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Host Interview: Hank Pitts

Hank is hosting Backyard Barbecue & Beer and Becoming a Lettuce Wrap Designer experiences in Midlothian with FoodiePath.

Question 1: Could you introduce yourself a little bit?

I’m a stay at home dad at the moment and love cooking. I love learning how to make new meals. I have recently gotten into health and wellness so in addition to cooking I have been very into running and the relationship that food and exercise now play in my life.

Question 2: What inspired your love of food?

Once I moved out of my parents house and on my own I had to learn how to cook very quickly. I would make simple things like sandwiches and frozen meals but I was missing my mothers cooking, especially her tacos so I had her walk me through how to make those dishes. Once I started learning some fundamentals of making basic dishes I started watching videos or tv shows that would walk me through different things.

Grilling was always a large part of my families food experience growing up. On sundays we would always have steaks and whatever other meats were leftover from the week and that was always a tradition I wanted to keep up even after I left home. Bringing everybody together at the end of the week to talk about how our week went and what was planned for the week ahead inspired a relationship with food and family, a thing to bring everybody together and enjoy an amazing meal.

Question 3: What do you love most about hosting guests?

I love getting to know new people, and sharing my knowledge and a good meal.

Question 4: Allowing strangers to come to your home could be scary. What made you choose to share your dining room with strangers?

It sounded like a cool experience and I am always willing to try something new.

Question 5: What’s your favorite food?

It honestly depends on the day, most days it’s tacos. Lately I have been very into all kinds of BBQ. I also find great satisfaction in harvesting my own food, it could be fish I caught or animals I have hunted. In the summer it’s usually speckled trout or croaker from the coast and in the fall/winter it’s turkey or deer.

Question 6: Please share with us one of your favorite recipes.

My go to recently has been a whole chicken with a side of jalapeño poppers


The night before cooking the chicken I get a large pot and fill it with water so that it covers the whole chicken.

I then add salt, pepper, pickling spice, lemon juice and leave the squeezed lemon in, and generally other fresh herbs I have at the house.

The chicken is left in the fridge covered to brine for at least 12 hours generally just overnight.

I get the smoker up to temp and the wood chips burning at 250 degrees.

When the chicken comes out of the brine it is rinsed to get the salt off the skin.

The chicken is dried off well.

It is laid out and the backbone is cut out (spatchcock), and then I salt and pepper the chicken.

It goes on the smoker breast side up until the breast internal temp is 165, and the thigh internal temperature is 175.

When the bird is up to temp it can come off the smoker and rest.

The rest should be at least 15 minutes, this is just so the moisture can redistribute throughout the chicken. If there is no rest period all the moisture will run out and the meat will dry out.

Jalapeño poppers

For this the jalapeños are halved and the seeds are removed. Cream cheese and cheddar cheese are combined and added into the halved jalapeños.

All the poppers are wrapped with bacon and topped with your favorite bbq rub.

The poppers go onto the smoker until the bacon is crispy.

Another option is finishing the poppers on a grill to char the bottoms.

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