We were asked to keep it quiet till he left, but Andrew Zimmern, host of Travel Channel’s Bizarre Foods America, made a DFW swing this weekend -- although Zimmern himself wasn’t keeping it any secret, tweeting frequently and posting Instagram photos of his visits to such places as Fort Worth’s Revolver Taco Lounge (“ @ revolvertaco is beyond amazing. If you live in The DFW and not eating here you are missing out on superb Michoacan food”) and Cooper’s Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que as well as Dallas’ Chicken Shack, Odom’s Bar-B-Que and Lockhart Smokehouse, among other locations.
The barbecue joints were part of a barbecue crawl with Texas Monthly barbecue editor Daniel Vaughn; Zimmern also went hunting with Fort Worth chef Tim Love, and then eating at Love’s Woodshed Smokehouse. But the DFW filming wasn’t all about Michoacan food and barbecue; Zimmern also spent time with a local Thai community, and visited Russian Banya Family Spa & Cafe in Carrollton.
We were able to drop by the Revolver Taco shoot, where owner Gino Rojas’ mother made moronga, which a server described as “blood pudding” -- blood, heart, pancita (tripe_ and intestines, per Taco Trail’s Instagram -- and a kidney dish during the time we were there. And, yes, we tried both -- the meats in each dish had a dusky, earthy flavor, set off in the first by a lime-infused sauce and in the second by a mouth-wateringly spicy chile arbol sauce. All were served with steamingly hot, stunningly melt-in-your-mouth house-made tortilla -- although they were often best just with a fork, so you could get the full effect of the meats and sauces.
Barbecue -- and to some extent, organ meat -- might not seem all that bizarre, especially for a guy like Zimmern, who has eaten worms, hakarl (aka rotten shark meat) and ... oh, just look at this list. But Zimmern says he’s aiming at a different meaning of “bizarre” than “strange.”
“The point of our show is not to showcase weird food,” Zimmern said Saturday. “We want to refocus the word bizarre, bring it back to the Webster’s definition of it. I think the first line is ‘unique or interesting.’ To me, all the places Daniel [Vaughn] has taken me are unique and interesting. Along the way, we found some stuff that is unusual, that is part and parcel of that culture. You say barbecue in Texas and its beef, right? Yet there are some really established guys in Texas who are starting to do stuff with Texas rabbit, who are starting to do stuff with game birds. They’re sort of spreading out the definition of what it means to be cooking over live fire.”
The DFW episode doesn’t yet have an air date, but if it follows the usual patterns, it will likely air sometime in the spring on the Travel Channel.