Thursday, April 2, 2009


At J-BAR-H we do all kinds of
 parties: weddings, family reunions, anniversaries, 
church festivals, birthdays, etc. 
But there is something about a company picnic that really feels good and fits our company values. It is plain and simply a give-back, and we really relate to that.

Granted, weddings are big, beautiful, fun affairs with all sorts of emotions and reunions. We love weddings. But a company picnic doesn’t have to happen. Especially in this economy. There are tons of companies out there that never have one and it doesn’t impact their bottom line one bit.

But those that do are telling their employees that they matter and are worth spending the money on to just hang out for a few hours in the park. A gift of sorts, and it is capital well invested.

Companies that have picnics are interested in spending time with their employees and meeting their families. They usually schedule activities and programs that bring people together in ways that are impossible through the rigid framework of the business environment. Employees get to see the softer side of management and the bosses
 learn that they have world-series quality softball players working right under their noses. Who knew that James in accounting could juggle and that Mr. Corner office melted when he picked up a baby?

We love company picnics which is why we do so many of them. We offer not only excellent
 catering but games, attractions and entertainment.   We want the event to be about the people of that company and to show the attendees that the event planners and their bosses really wanted this to be special. To that end we bring the grills and cook food up right there, adding that grilled hamburger or fajita smell to the event.In today's economy company picnics are even more valuable than ever. While they might not have the funds for the annual European River Barge Tour, companies can put together a party and bring out the hamburgers and fries. People need reassurance and what better way to do that than in a picnic setting? What better way to
 tell them that you are here for them than sitting at a park bench in front of their spouse.
Company picnics bring companies together as a family and J-BAR-H is proud to be a part of this. It is our privilege to cook for organizations that value and honor their employees, and nothing makes us prouder or happier than to see their smiles as they eat our food and play our games.

Saturday, February 28, 2009


Not everyone knows, but J-BAR-H got it's start with a hotdog job for 2500 6 years ago. Since then we have literally cooked and served tens of thousands of hotdogs to happy customers. While we are known for our Backyard BBQ's, Fundraisers, Church Catering, Corporate Catering and Picnics, we do hotdogs better than anyone else. Why? Because we care. We think that hot dogs can be good, and served with style and flair.

Just because our client is having a casual affair, doesn't mean that we can step back from our values. J-BAR-H is very intentional about every single thing we do. From the way we cut our pickles for our BBQ's, to the lettuce we use for our salads to the way we cook a hot dog; no detail is to small to be important. While we are known for affordable catering, we have never had a job where someone didn't come up and say that was the best fajita, brisket, steak, hotdog or turkey sandwich that they ever had. That doesn't happen on accident.

Today we had a chance to cook hotdogs for David Weekly Homes and their awesome customers. They were showing their appreciation to their current owners and future prospects. What better way than a picnic? J-BAR-H only uses all beef dogs and grills them onsite, adding atmosphere and freshness. We brought out our special chili and everyone had a good time. Adding to the fun was the Big Tex Jumpy thing that the kids really enjoyed.

Kind of got me thinking that the hotdog seems to be the poster child (culinarily speaking) for the current economic situation. While J-BAR-H is not participating in the recession, we can still bring food and fun for our customers at any price point for any situation. With families and companies cutting back in all areas, sometimes it is important to stop and enjoy fellowship with those around us. Don't let the newspaper get you down. No situation is too bad that you can't stop and share a hotdog, and a smile...


Is J-BAR-H Green? In a word, yes. In two words, not really. I mean we do some really green things, but I just can't wear the robes and drink the kool-aid. Being a caterer we are being asked more and more by our corporate catering clients, churches, picnic clients and even our BBQ clients to have "green" options and recycling onsite.

We do some things that NOBODY else is doing, especially in our respective genres. J-BAR-H grows our own herbs and composts all of the green waste from our kitchen; then uses the compost to feed the herbs. We use compostable paper goods and recyclable disposables on our jobs where reusable items are not practical. We can schedule rental of china, crystal and silverware to reduce waste. As a third option we can offer disposables made from green sources such as cornstarch and other earth-friendly substances. We also offer alternatives to the venerable "box-lunch" when circumstances don't require individual packaging. We use the boxes our goods come to us in to send our products out to our clients. We practice "reduce, reuse and recycle" wherever possible and look for ways to save energy where practical. We serve dishes "family style" unless requested otherwise. We buy local and Texas produced goods as a matter of principle when possible. When available and practical, we donate extra food to local area charities and food pantries. The fact is that we subscribe to the tenets of running a green business in a practical manner, just not a religious one. If GREEN is your thing, we can work with you or your event planner to help meet your goals in a reasonable manner.
So, coming out of a great conference in Las Vegas we have dedicated ourselves to the following initiatives: 1) We will use reused and reusable materials in our delivery system wherever possible. 2) We will offer recycling receptacles at all of our events 3) We will source earth friendly products for all of our disposables that fit not only our mission but actually SAVE our clients and our company money. 4) We will go to a front-to-back online ordering system that will make 90% of our paperwork dissappear immediately, saving paper and fuel consumption in the process. 5) We will seek to reduce our packaging and work with our customers on reducing their reliance on us to bring disposable servingware.
Does this make us "green"? I don't know, but it seems that if we can tighten up our processes and reduce our waste that it would at least make us more responsible than others who don't even try. I think in the end that it is about just doing right things right. This seems right.

Sunday, February 15, 2009


J-BAR-H has the best clients. Very easy statement to make and it couldn't be more true. Given that we started this company among friends, we are blessed to have grown with clients that love us and that we love back. We offer corporate catering, church catering, Non-Profits and Fundraisers as well as Backyard BBQ's and Steakhouse Menus. All of our Hostesses, meeting planners, PTO's and Pharmaceutical reps are special to us and are considered friends.

Every now and then you get a client that grows you and helps you to become a better caterer. I have one of those, and the story of how we came together is pretty hilarious. Long story short, we were hired to do an event for a group associated with a political party. The person referring me knew that I was a member of the other political party but knew they would love our food, I just had to keep things on the down-low. So we do the party in political icognito and come to find that the other side looks and acts just like normal people. The hostess was a gracious Southern Lady with whom I immediately hit it off, and the rest is history. She has used us 6 times since then and is really just one of my favorite people.

We had a chance to cater her Valentine's Day party and really enjoyed cooking for her and her very interesting group of friends. Menu was Steak and Lobster from Anderson Brothers, grilled asparagus and a few sides that the guests provided. Absolutely perfect and fun. The pictures here are from this party.

J-BAR-H loves our clients, and is thankful that we get a chance to make people happy doing what we love and are good at.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Barbecue & Longhorns

Don't know if I have talked about it before, but J-BAR-H has a special relationship with Diana Tatum of I can't even remember how we met now, but I have to say that her passion for longhorns rivals my own passion for feeding people. We hit it off so well, that Diana also represents J-BAR-H Texas Catering to the Houston marketplace.
Our relationship is a complementary one, if not confusing for the longhorns. My pit-trailer has a bumper sticker that says "This is where the food chain ends" and I am getting one made for hers that says, "Save a longhorn, eat a vegetarian." So while the longhorns feel completely safe around me, they always have it in the back of their heads that one wrong move on their part and they move from her trailer, to mine...
So is that a conflict? We ARE a caterer specializing in Texas BBQ. And everyone knows that Texas barbecue is brisket, and, well, brisket comes from animals that look strangely similar to my partner's show cows. I prefer to think we are the before and after. You can ride and have your picture taken with Gateway, Hotshot or Haywire, and then walk over and enjoy one of their exquisitely prepared cousins.
Why is barbecue so popular and why do we do it? Barbecue is popular because it has cultural significance. It is Texas comfort food and it is well defined. You don't get a lot of points for going off the ranch and getting creative. A good brisket is a definable commodity. Look for a nice, flavorful bark on the outside, a beautiful smoke ring on the inside, and a fork-tender texture with just the right amount of smoke flavor. Takes about a weekend to learn how to do it, and a lifetime to master it.
Why do we do it? Frankly, because we are so damn good at it!
I enjoy barbecue also because it doesn't just describe the food we eat, but how we cook it and the event we enjoy it at. Friends and family coming together to celebrate a wedding, companies showing how much they appreciate their employees and churches inspiring fellowship among their congregations. Everyone has a good time at a barbecue and J-BAR-H Texas Catering is honored to be the vendor of choice in our area.
So I guess whether or not you like your barbecue on the hoof, or on the plate, we have got you covered. (Haywire is my favorite...)

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

We Feed People, a Catering Epiphany

I love January. In Texas it is pretty much all we get as far as winter is concerned. Just enough to say we did it and long enough to be glad it is over with. January is also low season in the catering business. It is the month where J-BAR-H books 30% of our business and cooks 5% of it. So needless to say we have a lot of time on our hands to think about the year ahead. We will feed about 40,000 people this year through company picnics, weddings, corporate catering, church events and private parties. We spend this time of year coming up with better ways to add value and meaning to that one point in time where those 40,000 people's lives and ours come in contact.

So I am sitting here in my shorts shivering at the brutal 50 degree Texas winter days and thinking what is it that we do here at J-BAR-H? I mean really. It got my inner existentialist thinking and wondering at the meaning of it all. We are a catering company. We are an event planner. We help brides realize their dream weddings, but what does it all mean? At the end of the day what have we done? And then it hit me...we feed people. Pretty simple statement and clearly a matter of fact, but it is more than that for us...I mean, certainly we feed people, we are a caterer for crying out loud. But what we do is more than just bring food to an event, we nourish peoples bodies and provide a catalyst for fellowship. And as a company we have committed to feeding those who can't get a good meal on their own through missionary organizations and ministries which feed not only the bodies of the people, but their spirits. And further, we develop our people in their professional skillsets as well as their personal growth. So when it hit me that the essence of what we do is feeding people it was quite an epiphany...

For those of you who know don't know how this company came into existence, it was through church ministry. We were asked to join a project 6 years ago for a church and as they say...the rest is history. At every single turn we have been able to see God's hand in what we do. From our fantastic growth to the limitations placed in front of us, we believe our company has a purpose beyond building shareholder value...we build value into every person our company touches.
I am humbled to be able to make a living doing what I love, and to take that very same thing and make people happy. I love seeing people eating food they love and J-BAR-H loves making it and serving it to them. Even though we are faceless in 90% of the events that we do, we see the smiles and take everyone of them home with us.
Do you do what you love? If it is possible, I encourage you to start over and work from your purpose. My purpose is feeding people. What's yours?

Saturday, January 17, 2009


I think it is a reasonable statement to make that Texas is known for brisket. Brisket IS Texas barbecue and no one does it like Texans, right? Right. (As a shameless plug, it is a natural extension to say that no one does Texas Brisket like J-BAR-H Texas Catering, and certainly none better.)

BUT, and this is a HUGE but, don't make the mistake of saying that Texans make THE BEST brisket, especially if there is a Jew within earshot! I made this assertion on a national catering forum and let me tell you...the retribution was swift, harsh and unrelenting. I was dog-piled by a number of good natured people informing me that the Jews were making brisket thousands of years before Texans even learned to speak English. GENERATIONS of people were thrown at me to make this point, and like the true cowboy I am, I stuck to my guns...for a time. But like the great cowboy poet once said, you've got to know when to hold 'em and know when to fold 'em.

So, this week, out of respect for the East Coast Mavens, I will be experimenting with Jewish Brisket. If for no other reason than to make an informed decision. Regardless of the outcome, the results will not be posted here NOR will they ever be discussed outside of private conversations with my castigators. (Where is Kinky Freidman when I need him?) I do have my pride, even if it is a tattered remnant of what it once was, I wear it like a sarape, a banner of past battles won and lost, slung across my shoulders as I ride into the Texas sunset...

Friday, January 16, 2009


A friend of mine is a "man food" maestro. He is king of wings, a topper in poppers and the chief of beef. Where we really cross passions is in bacon. He sends me items he finds from lurking on, who knows how many, blogs and websites. So a few weeks ago he sends me this recipe, can't even remember the name now, but it was breakfast sausage filled with chopped bacon and cheese and wrapped in, you guessed it, Bacon. My arteries were seizing as I read the recipe, but I couldn't stop reading mostly because of one phrase: "take the bacon weave and carefully wrap it around the sausage roll up..." Bacon Weave????? A new phrase immediately entered my lexicon and I went to applying this manly textile in as many places as I could. Mike had previously sent me a recipe for the "Alien Probe" which was sausage wrapped around an Anaheim pepper stuffed with cheese and smoked for a couple of hours. Meat perfection it was...until we wrapped it in the best fabric of all... the bacon weave. What was manly and awesome became somehow more manly and awesomer with the simple addition of the weave. J-BAR-H Catering fed the men of the Frank Danna Man Bash last weekend and amid the sliced sirloin sandwiches, smoked & grilled bologna sandwiches, jalapeno poppers and buffalo wings, the Bacon Weave Wrapped Alien Probe stood head and shoulders above the rest...

So why is that? Why is bacon such a manly food? And why did I go through 10 pounds of bacon in barbeculinary research? I think like so many other things guys do...bacon is bad for us. Isn't that where our most fun comes from? Jumping out of perfectly good airplanes, running with the bulls (ask Diana about THAT one!) eating 6 pound, hamburgers and entering food eating contests. If it can kill us, then it is fun. The faster it can kill us the more we will pay to do it.

So with that in mind I tried to take the bacon weave to new heights. Where could we go with this? I decided that I also wanted to mess with a personal sized bacon weave and had a lot of fun with it. When you cut the strips in half long ways and then width wise they become the perfect size for a one up and when draped over an upside down muffin pan become little bowls of goodness. First thing that came to mind was spinach salad in a bacon bowl, then I moved to spring salad, then of course flattened out it became a perfect woven topping for breakfast.
There just really was no end to what a man can do with's everything that manly food should be.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

We are rolling out our Weddings Made Easy program today and are really looking forward to showing Houston that weddings can be affordable AND still leave a great impression on their guests. This fits nicely with our unwillingness to participate in the recession and passing that sentiment on to our clients! Given that we ONLY do buffet catering, we are already ahead of the competition on price.
We have also developed some decor packages that they can use, even if they don't have us do our full buffets. They are called Wedding In A Box and come complete with table linens, chair covers, centerpieces and other decor items. This, coupled with our great catering prices, will really help the budget-conscious bride push her costs way down.
I know there is a lot of money to be made in weddings, and we are definitely not afraid to ask for our fair share, but I think there is also alot of money that can be saved, with some minor adjustments in expectations. If budget is an issue, and I know it is not in many cases, then is it absolutely necessary to have sit down service? Each server is going to cost upwards of $150 and most weddings end up needing 8 or more plus chef time and dish rental. Are ice sculptures even relevant any more? They are cool and get noticed, but how many weddings have you gone to where they didn't have one? Do we do them because we have to, or are expected to, or because we just love perishable artwork cliches? How about full bars? Thousands can go down the drain in a few hours and then someone has to deal with the drunks. Better to set a few bottles of wine on the tables and some beer on ice and when it runs out, it runs out. This saves not only on booze, but on labor and liability as well. There are many ways to save money on weddings while still producing an affair to remember, we just need to identify the trade-offs and who to make it pop without the missing elements.
In todays sensibilities, I think a nice, reserved wedding, with great quality food is going to be appreciated not only by the guests, but the brides and whoever is footing the bills. We look forward to helping our customers make fabulous memories!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Antipasto Platter

We made these antipasto platters for a casual New Years Eve party.

New Year New Ways

So we are getting this year started out in defiance of the economy. We have chosen not to take part in the economic downturn of 2008-2009 and are looking forward to a prosperous year.

J-BAR-H Texas Foods, LLC and Texas Longhorn For Hire have teamed up to create unique wedding packages as well as combine our marketing efforts. (Mostly Diana's marketing efforts!)

Our new "Planner Points" programs will reward our regular customers with free J-BAR-H products and food while we save their companies money.

We will also be bringing in new online ordering capabilities that will allow our planners a much easier to use interface. Be looking for that to come online at some point 1st quarter.

We wish everyone a happy and prosperous 2009. Remember, you can choose not to participate in the recession!!!