This is a tale about twolocalKingwood chefs, both Kingwood residents, both passionate about barbecue, both community driven to help their Kingwood neighbors, and both friends, even though they are both in the same food-truck business in Kingwood. One truck is onNorthparkDrive, the other is parked at Kingwood Town Center. They both serve awesome barbecue with very similar menu items. You can order and enjoy all day long as Sloan Rinaldi and her Texas Q BBQ “Roovy” truck is onNorthpark. It opens at 11 a.m. until sold out … And Chef Dave Welsh and his Fire Craft BBQ truck opens at Town Center at 4 p.m. until sold out, and yes, both trucks usually sell out every day!
Here is the history and story about the chefs behind the windows in their trucks. Rinaldi and her Texas Q “Roovy” food truck follows the family tradition. Her family has been smoking barbecue in East Texas since 1909 and she has been a Kingwood resident for 23 years, working first in Kingwood in large-scale landscape development as the original contractor for Town Center, the contractor for Kingwood’s movie theater, and apartments in Kingwood. When she retired from construction, she followed her family tradition and start smoking barbecue. Banking on her family barbecue sauce recipe, she got their original sauce into H-E-B five years ago; the second sauce hit the shelves in 2017, just as Hurricane Harvey and the San Jacinto River flood hit Kingwood. Rinaldi and her employees learned during Harvey that we all are one and the only way to survive is together. Donating food and assisting in rescues was top priority for this small food truck company. And now,the latest challenge to our lives is no hurricane, but the worldwide pandemic that divides us and threatens our very way of life. She has found through all of these challenges that food unites, and no other food more than Texas barbecue! She realized a dream recently when during all of this they were blessed with an opportunity to open a “Roovy” food truck. They are open most weeksThursday-Saturday,11 a.m. until sold out and Sunday noon until sold out and are located at 1683Northpark. To thank her loyal customers for referrals, anyone who comes by, orders barbecue, and says a friend referred them gets a free side dish or dessert. You can’t miss the Texas Q BBQ truck. It has in giant letters“GROOVY”written on the sides. For contactless ordering and payment, download theRoovyapp attexasq.com/texas-q-roovyand select carry out or delivery.
Welsh’s Fire Craft BBQ has a fantastic history and story as well.Welsh, classically trained in Europe and CIA-certified, came to work in Kingwood as the executive chef at Amedeo’s Restaurant. After a few years he, along with Tony and LeslieRaffa, openedRaffa’s Waterfront Grill at King’s Harbor. Jumpforwardseveral years later. After a successful opening and loyal following, Welsh decided to start his own food business, first taking private chef catering jobs while honing his barbecue skills at Tin Roof BBQ. After learning all he could, he started the long process of buying property on Loop 494, designing a restaurant, as rustling through city ordinances, licensing requirements and red tape as he continued on his quest to own and operate Fire Craft BBQ and bring his plan to fruition with a brick-and-mortar restaurant. Once the property was purchased, while waiting for licensing, he started his food truck next to Nico’s on Loop 494. He was quite successful there but when the opportunity opened for him to serve out of his food truck at Kingwood’s Town Center, he jumped on the opportunity and moved on up the road. He began selling and serving his barbecue Thursdays at Town Center’s Farmers Market. Selling out every Thursday, he upped his game. You can now find the Fire Craft BBQ truck Thursday and Saturday from 4 p.m. until sold out (firecraftbbq.com). Menus are posted at 10 a.m. on their Facebook/Instagram accounts for the day. He is still working on that challenge of opening the permanent building (restaurant) on Loop 494 and has just received their permits to build but for now, with COVID-19 issues, mandatory masks and social distancing, he is grateful for his loyal and new customers who start lining up at 3:30 p.m. to take home his fantastic Fire Craft barbecue and sides.
Both chefs have barbecue that is “out of bounds “on flavor, texture, smokiness and originality. I have been asked by friends which truck has better barbecue. The answer I give is neither; they both have fantastic barbecue and sides, some similar, some not. So why not “join my table?” I won’t attempt Rinaldi’s to-die-forpork-bellyburnedends, too good to be true but I will try to recreate her cornbread pudding side dish. I do make an indoor sautéed, smoked salmon that can’t hold a candle to Welsh’s smoked salmon; his is the best and I buy it often. He makes a mean German potato salad, great for tailgating as it is nondairy, so I will share with you my Greek potato salad, also a great nondairy side.
I think this would be great on my Thanksgiving table!
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1-2 teaspoons honey
1 14.75 ounce can cream-style sweet corn
1 11-ounce can white shoe peg corn
1 1/2 cups frozen corn, with red and green peppers or 1 11-ounce can
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 12x8-inch (2-quart) baking dish or use a nonstick cooking spray. In a large bowl, combine butter, sour cream, cream cheese, honey, cumin and eggs; mix until well blended. Add cream-style corn, shoe peg corn, corn with peppers,jalapeños, corn muffin mix andhalf ofthe cheese; stir just until blended. Pour into prepared baking dish. Bake at 375 for 45-55 minutes or until slightly puffed and golden brown. Note: Top with remaining cheese the last 5 minutes. Remove from oven and let rest 5 minutes before cutting.
My Greek Potato Salad
A different type of potato salad with no mayonnaise or dairy!
1 1/2- 2 pounds potatoes, peeled or not, your choice, cut into chunks
1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced
1 red pepper, sliced
1/2 yellow pepper, sliced
1/2 cup sliced Greek olives (pits removed)
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
Sea salt to taste
Coarsely groundblackpepper to taste
1/2 cup fresh mint (leaves only), chiffonade sliced or chopped
1/3 to 1/2 cup feta cheese crumbles or cubed
Anchovies for topping (optional)
In a medium saucepan add fresh water and potatoes, bring to a boil, cook until potatoes are soft but firm, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and drain; gently pour potatoes into a large bowl. Add the peppers, onion,jalapeño,capers and Greek olives to the potatoes, set aside. In a small bowl whisk together oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Taste the dressing and adjust seasonings. Pour over the potato mixture and gently fold together all ingredients. Place in fridge to chill until time to serve. Remove from fridge, top with feta cheese, anchovies, a bit more oil, and a splash of lemon juice.