Foodie Events / Restaurants

Fort Worth Celebrity Chef Tim Love to Hold a Rattlesnake Battle — Get Ready For a Cooking Competition Like No Other

It Will Happen Right In the Heart of Mule Alley

BY // 09.22.23

Fort Worth celebrity chef Tim Love always has a lot of irons in the fire. He runs a slew of restaurants, the majority of those in Fort Worth, and fills Mule Alley with music lovers at his Tannahill’s Music Hall and at his newly christened Fort Worth Music Festival. And that’s just a few of Love’s ventures and interests. Now, one of Fort Worth’s most interesting figures is getting into rattlesnakes. Get ready for The Rattle Battle.

Here’s what’s shakin’ ― literally.

Love is putting together a new kind of cookoff — one featuring some of Fort Worth’s top chefs and everyone’s favorite road kill. Yes, rattlesnake. We hear it tastes like chicken.

The inaugural rattlesnake cookoff dubbed Rattle Battle will take place on Friday, October 6, from 3 pm to 5 pm at the Rattler Days Alley Rally in the Fort Worth Stockyards. Foodies and skeptics alike are invited to bring both their bravery and bellies to witness this epic culinary battle.

What could be more wild West than rattlesnake after all?

“We’re showcasing the extraordinary and often underappreciated ingredient of rattlesnake,” Love tells PaperCity Fort Worth. “And, it’s super expensive right now. More expensive than Kobe beef, which I wasn’t expecting.

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“I can’t wait to see what these talented chefs do with it.”

Love’s rattlesnake battle is part of the new Texas Rattler’s Pre-Event Fan Zone. For those who don’t know, the Texas Rattlers are a Professional Bull Riding Team based in Fort Worth. They compete in some 11 events throughout the year against eight other PBR teams.

Rattler Days will host many events that will take place in both the Stockyards and at Dickies Arena with bull riding events. Singer Stoney La Rue also will take the stage on October 7.

Rattle Battle is part of the two day event known as Rattler Days featuring the PBR team the Texas Rattlers.
Rattle Battle is part of the two day event known as Rattler Days featuring the PBR team the Texas Rattlers.

Tim Love to Crown The Rattlesnake King

As for Tim Love’s rattlesnake cookoff? Twelve of Fort Worth’s top chefs and noted wild game experts will be competing for a grand prize of $2,500 in cash, as well as a prize pack valued at more than $1,000, which includes Ariat Boots, an RTIC Cooler, TX Whiskey and more.

The chefs competing include a who’s who of Fort Worth culinary talent:

― Graham Elliot (Le Margot)

― Blaine Staniford (Grace, 61 Osteria, Little Red Wasp)

― Jon Bonnell (Bonnell’s Fine Texas Cuisine, WATERS, Buffalo Bros Pizza Wings & Subs)

― Rodrigo Cárdenas (Don Artemio Mexican Heritage)

― Juan Rodriguez (Magdalena’s)

― Kemel Rodriguez (Paloma Suerte)

― Taylor McCreary (Lonesome Dove Western Bistro)

― Bert Nichols (Tannahill’s Tavern)

If the last three restaurants and their chefs sound familiar. . . yes, those are all Tim Love restaurants. So is he trying to stack the deck?

“No,” Love assures. “I really wanted to bring together a lot of chefs from the Mule Alley area, along with just some of the best chefs in town. We’re even hosting it between 3 pm and 5 pm to be sure they could get back to their day jobs in time for dinner service.

“I’m a chef, planning this event for chefs.” Love laughs.

Of course, chef Love has famously utilized rattlesnake on his menus at his Lonesome Dove Western Bistro and Woodshed restaurants for many years, serving up rattlesnake sausage, stews and chili.

Tim Love's own rabbit-rattlesnake sausage served at his iconic Lonesome Dove Western Bistro is a memorable dish.
Tim Love’s own rabbit-rattlesnake sausage served at his iconic Lonesome Dove Western Bistro is a memorable dish.

Love tells PaperCity that the rattlesnake showdown will take place in the street, on the bricks of Mule Alley, enclosed by a white picket fence. Pedestrians will still be able to mosey right along on the sidewalks while enjoying the dining and shopping experiences of the district. The Down and Out band will be serenading attendees and passers-by.

The chef contestants will “select the type of cuisine they wish to prepare, provided their chosen dish prominently features rattlesnake as a key ingredient. The menus of these unique dishes will be made available to attendees before the event. During the Rattle Battle, each chef will set up a station within Mule Alley, offering attendees the chance to sample all twelve distinctive rattlesnake creations,” a release notes.

Both a panel of celebrity judges and attendees will get to vote for the new Rattlesnake King.

Attendees will receive a Texas Rattlers token so they can cast their vote for their favorite dish. Those top three fan-voted dishes will then “advance to the celebrity judging round, where a panel of three distinguished culinary experts (to be announced later) will take on the daunting task of determining the undisputed master of rattlesnake cuisine and name the inaugural 2023 Rattle Battle Champion,” the release explains.

“I’m not judging,” Love says. “I’m just creating and hosting the event. The winner will get to keep the trophy in their restaurant for a year before Rattle Battle takes place again.” Yes, plans call for this to become an annual event.

Tickets for the inaugural Rattle Battle, hosted by Chef Tim Love, are on-sale now for $125 and can be purchased here or in Mule Alley on event day.

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