Big Moe’s M+M Ribs truck
For times and locations,
The truck certainly isn’t new, but its accessibility has boomed. Owner Maurice “Big Moe” Hill was years ahead of the food truck trend, serving customers curbside from lot locations in Quincy and Dorchester for nearly three decades. Last summer, his truck became a fixture at the SoWa Open Market on Sundays and this year, Moe’s took to Boston’s streets. Now, Hill leaves most of the day-to-day work to his grandkids, Geovanni and Aishah, who have helped establish a marketing and Internet presence. But the food remains the same. If the legendary pork ribs ($8 tray, $11 half-rack, $20 whole rack) run out at SoWa, the beef brisket sandwich ($6) is an excellent backup, sweet and mildly spicy. Like good Southern barbecue, you can wash it down with a tall glass of sweet tea ($2). Even with a changing of the guard, Big Moe still sits in the driver’s seat, overlooking the operation that bears his motto on its uniforms: “Eat well, stay fit . . . die anyway.”
For times and locations, followTwitter@bbqsmith
The Jamaica Plain husband-wife team Tom and Lisa Smith opened this truck last summer, with Tom bringing experience from such hot spots as Formaggio Kitchen and Hungry Mother. They chose barbecue for its mass appeal. “Oh my God, that looks so good,” a couple next to us at the SoWa Open Market exclaims as the “Slawich” ($6) arrives on a bun, heaped with smoked chicken, coleslaw, garlic pickles, and barbecue sauce. Unfortunately, the taste doesn’t live up to the eye test, but the barbecue pulled pork sandwich ($6), the most popular item, exceeds all expectations. It’s topped with soft onions, garlic pickles, and sauce. The surprise hit is the veggie taco ($3), which was created by one of the truck’s regulars and features a corn tortilla with Dighton’s Buckle Farm greens, beans, smoked cheese, cilantro, roasted tomato salsa, pickled cabbage, and avocado-lime cream. Sure, it’s not typical barbecue fare, but when you’re lured to this truck with a vegetarian in the mix, it’s a godsend.
Redbones Food Truck and Rib Shack
300 Athenaeum St., Cambridge
For times and locations of truck, follow Twitter@redbonestruck
As the restaurant is often packed, Redbones introduced two on-the-go alternatives last summer, stripping down its menu for a roving truck and a rib shack in Kendall Square that closes for winter. The food lives up to the restaurant predecessor for the most part. In fact, there may be some subtle benefits to being outside the restaurant, with pulled chicken ($7) picking up some extra flavor from stewing. However, the macaroni and cheese ($5 pint), one of the highlights of the Somerville location, suffers, as it is congealed and fairly cold. The famous St. Louis ribs ($6 quarter-rack, $12 half-rack, $22 full rack) are delicious, with loose meat and only a bit of fat. The truck also outduels its competitors in one key category: to-go packaging, replacing flimsy fair-style boats with durable containers.
Blue Ribbon BBQ Trailer
262 Second Ave, Needham
Like the Redbones Rib Shack, this trailer doesn’t move much. Since May, it’s been camped near an industrial park in Needham, serving a condensed version of the menu offered at the brick-and- mortar locations in West Newton and Arlington. Smoke permeates everything from the meats to the cornbread, thanks to the onboard Texas-made smoker bought by owner Geoff Janowski, who was inspired by trailers during a trip to the Lone Star State. The Kansas City burnt ends sandwich ($8) rises to the top, served on a plain white bun, meat shredded while not overly-torched. A pulled chicken sandwich ($8) is surprisingly chunky, and the most smoky meat on the menu. Memphis dry-rubbed pork ribs ($13 third-rack platter) are extremely fatty, but colossal. And lurking like a prize at the bottom of a cereal box, a piece of white bread soaks up the flavors of the meat platters.
Glenn Yoder can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.