Chef Tim Love, Fort Worth, Dallas, Texas, TX, The Lonesome Dove, The Love Shack, White Elephant Saloon, Where to eat in Fort Worth, Recommendations, Q & A, chef interview, chef’s recommendations, cowboy, texas



Q. Tell us about your restaurants:

A. When we first opened up Lonesome Dove 10 years ago, it was a 50- seat place, and now it seats 120. We call it ‘Urban Western Cuisine.’ It’s a protein-focused restaurant for sure! It’s in a 1921 building and our wine cellar is carved out underneath Main Street. It’s kind a big dirt rock cave. We grow our own chilies and tomatoes, and in the back we have a fire-pit, where we do s’mores in the wintertime.

The Love Shack is my burger joint and we have live music there three nights a week. It’s an all outdoor space and the kitchen is just one hundred and forty square feet. It’s really like a burger stand.

And I have the White Elephant Saloon. It’s the oldest saloon in Texas. It started in 1858 and moved six times. I bought it eight years ago. Any name who has plays country and western has played here. They’ve had live music there every day for the past thirty-seven years.

Q. Tell us about your charity Burger for Babies:

A. My little girls were born premature, so I’m very involved in doing things for premature babies. You walk in and see a tiny baby that fits in the palm of your hand on an oxygen machine, it doesn't take much to get you thinking about it. So, I created the event ‘Burgers for Babies’ to raise money and this past year was our first year.

Q. I understand you’re into hunting. What do you love to hunt?

A. It depends on the season. Right now, it’s deer season and we just got back from a little hunt where I shot a blackbuck, which is an exotic antelope. It’s a beautiful animal and it moves really gracefully, you kind of learn to respect that. At the same time, as things get older you have to manage the ranch. The meat is really good; it’s super lean and good for you.

Q. What’s your weapon of choice?

A. That depends on what I’m hunting, but this past weekend I used a 300 Short Mag. A very large gun.

Q. Do you eat every part of the animal?

A. Almost. Generally, we don’t eat the head. We usually mount it.

Q. Were you a hunter who became a chef or were you a chef who became a hunter?

A. I was raised on a farm, but we didn’t do much hunting as I was growing up. We raised more domesticated animals like lamb, goat, pigs, chicken, rabbits, things like that. 

Q. When you were growing up, did you have to butcher your own animals?

A. Sometimes.

Q. What was the first time like?

A. The first animal I ever butchered was a rabbit. Tough to catch and a little intimidating. But as long as you have respect for the animal, it’s fine. Rabbits multiply so quickly, that you don’t feel so bad.

Q. What’s your favorite animal to eat?

A. Rabbit is probably the top. It’s probably the most eco-friendly animal on the planet. The meat itself is lean, yet it’s really tender. The meat is just super delicate and you can kind of twist and turn it whatever way you want.

Advice / Tips

Q. Can you give us advice for people who want to cook game?

A. When you buy game meats, you want to make sure they have been aged properly. At least 21 days age on the primal cuts, the sirloins and the shanks.

Also, there has always been this kind of pairing of game meats and fruits. That doesn’t necessarily hold true. I try to keep most of the stuff I do with game meats all savory. The sweetness comes from cooking the vegetables down. Especially dark game meats like venison or antelope, you’ll see cranberry or huckleberry or something like that kind of influencing it. I do use it, but the predominate flavor is more savory than sweet.

Q. Do you think they used to pair sweet things because the game wasn’t as good?

A. We’ve gotten better at processing the meat, better at curing the meat. They used to make it all super sweet so it would cover the game meat itself. I think it’s like the lamb and the mint thing. They take such an extreme thing like mint where you can’t really taste the meat, you’re just tasting mint with a chew.

Q. What are some tips for buying and cooking meat:

A. Meat is graded into three categories: select, choice and prime. Don’t just buy meat by the label, make sure you look at the meat. You want good clear marbling. Marbling means that the fat lines that run through the center of the meat don’t touch the edge of the steak. The fat lines that touch the edge of the steak are not considered marbling.

Q. In America, you look at the meat and there isn’t much fat on it and you look at meat in Europe and they leave the fat on. Is one better or is just indicative of the lifestyle of the Americans?

A. It’s not really the lifestyle of the Americans, it’s the media and marketing of America, which says fat is bad and that’s not necessarily the case. When we do our hand-cut steaks at Lonesome Dove, we leave a bigger fat cap on them all around purposely. It flavors the meat better and gives it a much richer flavor. You don’t have to eat the pure fat, you can cut it off. But don’t cut it off before you cook it.

Q. What are some tips for cooking meat:

A. Make sure you have a very hot grill, which means that you have to pre-heat the grill. If you have a gas grill, just like a charcoal grill, it needs to be lit 20-30 minutes ahead of time. People think they can just turn on the gas grill, put it on high and start cooking in five minutes. The metal needs to heat up and the grill grate needs to get hot. It needs to have pure heat, which means that when you put that steak on there, it’s not going to cool off right away.

Don’t season it twenty minutes ahead of time. The salt will start to dissolve into the meat and dry it out. What you’re trying to do is season the meat and sear the salt on top to build a salt crust.

Never marinate with citrus. Same situation, it starts to cook the meat down and dry the meat out and give it a mealy texture. If you like citrus on your meat, you need to finish with a citrus juice right before you take it off the grill.

Q. And once you take it off, you shouldn’t cut it right away?

A. Let it rest. Now what I prefer to do with meat is sear it on both sides, let it rest, and then put it back on the grill to get it to a temperature that I like. You know the top rack on your grill, that is what it’s for, finishing meat. You put it in there, shut the lid, and when the meat is hot, you serve it immediately. Now you’re serving very hot meat that is well rested and very tender.

Q. What knife do you like to use?

A. Shun 8 inch chef’s knife - it’s super versatile, I like the weight of it, and I think it holds a really good edge. I go through knives almost like butter. I’m pretty hard on knives and they seem to last pretty good.

Q. Is there a cookbook you really like?

A. The Joy of Cooking - I think it’s an awesome cookbook. Most people want to know essentials and that’s one of the best there is. [buy this book]

Q. What are good grilling items to have in your arsenal?

A. 1) Cold white wine - never grill with red wine, always grill with white wine. This is for drinking while you’re grilling. I like something light and fresh, like a Sancerre.

2) A spray bottle of water - you are going to have flames, so you need something to calm it down with. You don’t want flames around your meat, because it gives it a gaseous carcinogenic flavor.

3) Peanut oil - always when you grill, use peanut oil. Don’t use olive oil. Peanut oil has a higher flash point and olive oil tends to get a bitter flavor when it gets to five or six hundred degrees, where peanut oil just flavors the meat. Save the fancy olive oil for your salad dressing or for finishing the meat, don’t put it on there before you grill.



Q. What are some of the great culinary gifts you’ve given and gotten?

A. My signature gift that I give my friends who get married is a Hasty-Bake Smoker grill, which is awesome.

And I recently received a Boos Butcher Block for my new house, which is amazing. They make the best butcher blocks in the world. This one is 30 X 30 and about 8 inches thick. It’s an awesome giant bad ass meat block.

[See details.]


Q. What are the Dallas/Fort Worth restaurants that you like to frequent?

A. There is a place that just opened up in Fort Worth called Fireside Pies. It’s a wood-burning pizza place. He’s curing his own meats and he’s got some great ingredients and really good cocktails. Just a cool little hip spot.

You’ve got to have dinner at Joe T. Garcia’s. It’s a very cool and iconic spot. They only serve one thing; an enchilada dinner, so you don’t have to make any choices. The gardens are some of the most amazing Mexican gardens you will ever see in your life. You’ll want to get the special margaritas and plan on not going back to anything else afterwards!

Massey’s for chicken fried steak. Probably some of the best chicken fried steak around, for sure! It’s just a little diner.

Paris Coffee Shop and Old Neighborhood Grill for breakfast. I always order eggs, bacon, hash browns and toast. It’s just always good and it’s good people watching.

In Dallas, Charlie Palmer is one of my favorites. He’s got a great cured meat platter there. Scott Romano is the chef de cuisine and his Buffalo Ribeye is really good.

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Q. In New York?

A. I always love Casa Mono. It’s an oldie but a goodie, really good.

L’Artusi has a really good quail dish.

Lupa - when I go to New York, I have to eat at Lupa. The ricotta gnocchi are unbelievable. I always eat lunch there. I go with a couple of friends and we have a three hour lunch and it’s amazing. The simplicity, the food is always solid, and the chef is great.

Marea - what do I eat at Marea? Everything!

In Los Angeles, Animal - it’s another great spot that I like. I like the principal of the place. I think there are some really outstanding dishes.They take a lot of chances and I think that’s awesome.

In London, Hélène Darroze at The Connaught - the food was spectacular and the chef just got a Michelin Star.

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Q. What’s a good place to grab a drink either before or after dinner in Dallas/Fort Worth?

A. Victor Tango’s - I go for the vodka tonic, which is the house drink. They have great tonic water. It just has a great feel to it.

[See details.]

Q. You feature some really great margaritas on your menus, what’s your favorite tequila for margarita mixing?

A. Always use blanco tequila, because you don’t want to waste añejo in a margarita. Now with that in mind, there are three that I like:

Casa Noble - it’s organic and the only 100% organic tequila out there right now. It’s got a good roasty wood flavor to it.

The other one I recommend is Milagro. Their platinum silver is really awesome. It’s super clean and fresh with really light hints of all the tequila flavors, but nothing over powering. It’s great for hot afternoons and things like that, just on ice with a little lime.

As much as everyone will hate for me to say this, I think Patrón makes a great silver tequila. Even if they mass produce it. If it’s good, it’s good and it is good.

[See details.]

Q. Any tip for making margaritas?

A. When I make margaritas, I tend to float them with a little mezcal, because I like that really roasty flavor. Never use sweet and sour. Your sweet and sour should be Cointreau and lime juice. My margaritas are pretty potent. What the best is just tequila, agave nectar and lime juice.

[See details.]


Photograph courtesy of Tim Love

Q & A



Tim Love on the Lonesome Dove Trail (buy it)


Tim Love’s recommendations on where to eat in Fort Worth, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York, and London.

Details of Tim Love’s recommendations on where to eat in Fort Worth, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York, and London.




Fort Worth Stockyards

American/ Wild Game

2406 North Main Street

Fort Worth, Texas 76164 (view map)

T: 817.740.8810 (make a reservation)



Tue - Sat: 11:30pm - 2pm

Tue - Thu: 5pm - 10pm

Fri - Sat: 5pm - 11pm



Fort Worth Stockyards

110 East Exchange Avenue

Fort Worth, TX 76164 (view map)

T: 817.740.8812

Trinity Park

817 Matisse, Suite 445

Fort Worth, TX 76107

T: 817.348.9655



Sun - Wed 11am - 10pm

Thu: 11am - 11pm

Fri - Sat 11am - 1am


Fort Worth Stockyards

Bar / Live Music

106 East Exchange Avenue

Fort Worth, TX 76164 (view map)

T: 817.624.8273



Sun - Thu 12pm - 12am

Fri - Sat: 12pm - 2am