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Wieting's in Yoakum offers advice for home cooks

By Jessica Rodrigo
Nov. 13, 2012 at 5:13 a.m.

John Wieting, owner of Wieting's in Yoakum, whips up a beef shish-kabob for customers during lunch.

Wieting's Catering

•  Address: 614 Irvine St., Yoakum

• Phone: 361-293-6868

John Wieting has seen his fair share of restaurants open and close in nearly 20 years of working in the food business.

In April, when a building became available in Yoakum, he and his wife Shelly finally had an opportunity to open a restaurant of their own.

Continuing the reputation John's parents built in the business, they named the business Wieting's, after the family. But it's not to be confused with the location in Hallettsville, which is owned by his uncle.

Because this is their first year working for themselves during the holiday season, the couple anticipates a busy season. Alongside their normal hours of business, Wieting's is prepared to schedule catering and pick-up orders.

"We've done elegant to barbecue," said John.

Depending on what the customer wants, it may take a day or two for the Wietings to prepare and cook everything on the menu.

After spending so much time working in the restaurant industry as a cook at his parents' restaurant to a consultant on other business ventures, John said he's gotten his work method down to a routine.

"I have been doing this a long time, but I still write things down to make sure I don't forget anything, and keep track of the menu," John said.

He has a few tips for making sure holiday meals go off without a hitch.

Once everything in the kitchen is cooked, then go through and double check the list.

Also, be careful of other people's diets, he said. With all the different allergies out there, gluten, soy, shellfish, etc., it's a good idea to know about them ahead of time.

Knowing how many people you are feeding is probably the biggest feat. Not everyone may eat, or eat as much as anticipated.

"You gotta give and take. Some people will take just a little bit. Then you got a couple of big guys like me who like to eat. We're going to take a little bit more," he chuckled through a wide grin.

For John, one of the most important things he advises, is watch the temperature of the bird.

"Try not to overcook the meat," he said. "That way, it's juicy, and always make sure it's done. If you overcook it, then it gets dry, and you can't seem to put enough gravy on it."

This year, instead of traveling to Houston to visit their families, the Wietings will host Thanksgiving at their home in Yoakum. On the menu, two 18- to 20-pound turkeys, pork loin and the usual lineup of sides, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, dressing and giblet gravy.

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