Category Archives: Barbecue

Yet another food truck — this one with ‘cue

The food truck news. It never stops.

Now there’s news of a new barbecue food truck — Big Daddy’s Smoked Shack, owned by barbecue expert John Nielsen.

Back in 2009, Nielsen had a restaurant called  Big Daddy and Lil’ Mama’s Smoke Shack, which operated at 828 W. 11th in Riverside, the spot that now houses Squeezer’s Palace. That restaurant closed, but Nielsen has been dreaming about the food truck ever since.

Get your curly pig tail end over there.

Nielsen has converted a 24-foot RV into a mobile food truck, and he sets up from 4 to 9 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays at a spot at 4800 W. Central. Soon, he’ll expand his Saturday hours to 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Next Friday, May 24, he’ll also be open for lunch from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 1947 Founder’s Circle, near Via Christi on 21st Street just off K-96. He hopes to add more truck time as the business grows, and he’ll be updating followers as to his whereabouts on his Facebook page.

Big Daddy’s, which also caters, serves brisket, ribs, pulled pork, chicken, turkey and things such as smoked stuffed jalapenos and smoked mushrooms.

For more informaion, call 316-871-1438.

Second annual Midwest Ribfest starts Thursday

One of last year’s ribbers in action

The second annual Wichita Ribfest opens Thursday and will include three days of food from local vendors, music and activities.

The event will be set up just east of Intrust Bank Arena in Lot D, the city-managed parking lot at 777 E. Waterman. It’s open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Admission is $4 at the door, then attendees can choose to buy a barbecue meal from one of six national vendors setup inside the gate. Meals generally cost $10 and under and include sides.

All three days will include music by both local and national acts. The festival’s headliners are country acts Keith Anderson, who plays at 9 p.m. on Friday, and Phil Vassar, who performs at 4 p.m. Saturday. In all, 14 bands will perform by the festival’s end.

I was a rib judge last year and will be again this year. I’m currently fasting to prepare for Thursday’s 4:30 judge-a-thon, where I will join a panel choosing the best rib. Visitors also can vote for a “People’s Choice” winner.

There are also kids activities, a Pepsi Sport zone where people can test their athletic skills, and a video game den.

Half-price admission is available from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday and Friday. Admission is free all day on Thursday for those with a Wichita River Festival button.

For a complete schedule, visit or www.facebook/wichitaribfest.

Food truck of the week: BJ’s Smokeshack

A look at some of BJ’s sizzling, smoky goodness

It’s raining food trucks.

Today, I heard from another set of truckers preparing to hit the road. Jennifer and Brad Vieux hope to get their BJ’s Smokeshack on the streets by the end of the year. (They already have a Facebook pageup and running.)

Brad is a longtime barbecue hobbyist whose meats are so good, he often sells them to friends and acquaintances. He’s employed as a business development director for a local aviation company and will keep his job. Jennifer will staff the truck with help from her 15-year-old daughter and mother-in-law, who’s about to retire.

The truck will serve items such as pulled pork, brisket, ham, ribs, chicken, and specialty sandwiches plus homemade sides. They’re currently searching for the perfect truck and plan to park it at various places around town. They’ll also set up at area festivals.

The couple recently attended a meeting of the local food truck community, where they were welcomed and encouraged by the owners of The Flying Stove, Cake Face and others, Jennifer said.

“We’ve talked about this forever,” Jennifer said. “And we thought, ‘You know what? This is a perfect time because food trucks are getting so popular.”

I’ll let you know when BJ’s Smokeshack is ready to roll.

Arena’s Ribfest set to return in May

Intrust Bank Arena has scheduled its second annual Ribfest, a big outdoor gathering of professional slab-ists from across the country, for May 16-18 in the same spot it was last year — City Lot D at 777 E. Waterman.

The event will feature six national rib vendors from Texas, Illinois, Virginia and Arkansas — the same ones that were in attendance last year.

Attendees pay $4 to get in the event (it’s free for children 12 and under) then buy their slabs and sides from the vendors. Live music and activities will be staged throughout the area.

The festival will go on from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. May 16-18. Lunch will be half-price on Thursday, May 16, and on that day, attendees can get in free if they have a Wichita River Festival button.

A few additions this year: Arena officials are hoping to have a biker night on Thursday and put on a classic car show on Saturday. They’re also devising a way to get local barbecue vendors involved but are still working on those plans.

About 10,000 people attended the event last year, said Christine Pileckas, marketing manager for the arena. But organizers are hoping for more this year, mainly because they’re hoping that unlike last year, Saturday night won’t be canceled because of high winds and lightning. But it is May in Kansas, so…

To read up on the Ribfest, visit the arena’s website.

Another food truck: Official Bar-B-Q

Kris Maples and his 7-year-old daughter, Mia, in the Offical Bar-B-Q truck. Photo courtesy of Michael Carmody.

Another food truck needs added to the roster.

Official Bar-B-Q operates out of a  stationary trailer owned by Kris Maples, who is a barbecue chef by day and an official for youth sports leagues all over Wichita by night. The truck never moves from 241 S. Hydraulic.

Maples opened the truck in October and serves items such as brisket, links, pulled pork and more. During basketball season, he’s open from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. When basketball season ends and his officiating duties lighten up, Maples operates the truck from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.  I’m hearing lots of good reviews of the food all of a sudden.

To place an advance order, call 316-871-8977.

Area’s seventh Hog Wild opens today

The brand new Hog Wild at 8821 W. 21st St. opens today.

A new Hog Wild Pit Bar-B-Q  is opening today at 8821 W. 21st St.

It’s the seventh Hog Wild in the area, and it will serve the same menu of ribs, smoked meats and sandwiches that the other ones do. It has a drive-through, too.

Hours are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. For more information, call 316-721-7775.

Question of the week: Best BBQ meat?

Look, there under the sweet potato fries. It's some of the most moist and flavorful smoked turkey I've tried in a while. Thank you, Bite Me BBQ.

It’s been days since I ate it, but I’m STILL fantasizing about the succulent, juicy, perfectly smoked turkey breast I ate at Bite Me BBQ, the restaurant that I’ve reviewed for this week’s paper.

It’s the kind of turkey I dream about every Thanksgiving but rarely get, partially because I have no relatives with access to smokers. Perhaps I’ll have to become that relative.

Barbecue is a very personal thing, and it seems like there are as many favorite barbecue restaurants as there are barbecue fans.

My question this week: Which barbecue meat is your favorite? Ribs? Hotlinks? Pulled pork? Turkey? Chicken? Brisket? And more important, which local barbecue restaurant serves the best version of your favorite meat?

Answer in the comments section below.

A whole lotta ribbin’ going on

My camera is still sticky from taking this picture. Not exactly sure how to solve that problem.

Last night, I served as a judge at the Wichita Ribfest. I’m still a little sticky.

The judging was pretty serious. I wasn’t allowed to discuss the ribs with my co-judges as we sampled, and we didn’t know which ribs came from which booth. Ribfest organizers aren’t announcing the winner until Saturday. (So much for my plan to tell you which ribs to get if you go this weekend.)

The panel of judges, which also included Mayor Carl Brewer and Wichita Thunder assistant coach Jason Duda, was given two ribs from each of the six vendors to sample. I ate only half of each rib delivered, knowing I would need to pace myself to get to the end.

My co-judges, who included Thunder assistant coach Jason Duda, left, and Mayor Carl Brewer.

They were all different. Some were smoky. Some were sweet. All were sticky and saucy. The winner (I wish I knew who made it!!) was a basic rib with a nice glaze and a smoky flavor — refreshingly not oversauced.

The psychology of the Ribfest is pretty interesting so far. At lunch on Thursday, people all were lined up to get ribs at two booths while the other four booths had no lines at all. I stopped and asked a few people why they chose the line they chose, and all said they picked it because it was the longest so they assumed it must be the best. Another person said he chose the booth with the most championship flags. Though this logic seems faulty, there’s really no other way to decide which ribs to buy, I realized, so people were using the only information they had.

Meals cost between $7 and $10. Beers are $3 for a can or $4 for a cup.

The Wichita Ribfest continues from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. today and Saturday. Live music is scheduled to go on all day both days. Admission is $4 or a Wichita River Festival button. Admission is only $2 if you go from1 1 a.m. to 2 p.m. today.

Country band Gloriana will headline tonight at 9 p.m. “American Idol” finalist Casey James plays at 4 p.m. Saturday. For more information and a complete lineup, visit the Wichita Ribfest website.

Question of the week: Wichita’s best barbecue place?

Wichita just gained Bite Me BBQ at 132 N. St. Francis and just lost Bubba’s Nekkid BBQ at 2428 West 13th Street N.

The barbecue places seem to come and go on a fairly frequent basis. Which one is your favorite? Which one would you miss most if it evaporated like Bubba?

I liked Bubba, but I also have enjoyed many a meal at Pig In! Pig Out! at 1003 East 13th Street N. and When Pig’s Fly at 7011 W. Central.

Submit your barbecue favorites in the comments section below.

Bite Me BBQ moves downtown

This place is big. And by big, I mean huge.

Bite Me BBQ just finished its long-planned move from Goddard to downtown Wichita and re-opened on Monday in a ginormous space at 132 N. St. Francis.

Owner Coleman Lockett announced his plan to relocate last year. He closed his restaurant at 151st Street West and Kellogg in March and has been busy since then relocating. I stopped in the new space on Wednesday and was surprised by how cavernous it was. I was struck by the big bar, the number of tables, the shiny cement floor and the smell of new paint mixed with smoked meat.

Bite Me’s menu includes traditional barbecue favorites plus a few unexpected items (deep fried lobster! mountain oysters!).

While it waits for its liquor license, the restaurant is open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays. Once the license is obtained, which Lockett predicts will take a couple of weeks, he’ll extend the hours to 11 a.m. to midnight Mondays through Thursdays and 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays.

For more information, call 316-729-2904.