A Lesson in Maryland BBQ Food Safety

I drove by a BBQ truck with a turkey-shaped smoker trailer in a bank parking lot on Sunday selling, I assume, some of this same sort of Maryland BBQ:
The boss takes his long handled fork and spears the meat that the cook has placed on the front of the grill. He whacks it down on the cutting board that has been in use from early morning. He puts disposable gloves on, and chops the chicken into quarters, the ribs into halves and the brisket into slices. He places it all in a foil-lined Styrofoam take-out box. He slathers it with barbecue and hot sauce. He then takes the gloves off, takes your money, puts new gloves on and starts over with the next customer.

In this scenario there was no handwashing, not even a pretense of handwashing. There was no tub of water on the trailer. The nearest meat thermometer is 10 miles away. And that’s how it is when you have a barbecue addiction. You take risks.

As an out-of-towner still acclimating myself to my surroundings, I'm not sure if it's wise to eat this; mobile food in San Francisco is heavily-regulated in the Golden Nanny State and just as heavily-reviewed by actual patrons who haven't gotten gut-wrenching illness from eating the stuff.

I don't know if I could get into it.

Would I eat at "the kind of hole in the wall joint Guy Fieri would profile on Diners, Drive Ins and Dives...at the end of a strip mall..." that used to be a mobile smoking trailer? Now that I could get behind.

Looks like the trucks are taking over DC. As long as the odds are 0 that I'll bump into little Timmy Geithner at one some afternoon, I'm in. Now where's the guy with the smoking turkey trailer...?

Jr Deputy Accountant

Some say he’s half man half fish, others say he’s more of a seventy/thirty split. Either way he’s a fishy bastard.


OldSouth said...

Welcome to The South. So good to have you living in civilization.

Not to worry, JDA. Easy enough to inspect the product at home. If the meat is just barely hanging onto the ribs, like it should, you're good to go.

If you're still concerned, wrap it up in tin foil, and stick it in the oven with your thermometer.

OS has enjoyed small-pit bbq his whole life, it's the only kind worth having. We know Spring has arrived with Flossie shows up at the grocery store parking lot with his smoker and trailer. Finest kind, ya'll.

Those cooks take huge pride in their work, and know that if anybody gets sick, word of mouth will shut them down before the state has a chance to.

Bon appetit!

I AM SO EXCITED. I'm going to chase that motherfucker down next time I see him sitting in the BB&T lot.

It's so foreign to me... Obv we have food trucks in SF but nothing like this.


(related: JDA makes a mean Yankee BBQ herself, these guys better look out lest I hitch a pig smoker to the back of my ride...)

chairmanben said...

OldSouth - ever stop by RTP for Bossman's Biscuits?

(if JDA stops blogging and starts cooking Southern I'll stop the presses)