David came home from running errands last Friday morning and was smiling from ear-to-ear. This is highly unusual, so I had to look at him twice and finally asked, “What are you so happy about?”
“There’s a BBQ truck at the corner and I stopped and had a pulled pork slider. It was $2 and it was fantastic!” he exclaimed.
On Monday he came home again with that same grin on his face. I knew what it was this time, so I asked, “What did you have at the BBQ truck?”
“Ummm,” he said, “I just stopped in to see if he wanted to come to the farmers market on Saturdays and sell BBQ and he thought he might be interested. And he gave me a rib to try. It was really good. The best part is that the chef said ‘it still needs work.’ And you know how I love that.”
So it’s Tuesday and I have to give this place a whirl that’s got David so happy. It’s just down the road from the house at the corner of Nacogdoches and 410. Yes, there’s still loads of construction going on, but all the better for business, right? Have you ever met a construction worker who doesn’t like a little BBQ for lunch?
Considering the explosion of food trucks across the country, I did not set my sights high on this food truck as “it’s just San Antonio,” and we’re 10 years behind the times. At minimum. But this is what we pulled up to.
Wow. My excitement grew as I saw the tables and chairs in front of the truck. The flowers. The ingenuity and creativity. I was impressed already. And I knew my taste buds would be pleased, too, as David is not one to throw compliments unless extremely deserving.
There they were, the cute couple David told me about, Chris and Kate.
They immediately recognized David and said, “He’s back!” It’s their fifth day in business and David’s already a “regular.” I got a good laugh out of this but, it is to be expected when there is good BBQ involved!
We arrived at 1:30 pm and I was sad to learn they were sold-out of ribs and sausage as well as chicken and they only had one serving of cole slaw left, which I immediately nabbed.
I ordered the pulled pork plate with cole slaw and corn and David had the brisket with corn and baked beans.
We both thought everything was super tasty and we were quite impressed with the uniqueness of this food, as this is not your regular BBQ. It doesn’t seem to be loaded with salt or excessive seasoning. The meat and smoke speak for themselves. And the four sides are simple, but with an interesting twist.
For example, the corn is not creamed but has a slightly Mexican slant. The flavor comes from the paprika and cayenne and the cilantro helps to round out the spiciness. The cole slaw does not have mayo. In fact, Chris, the chef and owner, does not like mayo, though Kate does. The end result is a feta vinaigrette cole slaw. It provides a great balance to the BBQ.
The potato salad, which we have not yet tried, but will tomorrow, does not have mayo either. They use bacon, tarragon and chives to dress up the potatoes. And the baked beans are pretty traditional in style.
The Smoke Shack is the creation of Chris Conger and his wife, Kate. They are adorable and really seem to be having a great time. The first day of operations was last Wednesday and they already are developing their “regulars.” We ate with several others who were discovering this for the very first time and as we were leaving a woman drove up in her mini-van with three kids to find out they were sold-out of everything. She came last week and proclaimed she “loved it!”
Chris comes from a hospitality and catering background and has worked “every job you can imagine in a hotel.” He likes the hospitality industry, but wanted to branch out on his own and see what he could do. So, six months ago, he and Kate moved from Dallas to San Antonio to start a catering company. Once they got here, they saw an opportunity to start a BBQ food truck. Chris cooks and Kate is in charge of aesthetics. Yin and yang. They are a great team.
Together, they dressed the truck up and created the menu which features a few of the classic dishes “I learned to make when I went to Ole Miss along with some other things I just do really well,” Chris said.
So you can imagine that the pulled pork is pretty spectacular. As are the sauces. Chris makes two sauces, one using whole grain mustard and the other a traditional tomato and molasses sauce. Put them both on the meat for an unbelievable combination.
The Smoke Shack sits on the southwest corner of Nacogdoches and 410 every Monday through Friday from 11 am until the food runs out. You can reach them at 214-709-6199 or 210-829-8448. Check out their website at http://www.smokeshacksa.com/ for more information.
The view might not be pristine, but I think that’s half the fun. Where else can you eat fabulous BBQ on the side of the highway? Only in San Anto.
Since we missed out on the ribs today, we’re going back tomorrow for Round II, so stay tuned. But I think we’ve seen enough and eaten enough to highly recommend this unique culinary adventure. Perhaps we’ll even see you there next time we stop by.