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The Leader • Saturday, February 15, 2020 • Page 1B

Texas BBQ stands out with beef as king By Zarah Parker zarah@theleadernews.com

When it comes to barbecue in Texas, patrons are willing to stand in line for it, sometimes for hours. Barbecue has surpassed being just a dining option. It has its own culture in the Lone Star State. What really sets Texas apart from other regions in America is that we love our beef. “Texas barbecue is defined by what we call the Texas Trinity: brisket, ribs and sausage,” said Grant Pinkerton of Pinkerton’s BBQ, 1504 Airline Dr. “Those are the gold-standard meats of the Texas barbecue plate. Texas barbecue leans heavily on beef and thus the brisket’s popularity.” In other states, such as Alabama or South Carolina, pork takes center stage. Pinkerton said some areas are known for smoking whole hogs, while others are known for butts and shoulders. “(Other regions) all have one thing in common: barbecue, traditionally, to them is slow-smoked pork,” Pinkerton said. “We love our ribs here, but pulled pork takes a back seat to brisket. Brisket is king in Texas.” Which meats are most popular in each region is usu-

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File photo by Adam Zuvanich Dishes like the ribs and brisket at Gatlin’s BBQ is part of what gives Texas barbecue its own culture.

ally determined by what drives the agriculture, said Greg Gatlin of Gatlin’s BBQ, 3510 Ella Blvd. And Texas has a lot of cows. The culture of barbecue in Texas goes beyond the beef. It’s become a big part of building a sense of community. “Barbecue in Texas is way of life,” Gatlin said. “It’s usual-

ly a part of a lot of family functions. It doesn’t matter if it’s your birthday, a christening, a holiday, a graduation party. Whatever it is, a lot of people here in Texas will think about doing a barbecue as a thing, just like how in Louisiana it’s a gumbo or crawfish boil.” Cooking processes also differ in different regions, includ-

ing different regions within Texas. Pinkerton said some areas cook over direct heat with a bed of coals from hardwood, while others rely on offset smokers that carry heat and smoke from a firebox through the main chamber with meat and up through a smoke stack.

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Photo by Zarah Parker Shown here is the delectable two-meat plate with pork ribs and sausage at Truth BBQ at 110 S. Heights Blvd.

les I’ve had before. But they’re good. The seating space was large, and even with a continuous line out the door well into the lunch hour, there was always enough seating. The creamy dressing was mild on the crunchy strings of vegetables in the coleslaw, and made an easy-to-do-wrong side enjoyable. But my favorite of the two sides was the baked beans. Mixed with small chunks

of pork and sliced onions, the warm beans were sweet and savory all at the same time. I finished the small paper boat of the baked beans before I even moved on to the meat. While the turkey, sliced about a centimeter wide, was good, I think it makes a better sandwich option than a twomeat plate option. The brisket, however, was like a small slab of fatty meat. Smoky and tender, I didn’t add any sauce to the brisket.

The bark was blackened and packed a nice flavor that made the meat even tastier. The sliced sausage was on the subtle side, with just a light peppery spice mixed with the smokiness that is typical at most barbecue joints. What really knocked me off my feet were the two pork ribs resting on my tray. Sliding right off the bone, the tender meat had a hint of bacon-y flavor, but just about melted in my mouth with different spices. To be honest, while my lunch companion and I were splitting the meat, I didn’t actually share the pork ribs. If you’re looking for beef ribs, Truth has them on Saturdays only. Truth may be open from 11 a.m.–5 p.m., but I hear they sell out before closing time and the line can take an hour to get through. So it’s best to arrive early. Truth BBQ Address: 110 S. Heights Blvd. Hours: 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Tuesday – Sunday Pricing: $12 - $20 Kid-friendly: Yes Alcohol: Yes Health options: No Star of the show: Pork ribs

Making chili is a spicy adventure Zarah Parker Managing Editor

Chili is one of those dishes that I’ve learned incites some Texans to dust off their pitch forks if someone has a different opinion about how to make it. Especially when deciding whether or not beans belong. Making chili for the first time also seems like a rite of passage, so after 26 years on this earth, I finally decided it was time. Just keep in mind, I’m always the first to admit that I am more of a baker than a cooker. A quick search on the internet would have given me plenty of chili recipes claiming to be the best, but I figured if I was going to make chili, I might as well make a recipe loved by people I actually know. When family friend Julia Johnson shared her recipe with me, I decided to have a go at it when I read that one of her instructions is to toast the chili powder in a dry skillet before using it. And, of course, because other people mentioned how much they loved her chili. I first browned the meat along with onion and garlic. I used half chili meat, half ground

Photo by Zarah Parker Creating homemade chili and skillet cornbread proved challenging.

beef, both bought from B & W Meat Company, 4801 N. Shepherd Dr. The recipe I was using actually called for ground beef and pork sausage, so that is a change I made. Before I get to the rest of the ingredients, I also quickly learned that chili is all about taste preference and eyeballing how much spice you throw in the pot. Julia gave me some loose guidelines on what to add in the chili, but it was really up to me how much of each ingredient to add. At first, I didn’t like this idea, but once I got cooking and tasting, I found my own little groove and enjoyed cooking much more than following a strict recipe. After the meat was ready, I threw in one chopped-up pob-

lano pepper (and later wished I’d added more) and tomatoes. The seasoning per pound is about 1/4 cup chili powder, 1 tsp cumin, 1/2 tsp oregano, 1/4 tsp paprika. Then I added a small can of tomato sauce per pound of meat. And yes, I also added beans. In my defense, I did not make “Texas chili,” and I like beans in my chili. This is a pretty thick chili, which I prefer, but adding water will make it soupier. Julia said the most important part is the chili powder, which has to be 100 percent chili peppers. I never knew how hard this was to find until I spent almost 20 minutes in the spice aisle at H-E-B looking for one. I eventually found an an-

cho chili powder. In the process of toasting the chili powder, the seasoning will get dark and smoky. “You will think you’ve ruined your chili powder, but I promise that’s the key,” Julia said. “When you set off your smoke alarm, that’s how you know it’s legit.” Julia said she usually does this part outside on her grill, but keeping the fan above my stove on kept the smoke contained. Because of the chili powder toasting, the chili also came out pretty dark and gave it a rich flavor. After everything was combined and the taste to my preference, I let the chili simmer while I made skillet cornbread. The recipe I used can be found here: https://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/skilletcornbread/. The recipe utilizes cornmeal, flour, shortening, salt, baking soda, baking powder, buttermilk and milk. I cooked it on the stove for one minute before popping it in the oven, which I think gave the edges a really nice crispiness. I enjoyed both the making and the eating of the chili and cornbread. If I could change one thing it would be the use of the chili meat, which is more of a tougher meat than ground beef.

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It was just a little chilly outside, but when the door opened at Truth BBQ, the smell of cooked meats filtered outside and I felt warm. But I wasn’t inside the restaurant quite yet. Only 15 minutes after Truth’s 11 a.m. opening, the line was out the door. Once inside, the line still weaved around a row of boxes of ice filled with bottled sodas and various beers. Brisket, turkey, pork ribs, pulled pork and sausage were the meat options. I couldn’t make up my mind, so I made my lunch companion get the two-meat plate of brisket and turkey while I got the pork ribs and sausage. Then we split up the meat. On the side I chose baked beans and coleslaw. At the end of the line I was asked if I wanted a slice of bread, onions and pickles. If you go and want none of those to go with your meal, I still recommend at least trying the pickles. They are a cross between cucumber and pickle and must have been marinated in some special juice, because they don’t taste like any pick-

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Page 2B • Saturday, February 15, 2020 • The Leader

New Orleans’ Urban South about to hit Houston Zuvie’s Brews

By Adam Zuvanich

T

he brand name is the same, and some of the beers will be similar. But don’t expect Urban South Brewery HTX to serve a taste of New Orleans in its taproom. Instead, the upcoming craft brewpub in Sawyer Yards will add Houston flavor to its Crescent City-based company. Urban South HTX, scheduled to open Feb. 29 at 1201 Oliver St., Suite 10, is the research-and-development expansion of the popular Urban South Brewery in New Orleans. Marin Slanina, the taproom and marketing manager for the Houston outpost, said all of its beers will be brewed on site and none will be exactly the same as the suds made at the Louisiana headquarters. Instead of the Holy Roller IPA, for example, Urban South HTX will offer the HTX IPA. And the Tighten Up lager will be a cousin of sorts to the Paradise Park made by the parent company. “We have brewed the same types but with different techniques,” Slanina said. “So the styles will be very, very similar to the offerings in Louisiana. They’ll just be completely brewed here out of HTX.” Urban South HTX is the latest addition to a booming craft beer scene in Houston and particularly the near northwest part of town. There are 11 other craft breweries in the Greater Heights area. Slanina said the owners of Urban South Brewery have ties to the Houston area, which had fewer than 10 craft breweries only five years ago, and decided to expand here three years ago. She and her husband, Justin Slanina, along with Dave Ohmer, were working for B-52 Brewing Co. in Conroe when they were recruited by the New Orleans company. The three leaders of Urban South HTX plan to create an immersive, hospitalitydriven experience at the 14,000 square feet space, which will be split nearly evenly between a taproom, 10-barrel brewhouse and space for private events. Marin Slanina said the pet-friendly and familyfriendly brewery will have indoor and outdoor seating, arcade games and food options in the form of pop-ups and trucks. Customers also will be allowed to bring in food from neighboring businesses.

Contributed photo The brewery will have 25 taps featuring beers brewed in-house.

All Are Welcome Urban South Brewery HTX is scheduled to open Feb. 29 in Sawyer Yards.

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Contributed photo From left, Dave Ohmer, Justin Slanina and Marin Slanina lead Urban South Brewery HTX. The trio will add Houston flavor to the New Orleans-based brewery.

Urban South HTX does not plan to distribute, so its creations will be available only on site. Slanina said the brewery will be open seven days a week from 11 a.m.10 p.m. and has 30 taps – 25 for its beers and one apiece for red wine, white wine, cider, kombucha and cold-brewed coffee. “We plan to change a lot and change the beers a lot and options a lot so that every time you come, it’s a different experience but the same accepting and warm environment,” Slanina said. “It’s not the same old, same old every day. There will be different brews, different tastes and different profiles.” Above all else, Slanina said she and her husband and Ohmer want the taproom to be a fun place where people can en-

joy good company and good beer. In that sense, the idea is for Urban South HTX to be an extension of its parent brewery in New Orleans. Before the Feb. 29 opening, Urban South HTX is hosting two ticketed VIP events on Feb. 22 and Feb. 28. Slanina said Tuesday that tickets were still available for both and can be purchased on the brewery’s website at urbansouthbrewery. com or on its Facebook page at @urbansouthhtx. “The culture,” Slanina said of the connection between the Houston and New Orleans locations. “The vibe of what they have embodied, great craft beer and southern goodness and hospitality.”


The Leader • Saturday, February 15, 2020 • Page 3B

What supplies do you need for a new cat? Dear Tabby, We’ve decided to adopt a cat! My family is very excited, but we’ve never had a cat and have no idea what kind of cat supplies we’ll need for it. Can you help? New Cat People in Shepherd Park Plaza Dear New Cat People, Congratulations on your soon-to-be new addition! Cats are really great pets and can be easier than dogs in many respects. Contrary to popular belief, cats aren’t always aloof and can be just as cuddly and loving as a dog. So, what do you need to make a cat happy in your home? Actually, very little. But, here’s a quick rundown of the basics:

behavior problems in cats. Instead, opt for a nice scratching post that offers kitty an opportunity to stretch and care for his claws. A cat tree typically has a scratching post incorporated into it and offers the additional appeal of giving kitty a high place to hang out and climb. Cats love high places and, if you give him an acceptable high place to hang out in your home, this might keep him off of your kitchen counters and from jumping up onto your wobbly entertainment center.

perfect spot, you might confuse kitty and this could lead to accidents in the home. Flea medications After a trip to the vet, you can get a prescription for topical flea medications that will keep your pet and your home free from fleas. These are typically applied once a month and treat not only fleas, but often ticks, heartworms and intestinal parasites as well. It’s well worth the expense to keep

your home free from pests. Lastly, please know that you don’t have to spend much money on stuff to make your new cat happy. The fact that you’re rescuing him from a shelter and giving him a safe, secure place to live is going to be truly enough to make him happy. Do you have a question for Tabby? Email her at: deartabbyquestions@gmail.com.

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can’t necessarily say, ‘It has to be this way,’ ” Gatlin said. “Now there are traditionalists that want it a certain way, but there’s no box that says it has to be that way.”

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A litter box For most cats, a simple litter box does the trick. Especially in the early days of having a cat, you’ll find that you don’t need the fancy, robotic, selfcleaning litter boxes or the other high-tech gadgets. Take into consideration the size of your cat and make sure that the litter box that you get for him is roomy enough so that he won’t hang over the edge when using it. Also, pick a spot to keep the litter box and stick with it. If you move the litter box around trying to find the

A scratching post or cat tree First things first: don’t even consider declawing your new cat. It’s a cruel and unnecessary procedure that can cause

The common denominator is that barbecue requires a lower heat and longer cook times, and that’s what makes it different than grilling. One of the great debates in barbecue is in the sauce. Traditionalists tend to say barbecue doesn’t need sauce, according to Gatlin, and there are some people who consider the sauce to be the key to barbecue. Texas likes to be different with its sauces. While places like North Carolina uses a vinegar sauce and South Carolina a mustard-base sauce, Texas sauce typically has more of a tomato, savory base. Gatlin’s opinion on the matter, and barbecue as a whole, is that you should eat it how you enjoy it. “Barbecue is so diverse now. In the last 15 years or so it’s reached a point you

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A few toys An adult cat doesn’t need as much stimulation as a kitten does. But make no mistake, adult cats love to play, too! Playtime is important for adult cats as it offers them opportunities to exercise and entertainment that keeps them happy and out of trouble. It also serves as great bonding time for you and your cat.

Good-quality cat food Ideally, you shouldn’t switch your cat’s food often as this can cause stomach upset. So, try out the food of your choice and, if it makes everyone happy, then stick with it. Unlike humans, cats can be perfectly content eating the same food every day for the rest of their lives.

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Page 4B • Saturday, February 15, 2020 • The Leader

Kids make Valentine’s Day special for area veterans By Zarah Parker zarah@theleadernews.com

Floyd “Bud” Walker said being a Navy man was like shooting fish in a barrel. “It’s as easy as I had it,” Walker said. “It was a whole lot better than plowing cotton or unloading the grocery trucks.” Walker, a 93-year-old World War II veteran, served in the U.S. Navy Pacific Fleet. His ship was small, only about 25 men aboard. At home in Missouri, Walker had been in machinist school before joining the Navy. From 5 a.m.-10 p.m. he would attend classes, work in a machinist shop and end the day working at his dad’s grocery store. Then, a long ride in the bus would take him home and he’d have to start it all over the next morning. When asked if he preferred going to war, he smiled and said it was easier. “But I didn’t like it too much when they started shooting at me,” Walker said. Though Walker can look back on his service with light-heartedness, thinking of home during wartime was just as special for him as it was for other soldiers. When he received mail, which was sporadic but much-

appreciated, he said it felt like going home for Christmas. So when third-graders from St. Rose of Lima Catholic School marched into the American Legion Post 560 in Garden Oaks to deliver Valentine’s Day cards, Walker said it felt just as nice. Walker is a Legionnaire and was the guest of honor at the Operation Valentine’s event on Feb. 6 at the legion post, 3720 Alba Rd. The students made the visit extra special by singing the Navy fight song, “Anchors Aweigh,” to him after also singing “God Bless America.” Tearing up, Walker said it took him right back to his time of duty on the ship so many years ago. Then the students had the opportunity to listen to the veterans’ stories before handing over the Valentine’s Day cards they had made. The veterans that attended aside from Walker included legion Commander Tony Moreno, an Air Force veteran who served in Vietnam; 1st Vice Commander Larry Gutierrez, who served in the Navy in Desert Storm; 3rd Vice Commander Naro Mak, a Marine who served in the Persian Gulf; chaplain Pat Semien, who served in the Army in Vietnam; judge advocate Steve Watkins, an Army veteran who served

in Vietnam; e-board member Chuck Custard, a Navy man who served during the Korean conflict; e-board member Peggy Mondy, a Marine who served during the Korean conflict; and legionnaire Ed Krueger, who was in the Navy and served in Vietnam. St. Rose student Kylie Welker made three Valentine’s Day cards for the veterans. She said she loved making them because it made the veterans happy and reminded them how much their service is appreciated. “They’ve done a lot for this country and we love to come here and see them and hear their stories because it’s very interesting and we would like to learn more about them,” Welker said. Other schools in the area also participated in making cards for veterans. Hamilton Middle School, Pershing Middle School, New Heights Christian Academy, St. Ambrose Catholic School, St. Pius X High School and Wainwright Elementary School, in partnership with the Office Depot at 5330 W. 34th St., all sent cards to the post that were sent to various veterans. Humble ISD also dropped off cards at the post. Plus, a homeschool group, individual members of American Le-

Photos by Zarah Parker A St. Rose of Lima Catholic School student gives Valentine’s Day cards to veterans Chuck Custard, center, and Floyd “Bud” Walker at American Legion Post 560.

gion Auxiliary Unit 560, and members of the Garden Oaks community dropped off their donations at the post. This year, close to 3,000 Valentines were distributed to active duty military in Iraq, USO Bush, USO Hobby and the VA Med Center in Houston. The post also mailed a packet to a 104-year-old World War II veteran Bill White, a Marine

who lives in Stockton, California. A friend of his requested Valentine’s Day cards on social media. Having cards sent to them means a lot to veterans, Semien said. “Just to see these kids when they give us these cards, and then you look at their little handwriting, it kind of blows your mind because the kids are doing this and it means so much,” Semien said.

Astwirls seeking the twirling spotlight By Betsy Denson betsy@theleadernews.com

When Candlelight Plaza resident Suzannah Mays turned 60 years old in June 2018, she decided she wanted to learn how to twirl. “I had always wanted to twirl but never got around to learning,” Mays said. “My cousin twirls and taught me the basics and a few tricks. So I practiced and practiced and practiced and got bruises on my arms, hands, legs, head all over. But, I learned how to twirl.” Not only did she learn how to twirl, but Mays learned that she loved it. “It is so fun and is great exercise, and improvement results are readily apparent,” Mays said. Mays works downtown in

the energy industry and gets to practice twirling while she walks to lunch. “People come up to me and say, ‘I used to twirl,’” Mays said. “It’s a magnet for people.” After spending 25 years in Los Angeles pursuing a career in the entertainment industry, Mays has got the bug again. When she realized there weren’t any twirlers in the Astros’ World Series championship parade in 2017, she got the idea to recruit fellow twirlers into a group to support parades in downtown Houston. “People love parades, and they love to watch twirling.” Mays said. “I kept encountering professional women (who twirled).” Now the Astwirls have team members who were featured twirlers at the University of Texas, Southern Methodist

Photo by Betsy Denson Astwirls creator Suzannah Mays shows off a twirling baton.

University, Stephen F. Austin University, Ohio State University, and a flag twirler from the University of Houston. “We even have a rope

twirler and two hoop twirlers,” Mays said. “It took on a life of its own and I just try to facilitate it.” She has been working on getting a trademark for Astwirls, a process that has been going on for a year now and she said is in the final stages. Learning as she goes, Mays said that in the effort to register for a category that already existed, making it less expensive, she ended up registering for one that sold goods and provided “entertainment in the nature of a baseball game.” So now she sells batons and is trying to figure out the logistics and rules of Astwirls, the game. While she might start over with the trademark process, for now, she says she enjoys the challenge. “I’m going where this leads

me,” Mays said. Still actively recruiting twirlers, Mays also has a longterm goal of a foundation that works with underserved youth to teach twirling as well as social skills and business etiquette. “I want to open up new worlds for them,” Mays said. And the next time the Astros

are in a championship parade, Mays will be ready. She was ready in October, when the Astros returned to the World Series but lost to the Washington Nationals in seven games. “I reached out to the City of Houston (during last year’s playoff run), but they told me they don’t plan ahead,” Mays said. “The jinx factor.”

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