ACL Paper Boat Report: Chef Jason Dady

 
 
By Mike Sutter | Fed Man Walking | 10.04.14
 
 The dish: Bacon Frito pie ($9)
 
 The chef: Jason Dady of San Antonio at the ACL Food & Wine Chef’s Showcase
 
 The report: Let us celebrate the power of the paper boat to transport us beyond the carnivoral midway of festival food. Jason Dady sailed his Frito pie clipper to Austin from San Antonio, where he presides over Two Bros. BBQ Market and Umai Mi, among others. Anyway, that’s how he fills his time when he’s not in Austin at the Food & Wine Festival or LiveFire or here at ACL for one day only (Saturday, Oct. 4).
                                                 
Of the chopped BBQ, pork belly or Johnson's Backyard Garden veggie Frito pies Dady brought, the pork belly called out loudest for its novelty and the verdant jacket of health suggested by tomatillo salsa and a forest of longstem cilantro. Pork bellly rose above novelty with mellow braised flavors and lean-fibered texture that suggested pulled pork even more than the five-layer fatty cake of pork belly. Crisp curls of salty bacon punched up the flavor, and sour cream gave creamy grace notes to the smoky salsa.
 
I saved Fritos for last, because they’re the indentured rowers of this boat, minor players at best. Fritos work in a traditional Frito pie because the chili and cheese soak the chips for the call-and-response of soggy and crunchy. In a Frito pie as carefully constructed as Dady’s, you lose the sloppy indifference that makes Frito pie so loveable. But love can be overrated, and this boat floats just fine as a festival of pork with a side of chips.
 
(Photos by Mike Sutter © Fed Man Walking)
 
More ACL food coverage