The Belle of Ballast Point and I apparently live very sheltered lives. I say this because neither of us had ever frequented a food truck. We know they are around and we have seen them on the food and travel channels on the teevee, but we had never patronized one - until last evening.
Sitting right there next to The Garden of Eat'n at 3401 South West Shore Boulevard in Tampa is The Smoke Shack "serving the finest quality competition grade smoked meats, a wide array of delicious homemade gourmet side dishes and a full line of signature barbecue sauces."
Well, says I, we'll just have to see about that. In the meantime we'll just sit here in these dandy rockers whilst we peruse the menu. Also, in the interest of accurate reporting, the Smoke Shack is more
like a wagon than a truck in as much as there was no engine and
driver's seat. I am not here to pick nits, so let's press onward.
I'll have to say that The Smoke Shack did show us a thing or three. The smoked meats were cooked to perfection and the sides were divine. The young lady who catered to our every whim was simply charming. Lea even invited me into their kitchen on wheels to have a look around since I admitted this was my first time.
My lovely bride is an aficionado of pulled pork and Mac 'n' Cheese, so it was a given that she would have the Pulled Pork plate that comes with two sides. For the Belle the sides were Truffle Mac 'n' Cheese and Cole Slaw. She also got a serving cup of Carolina BBQ sauce to adorn her pork.
The pork was perfection, the cole slaw was tasty, and the mac 'n' cheese was delicious. I tried a little of each and enjoyed them all. The "truffle" did not shine through for me, though. It was very understated. The Carolina BBQ sauce was a superb adornment to the pork.
Even with the prospect of being, shall we say, entertaining later in the evening I just had to have the collard greens and baked beans as my two sides to accompany my chopped Brisket plate.
The brisket with the addition of a zesty chipotle sauce was sublime. The beans and greens were excellent. The greens even more so after I got home and added a couple of dashes of my homemade vinegar pepper sauce.
Both the pulled pork and chopped brisket plates were loaded with meat and probably would have made two sandwiches per plate had we chosen to go that route. We cleaned our plates and were stuffed.
In addition to the pulled pork and brisket, The Smoke Shack features Smoked Sausage by the link or pound, Memphis Style Baby Back Ribs, and Brunswick Stew by the cup, pint, or quart.
This was a positive dining experience, and I didn't have to cook - woo hoo!