Rumors had been filtering in for nearly two months of a red van parked inside a roofless garage just off Quincy and Bedford in Bed-Stuy, a van that made and vended barbecued meats. I ignored the rumors for a long time, because frankly how could it be that good — I mean Hill Country or Fette Sau good? Well, a friend finally lured me there with the promise that we could buy the barbecue and then eat it in her car. (I hadn’t cottoned much to eating it out in the street in the cold weather.)
I arrived to discover the nose of a red van sticking out of a white cinder block building, which had apparently once been a car-repair garage, because the prices of various automotive procedures were listed on the wall in English and Spanish. Moreover, a good smell was wafting out the door of the van, which was open. Also wafting out was the sound of a guy singing to himself.
The pitmaster wore white. He wiped his hands on his apron as he told a story about coming here from Kansas City ten years ago and dreaming of opening a barbecue.
Indeed, the Kansas City style ribs were quite good, long bones still barely conjoined, blackened and rubbed with barbecue sauce. At $10 for a half rack, they were a steal.
I naturally wanted to try the brisket, which is my favorite barbecued meat. The beef was sliced thick, sported a serious-looking smoke ring and was nicely rimmed with fat. I was amazed at the smokiness of it, but, truth be told, the meat was a litte tougher than I like. Still, that didn’t prevent me from sending several thick slices stomachward.
The dude showed me his smoker, which was a smallish stainless steel cabinet, currently empty. “What do you stoke it with?” I inquired. “Wood chips and propane,” he quickly admitted, with not a trace of shame in his voice. But he quickly added, “I get plenty of smoke that way, believe me.” And I believe he did.
The pitmaster is prone to throw in some meat-dotted barbecued beans when you buy barbecue, and a shifting constellation of sides is available, of which I most recommend the jalapeno cheese grits.
The truck is prone to whisk off to remote Brooklyn locales at a moment’s notice (“This weekend I’m in Dumbo,” he noted.), so it’s wise to call ahead and see what his schedule is. 168 Qunicy Street, Brooklyn, 347-881-6696
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on January 29, 2009