Pigging Out Texas-Style with Tim Love

Chef Tim Love talks about celebrating Southern-style at 2011 Atlanta Food & Wine Festival

The launch of the inaugural Atlanta Food & Wine Festival on May 19th means many of the country's best Southern chefs will be gathering there for demos, tastings, seminars, and a celebration of Southern food and living.

Chef Tim Love (of Lonesome Dove Bistro in Fort Worth, Texas) who you may have seen elsewhere on the food and drink circuit, was kind enough to share what he'll be doing in his event and why the festival is important. He also gives pointers on cooking animals whole, reports on the frenzy around his Denton Love Shack (did you know there's a secret off-the-menu burger?), and shared details about his upcoming "global taqueria."


What does it mean to be participating in the upcoming Atlanta Food & Wine Festival?

I do a lot of events around the country, but this one hits me in my backyard. You know what I mean? It’s going to be my kind of event. You’re going to be able to graze around, there will be smoke in the air, good music, kind of like the way it is in the summertime. It’s going to be very comfortable. I’m very happy about it as an event.

And you know this is the first time that there’s a big food and wine festival like this that honors the South. It’s important especially considering all the things that have been happening in the South and with the storms. It’s nice to be celebrating some good stuff. And people in the South know how to have fun. That’s what I enjoy. Experiencing great food and not really worrying about all these other things for a moment. We’re masters of killing time, drinking, and making good food.  


Your Pig Out Texas-Style event at the festival, what's it about?

It’s going to be pretty awesome is what it is. Chef Ford and I are going to do pretty much everything you can do with a pig, and then more. We’re going to have a lot of bourbon, and cocktails, and pig out I suppose.


But what specifically are you going to do with the pig?

I’m doing wild boar crepinettes. I’m going to take a whole wild boar, roast it over a fire, wrap it in caul fat then reroast it. It’s going to be juicy inside, with a slight crispy crust on the outside, and I’ll serve it with some vinegary braised lentils that will have chunks of pork in it, chilis, and lots of garlic. And I’ll do bourbon and Coke roasted pork. You take a whole roasted pork butt and roast it in a giant cocktail. I’ll serve it with fresh corn tortillas and pickled chilies, kind of like a southern bahn mi. I’m planning smoked pork and rabbit green chili with smoked Cheddar and minced Vidalia onions. And then a salad as well, fresh endive, apples, celery greens, and guanciale.

Any pointers you can give on how to best doing whole animal cooking?

You want to make sure you set aside enough time to do it. I do it regularly and have a routine and it still takes four to five hours for a 35-pound pig.  It takes more time than just the cooking time. It’s at minimum an hour to set up, an hour take down. It’s an all-day process — six to seven hours. It takes preparation as with any kind of cooking, but even more so when standing by a fire outside. You never know how conditions are going to be, the weather, how wet or dry the wood is.


Any places you like to hit up when you’re in Atlanta?

You know there are some restaurants, I’ve looked up. There has been a recent food movement in Atlanta that I’ve noticed. There’s a head-to-tail place I want to check out. A bistro I went to meet the founders of the festival at in Buckhead right around the corner form the W.I had a coq au vin there that was awesome.


Are there any food secrets people may be surprised to learn about the South?

Not any food secrets, but like for example, now you’re seeing grits all over the country but they don’t taste the same. When you’re in the South and actually eat the grits there, that’s what the secret is — there’s something about the tradition being used to make them there that people cooking them have grown up with. You taste grits in the South and they taste like nothing else. I cook all over the country but you get to a little spot and you get some collard greens and grits and it’s a completely different experience. And when you visit, we expect you to come in and enjoy yourself for a while. Hey, not only is it fun but really our hospitality is unmatched.


You recently opened a Love Shack in Dallas. How’s it going?

It’s overwhelmingly busy. I had to hire a refrigerated trailer, I didn’t even have enough room for the food. Really.


Any news you can give us the scoop on ?

I’m opening a new taqueria late this summer with a 1000-person music venue on the Trinity River in Fort Worth.


Do you have a name for it yet?

We’ve batted around some names but we haven’t settled on anything yet. We’re doing global tacos. So like bulgogi with kimchi. Pulled pork with pickled chilies, bahn mi-style. Confit shrimp in Spanish olive oil.

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