he Hogtown Smoke is the brainchild of Mark Wasserman and brothers Scott and Kevin Fraser, who run the kitchen. Keen on peeling back the red tape that’s holding back Toronto’s food truckers, the team has been raising awareness of their cause through media stints. Case in point: last week’s food truck war on eTalk, where Ben Mulroney helped serve over 180 portions in an hour, completely, um, smoking his competition.
Owning a food truck was a long-time dream of Wasserman’s dad, whom he recently lost to cancer. When the trio saw the trend picking up steam in the U.S., they knew the truckin’ life was calling. The focal point of their truck is a competition-grade smoker—a unique set-up that encompasses a third of the space and lets them smoke everything from meat to beans. The Smoke can be spotted downtown during the week—across from Union Station, say, or at a Queen and Jarvis parking lot—while on the weekend, they can be found at private events all over the map.
The truck’s signature menu item: Big Ben’s Brisket Po’ Boy ($13), a Fred’s Breadbaguette stuffed with their Texas-style brisket, which Scott was particularly taken with during travels down south. The meat is cooked low ’n’ slow for 20 hours before being drenched in jus and topped with onions, a three-cheese blend and truck-made horseradish aïoli. At a recent Tragically Hip show in Niagara, the crew shelled out over 800 portions. Also available is a Patron-infused smoked chicken sandwich ($12), and a pulled pork sandwich with Carolina slaw ($12). All of the orders come with root beer–smoked beans, slaw (with some smoked fennel) and a doughnut-shaped piece of corn bread. Judging by some of the lineups we’ve seen, people just can’t get enough.
Name: Hogtown Smoke
Contact Info: 1959 Queen St. E., 416-691-9009
Neighbourhood: The Beach
Owners: Brothers Scott and Kevin Fraser, the duo behind the Hogtown Smoke food truck, and Noah Henderson
Chefs: Carey Valentine and Scott Fraser
The Food: Real Southern barbecue. Rather than stick to one regional tradition, the kitchen experiments with smoking, grilling and saucing styles from the Deep South to Kansas City. Everything is cooked low and slow, including tequila-spiked chicken (three hours), pork butt (seven hours) and Black Angus beef brisket (16 hours). Jumbo cornmeal muffins come with a side of bourbon-spiked butter.
The Drinks: Two taps devoted to Beau’s All Natural beer (including one rotating seasonal brew), and smoky cocktails with names like Tennessee Slut and Bonnie and Clyde. A bourbon-bacon cocktail is reportedly in the works.
The Place: A prettied-up take on a back-road Southern smoke house. The room is masculine but cozy with exposed brick, barn-board tabletops and galvanized steel buckets repurposed as lampshades.
• $182 for the Holy Hog-a-Now, a barbecue platter that serves 10
• 32 seats on the back patio/tiki bar
• 16 hours to slow-smoke the Black Angus beef brisket
• 12 spices in the top-secret barbecue rub
• 8 reclaimed church pews, ideal for worshiping at the altar of ’Q
• 6 house-made sauces, including one spiked with extra-hot ghost peppers
• 5 signature cocktails created by self-described liquid chef Thomas Benidicto