LUCK Ups The Ante With A Bacon And Beer Brunch.
After capitalizing on Dallas-Fort Worth's love of doughnuts and craft beer with its regular doughnut and beer flights, the next pairing venture for LUCK at Trinity Groves will combine a long-standing love of salted meats and beer.
That's right: A bacon flight is on its way this Sunday, July 19.
Since this next installment of the brunch event goes in a more savory direction than its predecessors, we caught up with LUCK co-owner Jeff Dietzman to get some insight on the bacon bonanza.
The flights seem to be gaining a good deal of popularity. How did the idea for the bacon flight come about?
I would say popular demand. We've had a lot of people asking for it, actually. We try to bring beer to the masses — local craft beer — and get people to try different beers they wouldn't normally order to experience new flavor profiles and new breweries that have been popping up around town. So we started doing off-the-wall pairings. We started with the Girl Scout Cookies, then we did a Kate Weiser Chocolate pairing for Valentine's. Nicole Tindall with Glazed Donut Works approached us about doing a doughnut pairing, and that took off like wildfire. I guess it was just a natural progression. You got doughnuts and beer, and we're serving it during brunch, so people are gonna start asking for bacon and beer.
I've read that some doughnut flights have sold out in less than 20 minutes. How do you think the bacon flight will fare in comparison?
The first doughnut flight sold out in 17 minutes. Then we had the Easter flight, which was complicated just because of the holiday and the weather. The rest of the doughnut flights have sold out by the end of brunch. We upped our numbers, so we do 100 servings now each time we do it. It generally sells out by around 2:30 to 3 p.m. Some of the newness has worn off; we still get a big crowd right when we open at 11 a.m. to be the first in to get the freshest doughnuts. So normally, we'll serve about 50 to 60 right off the bat, then it kind of wanes throughout the afternoon. But we've sold out every day by the end of brunch. So I expect the same thing for the bacon. We'll probably get about 50 to 60 [people] camping out on the patio when we open. It'll be a madhouse for a little bit, but then it'll probably slow down.
How were the pairings chosen?
Trial and error. A lot of eating bacon and tasting the different sauces, rubs and cures, then sipping on beer that we have on tap. Just like with the doughnut pairings, they bring us between six and eight different flavors of doughnuts. The Saturday night before, we sit down and eat donuts, we drink beer, then decide which ones we think are best. We did the same thing with the bacon this time.
You've mentioned that the bacon is made in-house. How did long did it take you to come up with the various flavors that you're going to have featured?
We've been working on it all month — so for a couple of weeks now. We got fresh pork belly in. Daniel, my business partner, has been working on different cures, glazes and sauces. We finally came up with the four that we're going to do. One of them is a sweet-and-smokey bacon; we're actually going to toss it in the wing sauce that we have on our wings, then finish it off on our flat-top grill, and it really caramelizes those sugars. It was something that one our cooks did just on a whim the other day. He took a regular piece of cooked bacon, tossed it in the wing sauce, threw it on the grill and served it to everybody. It was delicious. We're doing a pastrami bacon because that's what we're known for, our pastrami. So we're going to put the pork belly through all the process that we do with the pastrami. Then our first wings that we ever did at the restaurant, we did kind of like a jerk marinade, with a lot of ginger and habanero in a marinade. So we're going to brine [pork belly] in the same marinade, then we're going to finish it off the pork belly in a pineapple glaze. The other one is a maple chipotle bacon. Maple bacon is pretty well-received across the industry, but we thought we'd spice it up a little bit with our Texas roots. We won't smoke that one, but you'll get the smoke from the chipotle.
If you had to choose, what is your favorite pairing out of the bunch?
I think it's probably the one that's most uncommon when you think about bacon, and it's the ginger habanero pineapple glaze with The Chosen One Toasted Coconut Ale. Those are all flavors that I like — ginger, habanero, pineapple, coconut. Those are all things that you don't think about when you think about bacon. You think about brown sugar bacon, maple bacon, smoked bacon. Those are all a little bit uncommon, but I think they all go well together.
What is it about the match of bacon and beer that you like best?
[Laughs] It's bacon and beer! My two favorite food groups!
Makes sense! Bacon is, like, the ultimate food that people crave when they're drunk.
I think bacon is probably everyone's number one food unless they're vegetarians. Then it might be your secret indulgence when no one's around looking.
Could you see yourselves expanding into other food and beer pairings beyond what you guys have done so far?
We are! We're always kind of thinking about the next thing to do, and for a couple of reasons. One, when we originally opened the restaurant, we wanted to help promote the local craft beer scene. It was something we were very heavily involved in, and we were doing our fair share of drinking as much beer as we could. That only went so far, then we opened a restaurant and dedicated it to the local craft beer scene. So people would come in for the food, and we would expose them to this growing beer industry, and expose them to all this great beer that was being brewed. But a lot of people would come in and order their same standards. To get people to try to branch out of their comfort zone and try new things, we started coming up with these kind of off-the-wall pairings so that it brings a lot of people in to try the [food] and then we kind of trick them into trying four new beers they haven't tried before.
That's smart — especially because you guys are known for having a wide selection of beer.
Right. And we try to rotate the beers and the breweries. So, every tasting, we don't ever duplicate any beers. The beers that we paired with the doughnuts, we wouldn't pair with the bacon, we wouldn't pair with the Girl Scout Cookies. We've got such a wide variety of beers on hand — and 27 breweries open in North Texas now. We cannot duplicate that. That way, every time you come in, you know you're going to get to try something different, which I think it's important to develop your palate and find out what you really like.
Cover photo by Kathy Tran. LUCK's bacon and beer pairing takes place on Sunday, July 19, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Supplies are limited to the first 100 orders.