Ol’ Moose BBQ
More food trucks, more BBQ, no arguments from me. I like both.
Friday’s are L’s short day at preschool. I picked her up at 11:30 and texted J to ask if she wanted BBQ for lunch. I had noticed a post on Facebook that a new BBQ food truck was going to open for the day despite the rainy weather, so I headed down Westnedge from downtown Kalamazoo to check it out.
Ol’ Moose BBQ has been opening up pretty much daily for several weeks now in an empty lot on South Westnedge in Portage across the street from Main Street Pub. The physical address they give is 7540 S. Westnedge, but that doesn’t come up in Google Maps…..probably because it is literally an empty parking lot. I’m pretty sure this is the same spot Nick’s Gyros used to set up when they were a food truck only operation if that helps you picture where it’s at.
Ol’ Moose is a simple BBQ truck. The old bus has been painted red and loaded up with delicious smoked meat the owner likes to call “Michigan BBQ.” The menu is simple with brisket, pork, chicken thighs and a sloppy joe.
I pulled in to the lot close enough to the truck that I could leave the sleeping baby in the car and he’d still never leave my sight. I was actually the second person there right at the 11:00 opening time, so I had a few minutes to decide what I wanted to do for lunch while the person in front of me was getting their order put together.
I’m on a real brisket kick right now and had to make a choice. Do I pick the chopped brisket sandwich which comes with giardiniera or do I pick the Brisket Tacos Al Carbon? Both would have been delicious, but I chose the Tacos.
You can get the tacos with either pork or brisket. I chose the brisket version which came with onion, cilantro, and chipotle roja wrapped in a flour tortilla. The dish was two of these tacos wrapped up with the roja on the side. I asked to forgo the onions, so the inside of the taco was just the brisket and cilantro. I chose to use the salsa as more of a dipping sauce instead of opening up the tightly wrapped tortilla to add it to the inside of the taco.
My expectations for BBQ is always high. I have such a ridiculous standard because most BBQ, I can do at home…brisket is one of those I have not had much success with yet. The brisket from Ol’ Moose BBQ wasn’t quite the soft as butter beef that I really gush over, but it was a brisket that had a lot of flavor. I noticed a little bit of grease had pooled along the bottom of the tortilla but even that had so much flavor that I had to wipe it up from the box. If the meat had been just a little bit more tender, this concoction would have been amazing…as it was, it was still delicious and the two tacos had me craving more.
J wasn’t with me when I ordered, but she always gets the same thing. I ordered her the Chopped Pork Sandwich. This meal is slow smoked pork on a Hawaiian bun with a classic slaw and Ol’ Moose’s Original Red sauce. The sandwich turned out to be quite large and quite messy. J grabbed a fork for this one and attacked it that way. The first couple bites she said were greasy, but she kept going and actually said once she got in to the middle of the sandwich, it was delicious. The slaw was fresh and crispy while the Original red added a little bit of sweetness to the smokey meat.
There are no sides at Ol’ Moose and there’s really not an option for the kids either unless they like delicious smoked meats like all rational human beings should. They do have the option of Great Lakes Potato chips and bottles of water, but that’s about it.
I tossed in one bag of chips for the sandwich. That and tacos set me back just under $17.
I like Ol’ Moose BBQ. It’s really a no frills kind of place. They want to do good smoked meat and that’s where the energy and focus goes. They fall in to the classic food truck category of street food….something you can eat in one hand. You’re not going to end up trying to balance a whole plate of food while standing on the sidewalk. They take this classic concept and excel with delicious BBQ.