’t consider the prices to be out of line as I have found in other “luxury convenience stores.” 

There was also a Dill Pickle Dip that I tried on a lark, which was so good (if you like pickles) and the Fresno Chili Hummus which was great – creamy, little to no garlic and a nice punch from the Fresno chilis.  Foxtrot has plenty of chips and crackers, including several gluten free options.

From Foxtrot’s extensive wine collection, which includes big red cabs such as Silver Oak, light wines such as Chablis and everything in between, I picked a Rickshaw Pinot Noir because it rhymes with Kickshaw which is part of the name of my food blog, The Kickshaw Papers.  It was a great pinot with black cherry notes and only $20 per bottle.

Foxtrot also carries some grocery staples, including Allen Brothers steaks which we grilled one night and ate with Foxtrot’s Kale Caesar Salad.  For dessert, we devoured Haute Sweets Patisserie’s chocolate cookie cream sandwiches which are in the refrigerator section near the dips.

The refrigerator section has stables such as milk, eggs, butter, and bacon the freezer section is loaded with pizza and other frozen dinners but what’s most impressive is the amount of ice cream Foxtrot has. Forget Baskin Robbins, just come here and pick up a pint or two of Jeni’s!  

There are a few fresh-made items to choose from here.  The Avocado Toast is a must try – avocado, orange slices, feta cheese, radishes and micro greens beautifully arranged on a slice of thick toast.  Breakfast tacos and sandwiches, including a beef tenderloin with Korean Gochujang sauce and cucumbers are also high quality and tasty.  Foxtrot partners with local companies such as Bisous Bisous Pâtisserie and Haute Sweets Patisserie for croissants, macarons and other desserts and pastries.

Prior to this experiment, I did not consider using Foxtrot as anything other than a place to grab a quick iced tea or coffee.  Honestly, I just didn’t know how to Foxtrot. My husband and I ate 12 consecutive meals from one, small market that also serves as a specialty wine and beer shop, social hub, study hall, meeting place, and gift shop.  We picked up the food and we used Foxtrot’s one-hour guaranteed delivery service. We never ate the same thing twice (except the cookie sandwiches) and spent less on groceries during that four-day period.

Both locations have large, pet-friendly patios for outdoor Foxtrotting. There are plenty of seats inside with some folks wearing masks and some not.  All employees are masked, and, per the state mandate, guests are required to wear them inside while not eating or drinking. Snider Plaza’s adjacent parking garage is very convenient with loads of open spots.  The McKinney Ave location is a little tricky on the parking, but there are two spots up front for grab and go.