Trailer? I barely know her!

The idea of a BBQ food truck has always intrigued me.  In fact, I have caught myself contemplating the logistics of opening one from time to time in those “If I won the lottery…” moments.  I have never gotten beyond the daydream stage, however, because 1) I know nothing about running a restaurant/food service establishment.  2) I wouldn’t have the money even if I possessed that knowledge and 3) My wife would kill me. (side note; Isn’t it amazing how many daydreams get squelched because of # 3?)  So when I heard about Driftwood BBQ, Kansas City’s newest food truck, I was quite excited to check them out.  Driftwood BBQ is located in the North end of the parking lot of the State Line Shopping Center at about 101st and State Line Rd.  They are only open for lunch (11:00a – 2:00p) Thursday – Saturday.  That is, unless it is pouring rain like it was the first Saturday I tried to visit.  Best bet is to keep up with Driftwood BBQ either on their Facebook page or via Twitter, both of which they seem to update diligently.  Luckily, I had some work that brought me to that part of town on a Thursday so I decided to stop by, pick up some grub, and meet up with Jake for lunch.

Their menu is a little limited as one might expect.  They offer 3 main dishes; a brisket sandwich, a rib plate, and a smoked sausage.  To compliment these you get your choice of 2 sides; fries sprinkled with their rub, and the same fries with a bacon and blue cheese aioli.  You can also add a soda for a buck.

The Board of Fare

When I arrived at about 1:00 pm, a couple people were finishing their lunch and there was one person waiting for an order.  Smoke was billowing from the stack that protruded from the side of the trailer and filled the air with that unmistakable smell of BBQ.  I came up to the window and ordered, “one of everything.”  The person who took my order was very pleasant and asked me if I wanted everything on the sandwich and sausage.  Since I was going to have to drive 15 min or so to meet Jake and no one like soggy buns, I asked if I could have it all on the side. She said that was no problem and told me the food would be right out.  A couple of minutes later my food was ready to go and the person working the window asked if I wanted some sauce to go as well.  I told her, “of course.” and was on my way to catch up with Jake.

My thoughts on the food:

Chopped Brisket

Brisket Sandwich:  The brisket here is served chopped instead of sliced like found at many places.  There is really great beef flavor with a very direct smoke presence.  The sandwich is portioned nicely, especially for a lunch serving.  It is normally served with the slaw on the sandwich that I had on the side.  The slaw makes for a nice texture contrast and adds some depth of flavor.

 

Ribs: These were a baby back pork rib that were very meaty and tender.  They had a

Ribs Close Up

bright pink smoke ring, and almost a glaze that formed from a light saucing and a rub that had been adhered through a long smoke.  I found them just a little fatty, but they were still quite good.

Smoked Sausage: This was an Italian style sausage on a bun.  It had a really present pink smoke ring, which is sometimes hard to come by on sausage.  It took on a lot of

Sausage Smoke Ring

smoke flavor as well, again sometimes lacking in other sausages.  It was served with relish, mustard and a portion of coleslaw, which again, I got on the side.  My only gripe was the dominant flavor outside of the smoke was fennel seed of which I am just not a fan.  Other than that, it was very tasty and would work well for a quick lunch.

 

 

Sides:

Fries: The fries were a natural cut, fried lightly, then sprinkled with Driftwood’s rub.  They don’t travel particularly well, ending up a little soggy by the time I arrived at my destination.  This is by no means an indictment of their fries, more an indictment of physics.  The fries were merely the casualty.  The fries on there own were pretty good, even being for lack of a better word, limp.  However, Driftwood offered what might be my new favorite fried potato garnish.  You can also get your BBQ rubbed fries accompanied by a bacon blue cheese aioli.  And yes, it was every bit as glorious as it sounds.  The aioli had a nice velvety creamy texture that was complimented by big chunks of blue cheese.  The tang of the blue cheese cut through the creamy mayo base really well.  Pieces of bacon gave a little saltiness and smokiness to the concoction.  This aioli just might have been my favorite part of the meal.

Coleslaw:  Though technically not on the menu as a side, coleslaw that normally comes on the brisket sandwich and sausage was provided on the side when I asked.  The other nice part of having the slaw on the side was Driftwood was generous enough with the serving that even after I put some back on the sandwich and sausage, there was still a nice portion left over for a side.  The slaw was a red cabbage variety with big pieces of red onion as well.  It was very fresh and the veggies were still nice and crunchy.  The dressing was a vinegar style and added a nice tang.  Overall, it was nicely balanced and quite tasty.

Sauce: The sauce was a very refined ketchup base.  It had a very smooth consistency.  The most present flavor was a sweet fruitiness.  It may have been a plum or apricot, I couldn’t identify it exactly.  Vinegar added a nice bite and a mild spice, mainly pepper, rounded it out.  Overall, it worked well with the food, although it was not a show stopper.

 

The Hard Data:

Location: (currently) North end State Line Shopping Center parking lot

Service Type: Food truck/trailer

Alcohol Served: none

Website: www.driftwoodkc.com

Price:

Sandwich or ribs: $7

Sausage: $4

Fries: $3 ($4 with the Bacon Blue Cheese Aoili)

Ratings:

Category

Jake Rating

Elwood Rating

Meat

7/10

7/10

Sides

7/10

6/10

Sauce

7/10

7/10

Service

N/A

8/10

Value

6/10

6/10

Overall Grade

B

B

 

Summary:

Elwood’s Take:
Overall, I think Driftwood BBQ has really good food.  Based on my short interaction at the window, they seemed genuinely appreciative that I chose to get lunch that day from them.  I would not hesitate to stop by again if I was in the area, and I will be attempting to clone the bacon blue cheese aioli at home.  It alone makes it worth going back.  My ratings may seem a little off based on my description of the food.  The sides got scored down simply for lack of variety.  Though the fries and aioli were great, if you don’t like fries, you are out of luck.  I do however have a hard time settling my final opinion on food trucks in general.  Normally, if I pay $11 for a sandwich and fries I like creature comforts, like a roof, and a bathroom.  However, if the food is off the charts, there is a little gray area in terms of what I expect for my money.  That is why the value score is a little low.  At the end of the day, the food that is on the menu is very good.  I would recommend Driftwood BBQ to anyone who likes BBQ and especially those who like to explore new places.

Jake’s Take:

I can’t really speak to the service of Driftwood because Elwood was the delivery boy, but I can speak to the food.  It was pretty darn good.  The quality of the food from this restaurant on wheels was top notch.  The lack of menu options will likely keep some away but I understand that space is at a premium.  The price was also at a premium.  Since takeout is really their market, you might expect to get out of there paying a bit less than if they had walls, tables, bathrooms, etc.  However, the time and care that goes into the few options they chose to feature on their menu is well worth a visit.  I hope that the cold winter months won’t discourage customers from trying them out.  Since they are competing with a brick and mortar restaurant a block away that is a staple in Kansas City (Gates BBQ), only time will tell.

Driftwood BBQ on Urbanspoon

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