March 14, 2018

FORKS UP

CBD Provisions sets the table for a dinner celebrating Texas steak

The path from farm to butcher shop to kitchen happens behind the scenes—a quiet chain of commerce buzzing along, mostly undetected. However, the relationship between farmer, butcher, and chef will be the highlight of this month’s CBD Provisions x 44 Farms dinner.

The four-course dinner (with wine pairings, naturally) on March 29 will be a crash course in Texas steaks, beginning with a lesson in ethically sourcing Angus beef by Jose Vargas from 44 Farms. Commissary butcher Zach Dunphy will demystify the dry-aging process, while CBD Provisions chef Nick Walker presents dishes illustrating a variety of cuts and aging techniques. In anticipation, we sat down with Zach and Nick to talk about their favorite things: steak, steak, and more steak.

Can’t wait to learn more about 44 Farms at the dinner. Tell us a little about your relationship.
ZD: Five years ago, when we opened CBD Provisions, we sought out 44 Farms. They’re a local, all-natural, certified Angus beef program—and they hadn’t branched into Dallas before we established a relationship with them. They have impeccable standards when it comes to farming and ranching. Plus, the 44 Farms family is a great group of folks.

NW: I love working with 44 Farms because their products never let me down. Each time we cut into a piece of meat, the marbling, texture, and flavor are always there. They stand behind everything they deliver. For us that’s reassuring. We know we can trust them and love doing business with purveyors like that.

Do cows arrive in halves? Quarters?
ZD: We get animals in various states. The typical full carcass weighs 900 pounds! Quarters and sides are manageable, but we tend to get the primal and sub-primal cuts. From there, we’ll butcher depending on what the restaurants we source need and what sells in the butcher case.

Can you explain how dry aging impacts flavor?
ZD: Primarily it concentrates the natural flavors that exist in the beef by evaporating the excess water inside. Or more simply put, we get rid of the flavorless water and concentrate the intense beef flavor. The other impact is on tenderness. By aging the beef, we breakdown the tougher muscle structures—resulting in a more tender bite than fresh or wet-aged.

Dry aging sounds a bit like a science experiment…
ZD: We get pretty specific when it comes to our work at Commissary, regulating all aspects of the production. Each primal or sub primal that arrives is inspected for quality. Then, we weigh and tag all of our product designated for dry aging to monitor weight loss. Dry aging takes place in a controlled environment with a constant temperature and humidity—both checked and recorded several times a day. When things hit the right age and amount of weight loss, we butcher in house for everything we need.

How long do most steaks age at Commissary? Does it vary by cut?
ZD: A minimum of 28 days. Then, depending on the restaurant, we get more specific.

NW: For example, CBD Provisions requires a minimum of 45 days on all our steaks.

CBD Provisions has recently refocused its menu around steak. Nick, was this new territory for you?
NW: I wouldn’t say it’s new territory for me or the team, but it’s definitely a different approach. Cooking larger pieces of protein, mastering a broiler, learning a lot more about the dry-aging process, and wagyu cattle… It’s been fun and super informative delving deep into everything with a very detailed approach.

How does CBD Provisions’ approach differ from the more traditional steakhouse?NW: While our focus is giving you that amazing steakhouse experience, we have more to offer than just meat. We are a Texas brasserie. So, we use bistro-style technique with Texas ingredients. We source as much as we can locally and responsibly, so our food is well-sourced, well-executed, and simply presented. No fluff—we let the caliber of the food speak for itself.

Zach, we recently saw you do a live butcher demo at Cochon555, and were surprised by how physical the process is. You’re like an athlete! What else would surprise people about butchering?
ZD: I think the most surprising part of what we do is what I call “the connection.” We connect farmers to guests, and we take that seriously. Anyone can go to a supermarket and buy commodity meat, but we’re dedicated to using products we believe in. We connect people who value good food with the people that produce it, and it’s an honor.

The Details: CBD Provisions, 1530 Main Street. Thursday, March 29. 7 p.m. $95 per person. Reservations required by calling 214.261.4500 or emailing vbenitez@thejouedallas.com.
Credit card required at time of booking. Complimentary valet.


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