Our weekly bite explores the city's food trucks, one at a time, highlighting our favorite mobile dishes and snacks.
The Truck: Smokin' Warehouse Barbecue
The Cuisine: Barbecue
Specialty Items: Brisket and pulled pork
Worth the Wait in Line? At peak lunch time, a total 7 minutes from the end of the line to food in hand.
I'm usually of the faith that less is more when it comes to food and drinks. Unless you're creating a sauce or tiki cocktail, shaving off a few ingredients usually yields better, less muddied results when constructing a recipe.
You'll find that kind of restraint in some food truck dishes, but it is balanced by those whose merit comes from the novelty of excess, usually by combining two completely different dishes. While this sometimes produces little more than heartburn, occasionally a dish comes along that frankly has no right to fly but does, like some kind of culinary bumblebee. Consider the Mac 'n Cheese with Pulled Pork ($7.50) from Smokin' Warehouse Barbecue a perfect example.
It made my stomach shudder for a second: A large container filled with macaroni pasta, dressed with what looked like nacho cheese, flecked with bits of jalapeño peppers, all crowed with a saucy red wig of shredded pork. I had expected to be done and pushing away the plate after a few bites from overwhelming richness, but to my surprise the whole worked really well. The cheese sauce was thin enough that it didn't contribute an excessive amount of butterfat, but rich enough that it was good on its own. The pulled pork was flavorful without being greasy, lightly smoky, tender, and dressed in a sauce that was sweet and vinegary enough to accent the whole.
The Beef Brisket Slider ($4.50) was also notable, with meat that was so tender and juicy that the heroic bun could do little to contain the generous mound of beef. If I had any qualm, it's that it seemed more braised than smoked, with no discernable smoke tinged crust. That nitpicking aside, the slider is a substantial snack worth grabbing to get a taste of the truck's brisket.
Most importantly, the food exuded a sense of hominess that I found comforting. The truck is staying true to its humble origins. Bill Lee started cooking from a corner kitchen in his electrical warehouse in the Bayview to feed family and friends, eventually moving on to cater nonprofit fundraisers, finally opening up a walk-up window in the fall of 2010.
While the food from Smokin' Warehouse can sometimes reach for the exotic, it never veers too far from home.