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Morrow gets a taste of Texas

By Maria Jose Subiria

msubiria@news-daily.com

A Texas smokehouse, barbecue restaurant is preparing to introduce its "big Texas taste" to Morrow.

Later this week, San Antonio native, Tracy Anderson, and his wife, Crystal, will open their new restaurant, Rangler's Smokehouse Bar-B-Que, at 6239 Maddox Road.

The grand opening celebration is planned for April 24 and 25, from 11 a.m., to 8 p.m. The eatery's menu includes smoked spareribs, brisket, pork tenderloins, chicken, chopped pork and sausage.

"I've lived in Clayton County for four years, in Morrow," said Tracy Anderson. "There's nothing in the area such as this. And what I found here is, I want to offer something different and something very delicious."

Anderson said he slow-smokes his meats for six to 12 hours, with mesquite to enhance the flavor. He said his wife came up with the name for their restaurant. "When doing research, she noticed that cowboys would lasso a pig and wrangle it to the ground," said Anderson. "A great deal of work goes into a cowboy wrangling a pig. She thought this would be appropriate

... similar to the great deal of work that goes into carefully slow-smoking spareribs."

Anderson obviously understands the process of slow-smoking, and said he has ventured halfway across the country to find ingredients that will produce an authentic Texas taste. "We've gone to Texas to get the wood, and people that have eaten it [his barbecue] prefer it without barbecue sauce, because of the flavor," he said.

He said the restaurent's meats are bought fresh, and marinated overnight in a special smokehouse sauce. "The smoker is fired up around 4 a.m., in the morning. It slow-smokes the meat ... using Texas Mesquite wood," said Anderson. "We don't use propane gas or electricity."

For Anderson, owning a restaurant has been a dream of his since his arrival in Atlanta in 1993. He moved closer to making that dream a reality, in 2006, when he came across the right building and community to start his business.

The facility he chose housed a "wingery" called Zing Wings. While the Andersons have been remodeling their restaurant, prospective customers have asked about the grand opening.

"We're getting good response from people asking us when we're going to open," he said. "It has been overwhelming."

On the more personal side, in additon to being a smokemaster, Anderson is an ordained minister, who works as an assistant pastor at the New Unity Missionary Baptist Church in Atlanta. "I will be graduating from Clayton County's Atlanta Bible College in May 2009," he said. "I will receive a degree in theology."

He said he acquired his culinary talent for smoking meat with his grandfather's and father's guidance, at the age of 11. He also credits his grandmother, who recently passed away, because she instilled in him the necessity of taking pride in his cooking.

According to Anderson, smokehouse cooking is a long family tradtion that began on his mother's side of the family, in Gena, La. His great-great uncle, he said, owned a farm with two smokehouses. The meat was slowly smoked for 24 hours at the farm, for better taste.

What helped him hone his own cooking skills, he said, was a stint working at Bob's Smoke House in San Antonio as a cook. There, he smoked brisket and chicken, and made sausage from scratch.

"I learned how to prepare food, not only [that was] tasteful, but enjoyable for customers," he said. "Put a lot of love in it, just like taking care of a baby."

Andrson said that before he acquired his business, he worked in the Purchasing Department at Mary Mac's Tea Room in midtown Atlanta, and later moved on to work for Caterpillar in Fairburn, as an inventory specialist in the Logistics Department.

"I was seeking more advancement, a different type of job," he said. But now, he said, his hope is to bring different people and cultures in the community together through his smokehouse barbecue.