It's July, which means a few things. Yes, it's incessantly hot. Yes, it's beyond humid. Yes, it's tough to be outside. But if there's anything that makes the weather tolerable, it's a little bourbon, beer, and barbecue from the city's best toques. July also marks the return of the Dutch's annual bourbon, beer, and 'cue series, so you can have all of the above and then some.
Back for the fourth year in a row, the summer series takes place every hump day in July. Chef de cuisine Conor Hanlon has changed it up every year — from rotating the theme every week to inviting fellow chefs to cook up a storm in the Dutch's backyard — keeping things fresh and the offerings always different.
And this year's lineup doesn't disappoint. On the agenda for tonight are Matt DePante and Justin Flit for Wynwood's neighborhood pizza and pasta joint Proof. We know, we know: pizza and barbecue. Yes, exactly: pizza barbecue. "We're going to be grilling pizza and doing really cool things," Hanlon says. The theme is Arrosti Italiani, so expect lots of Italian surprises, from bourbon cocktails to Josh Gripper's sweet creations to match the weekly theme.
The rest of July's barbecue forecast is as follows: July 15 will be Brazilian rodizio churrascaria with the Dutch's Adonay Tafur; July 22 will feature guest chef Timon Balloo of Sugarcane plus mixologist Rob Ferrara of Rum Line and Lure for Polynesian barbecue night; and July 29 will close out the series with Steven Santana of Taquiza and Xavier Torres of Drunken Dragon, sticking to the barbacoa theme.
Festivities begin every Wednesday at 7 p.m. and cost $40 per person for the bounty of offerings. Beer and bourbon are additional. New Times was invited to the first installment of this year's series. Here's the lowdown on last week's soiree so you can get an idea of what to expect tonight and for the rest of the month.
To kick off this year's feast, Hanlon invited the man from the land down under, Aaron Brooks of Edge Steak & Bar, back for the second year in a row. Brooks came well prepared with plenty of sauces, including bottles of Edge's Hot Source hot sauce, and his cutting-edge steak rub.
Libations change every week but have one unifying theme: bourbon. Last week's batch included a peach punch, mint julep, and bacon old-fashioned. Pro tip: Ask for extra bacon if you want yours to look like this.
As for the meaty offerings, Brooks was slicing barbecued baby-back ribs, slow-smoked Creekstone Farms beef belly, and house-made kielbasa. His sauce-work included barbecue tamarind, Carolina barbecue, and spicy mustard.
Hanlon doled out smoked beef brisket with Texas slathering sauce.
He also slung grilled corn on the cob with chipotle and a heaping portion of mac 'n' cheese.
It didn't stop there. Guests were also treated to chilled watermelon salad with cucumber, shallots, and mint, as well as jalapeño coleslaw and homemade cornbread.
Get in line.
It's not all barbecue and bourbon, though. There's also beer and games, plus beer pong so you can pretend like you're in college again.
Or corn hole for those who fancy themselves more mature.
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But for the kid in all of us, there are pastry wizard Josh Gripper's sweets, which pair delightfully well with a little vino.
We couldn't resist a second helping of his mini funnel cakes and apple pie sundae.