Ever since food trucks came (back?) into vogue sometime last year, I’ve had a hankering to try them out. These days I feel a lot safer eating out of the side of some stranger’s automobile, what with the crazy backlash there would be if someone got horribly sick from a truck’s food. With them being so prevalent and banding together into coalitions, I’d like to think they also all try to keep each other honest.
Or maybe I’m fooling myself, and just really wanted to try some truck food. And then blog about it. >.>
Regardless, last month I finally got the opportunity! A coworker and I drove past Atlanta’s Food Truck Park & Market taking an accidentally circuitous route home after a lunch in the city, and he mentioned offhand “I’d like to go there sometime.” Immediately we set up a lunch day for the following Friday. Boom. Magic.
We got to the Truck Park around 11:45, and I took the time to wander about looking at the trucks (they change up every day) and their menus. There were a lot of really tasty-looking options, but the server standing outside the “Rouxd” truck talked me into his. Also, he looked sort of lonely and it made me sad.
When I asked him what his favorite menu item was he immediately said, “the Fried Pork Belly Po’boy.” The menu described it as a po’boy with fried pork belly (duh) and a kind of pickled vegetable slaw. Not one to be scared of odd or interesting food I ordered it immediately, along with a side of cajun fries. I love cajun-spiced fries. They are so good.
So I waited in front of the Rouxd Food Krewe (“rouxd” as in “rude”. You know what a roux is, right?) truck for my order to come up. While I was waiting the man taking orders offered me a free sample of their rock crab gazpacho (I believe). For the record, very tasty! Though not my preference between that and a down-home po’boy.
The sandwich, as you can (maybe) see, was huge! It was also already cut in half, something for which I was grateful, but it was still tough to fit the whole thing into even my gaping maw. Taxing as it was, I made the po’boy work for me.
Overall I found the sandwich very tasty. I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about the pile of pickled vegetables, but their assaulting tartness blended well with the bread and fried pork belly. A note on the bread – it was perfectly done. Have you ever bought a sandwich that’s already difficult to eat, and then you find that the bread is just tough enough to turn your planned delicate bite into a wrestling match, inevitably ending with sandwich innards all over the place? Rouxd successfully made this a non-issue with bread that’s soft and tasty, but still sturdy enough to hold up to the massive amounts of insides the po’boy had to offer. It was something small, but very important to my enjoyment of the sandwich.
But I stipulated that I liked the po’boy “overall” because while the flavors blended well and the bread held them together well, there was still an unfortunate stratification of flavors. You can see from the above picture that there’s clearly a “meat-only” bottom half and “veggie-only” top half of the poboy. While I understand that this holds true for almost every other sandwich in existence, the sheer size of the po’boy meant that the first few bites of it were strictly meat-only or veggie-only; it wasn’t until I came to the end (or “butt” as some [Dad] say) where it was at a manageable enough size to where I could get a mouthful of both pork and pickled vegetables at the same time.
Also while I loved the spices on the cajun fries, they were unfortunately under-done. For $3 I would’ve hoped for them to be perfect.
Definitely worth eating here if you like cajun food; I thought the po’boy was delicious, despite it being a little difficult to eat. I like the inventive flavors and they offered many more options beyond po’boys. I’d skip the fries and just stick to a single meal item though; it’s definitely filling enough and $3 for under-done fries, no matter how tasty the spices, isn’t worth it.
It’s another week of the Holiday Recipe Exchange from My Baking Addiction and Good Life Eats. Next week’s exchange theme is Crock Pot recipes sponsored by West Bend, and while this post is a little early I figured it’d be okay…any crock pot food is good crock pot food, right?
Back in the day my mother used to make amazing boneless crock pot BBQ ribs. In her fabulous 70s-style burnt orange crock pot she made delicious ribs with nothing but meat, store-bought BBQ sauce, and onions. It was a joy to behold. I’ve been hankering for those ribs for years…and this week was their time! I invited some friends over and started with the cooking.
Unlike my mother’s BBQ, I opted not to cook the ribs with the sauce, but rather to drizzle it over top after cooking the ribs all by their lonesome (I believe this is called “Carolina style”?). This may have been a stylistic choice, or it may have been because I fell asleep on my couch instead of making the sauce the night before. But who’s counting?
In order to make this a little more interesting than “put ribs in crock pot, pour store-bought BBQ sauce over top” I went for the new challenge of making my own sauce. I’ve never done this before, so I did a little bit of research to figure out what they’re typically composed of and what other sauces use as ingredients. In the end I decided to go for something sweet and a little smokey, and too my delight it turned out wonderfully!
Basically, BBQ sauce is composed of a typically-tomato base, and then a mixture of acids and spices. Because I was going sweet for this recipe I decided to use a cider vinegar for my acidity and then mix in brown sugar as well. The flavors blended nicely. I also actually added a dried chipotle pepper into the mix hoping that it’d add a nice subtle smokey flavor to the whole thing, but if it added any flavor it was pretty well overwhelmed by everything else. Perhaps for a future experiment.
The pork itself I didn’t neglect either. Before dumping them into the crock pot for a nice slow cookin’, they all got rubbed/sprinkled with salt, black pepper, Hungarian paprika, and a drizzle of olive oil. The meat by itself was delicious. I’ve found it’s almost impossible to find ribs without bones these days so we (my party and I) had to do a little picking as we ate, but in my opinion it was worth it. Hopefully in theirs as well.
Oh, and for any health-conscious people out there reading this, fear not! We ate roasted green beans with our meal which were equally delicious (in fact, I wish I’d made more!). If you like vegetarian recipes I highly recommend the Moosewood Cookbook, a book full of vegetarian meals, sides, dips, and sauces. The recipe I used had me lightly covering the beans in balsamic vinegar before serving…and wow that was a super combination I’d never have thought up on my own. Here here!
Anyway, if you like a sweet, slightly tangy BBQ sauce, I recommend this stuff. I only drizzled it over top of the meat, but I bet it’d taste great cooked with the meat as well. Have at it!
Thanks to Emily for taking the BBQ photos!
Makes ~ 2 1/2 cups of sauce.
1. Mix all ingredients into a saucepan.
2. Heat on medium-low heat for 30-45 minutes. Make sure the brown sugar melts. Be careful of bubbling/splashing!
3. CONSUME (preferably with meat)!