For us to help, we need help.

From Hurricane Beryl to fires in Ruidoso, and every crisis in between, Southern Smoke Foundation is there for food and beverage workers. We keep families safe in their homes. We keep the lights on for thousands. We keep the industry moving.

But for us to grant emergency relief funds to our applicants, we need funding, too.

Help us help someone today.

Small Icon Times Hover Small Icon Times
Leonard
Chef Image
Botello IV
Houston, TX /
Truth BBQ
WHERE WILL I BE COOKING:

A first-generation pitmaster, Leonard Botello IV is the owner behind critically acclaimed TRUTH BBQ. Botello opened the original TRUTH BBQ Brenham in a small shack off a rural highway that runs between Austin and Houston in the summer of 2015, and in January of 2019, he opened his second location, TRUTH BBQ Houston, in the historic neighborhood Houston Heights. At both locations, you can find Botello pushing the boundaries of traditional barbeque with dishes like Carolina Style Whole Hog, Boudin Smoked Sausage, and Pastrami Brisket. In 2023, Botello took ownership of RoundTop Smokehouse, a staple in the antique-driven RoundTop, TX community, making it his mission to carry on his late friend Lee Merritt Ellis’ legacy through the newly renamed Merritt Meat Company.

A veteran in the art of live fire cooking, Botello is known for his authentic Central Texas-style barbeque and his relentless attention to detail and unwavering commitment to the perfect cook. Botello puts his own twist on traditional recipes, creating dishes that are seemingly simple but unexpectedly layered and exciting to guests.

Alongside being a seasoned pitmaster, Botello sports a love for teaching, and combines the two by regularly hosting barbecue education classes at his Houston TRUTH BBQ location. He believes a large part of his job is to honor the legacy and history of traditional barbecue, while pushing the industry forward with a younger class of barbecue cooks.

When not manning the pit room and line at TRUTH BBQ, Botello is often found competing with his fellow pitmasters on who can perfect the “fourth slice” of a brisket at industry festivals and events. He is married to his fellow entrepreneur wife, Abbie-Byrom-Botello and together they focus on giving back to the Houston community through their endeavors with local organizations The Beacon, Sky High for Kids and Southern Smoke Foundation.

Generously supported by Dan’s Processing Center, Inc.