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TTs is thriving in new Liberty Lake space thanks to Top Chef alum Chad White

Chef Chad White loads meat into a smoker at TT’s Old Iron Brewery in Spokane Valley in June 2019. White has opened another barbecue spot in Liberty Lake.  (Libby Kamrowski/ THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)

”To achieve great things, two things are needed: a plan, and not quite enough time.” -Leonard Bernstein

Chad White can relate to the late acclaimed composer. The innovative restaurateur, who has changed the face of Spokane’s culinary scene since opening the acclaimed Zona Blanca Ceviche Bar in 2016, is always armed with a strategy. Time, which is as precious a commodity as the special rubs, which coat his variety of protein at TT’s Brewery & Barbecue, happens to be in short supply.

“I’m constantly saying to my partner (Travis Thosath), ‘I wish I could get 12 more hours of this day,’ ” White said. “There is never enough time.”

White, 40, is constantly on the move, which is hardly surprising. The Spokane Valley native is spread thin. Zona Blanca, is in downtown Spokane.

And then there is the original TT’s Brewery & Barbecue in Spokane Valley, which opened its doors in 2019. Most recently, a second TT’s has opened in Liberty Lake.

How White, the married father of three children, including a 5-month-old son, keeps it together is difficult to fathom.

“Staffing is impossible today,” White said. “I can’t tell you how many times we’ve had new hires come in and after a week say, ‘I’m going to need to reduce the amount of hours I’m working.’ I’ve always worked my butt off in order to try to make everything work.”

The “Top Chef” alum somehow keeps it going. At TT’s in Liberty Lake, which opened on Halloween. White and Thosath deliver craft barbecue. Prior to the opening of the original location, there was nothing like the meats served up by TT’s in Spokane.

TT’s barbecue pit master Scott Randall prepares all of the meat with live-fire cooking courtesy of two different types of wood: local apple and orchard wood and post oak. The lumber is from Texas and Oregon.

The primal cuts of chicken, pork butt, brisket, sausage and pork spareribs are never reheated. White donates what’s left over daily to Feed Spokane.

The smoked meats are coated by White’s special rubs: Hot Bird, Flavor Hog and Brisket Bomb. Hot Bird, which has some heat, is coated with brown sugar, paprika and molasses. Brisket Bomb’s concoction is coffee, salt and pepper. Flavor Hog is a combination of salty and sweet.

“It’s great to have the opportunity to create a spice blend,” White said. “The rubs are going over well.”

The saucy ribs, which are basted with black berry and chipotle and tossed into a deep fryer that makes them crispy, are a favorite. They get so messy that a side of gloves is part of the package.

“They’re fun to eat,” White said. “The gloves are necessary.”

And then there are handheld barbacoa burritos, racks of ribs and homemade chorizo.

The grub is washed down by home made brews.

“All of the beers are brewed on-site,” White said. “We have a great brewer, Tanner McKinlay, who came from Lumberbeard (Brewing). He does amazing work.”

A dozen beers, ciders, Old Fashioneds and margaritas are on tap. An array of hard liquor, such as gin, whiskey and vodka, is available as well.

The Central Valley alum, class of 2001, is excited about being based in Liberty Lake.

“Liberty Lake is growing and it’s such a great community,” White said. “It’s a cool spot. Housing is heading east of Spokane, which is bringing people here.

“I like what Greenstone is doing here in terms of development. More people are moving here and they need a place to eat, and we’re going to do our best to serve everyone that stops in.”