Food Truck Catering Austin, Jay’s BBQ Shack Brings Food Truck Trailer Brisket to Abilene


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FOOD TRUCK CATERING AUSTIN – Image via roaminghunger.com

Food Truck Catering Austin – Jay and Diana Stearns have seen their business undergo a lot of transformation since they started Jay’s BBQ Shack in 2015. In fact, they have rediscovered the place once a year, turning catering operations into Abilene barbecue food trucks that are just hanging around. They found a place to park for last November, in front of the building that will become Jay’s permanent BBQ BBQ home in early 2019. “Opportunities to branch out and do other things will be much better once we get there,” Jay said with happy.

For now, their operations are located in the trailer fleet. There are some for smokers and one for food trucks, which Jay built himself on the actual trailer. He and Diane shopped for food trucks, and thought they found him in San Antonio. After going out to examine it, they realized that their budget would not allow anything in good working conditions. Instead, they bought a flat sixteen-foot bed trailer, loaded some wood, and started building. All smokers are installed in a similar trailer, also built by Jay. He has been welding together for more than twenty years, since the couple lived in Austin.

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The Stearns grew up in Abilene and moved to Austin to work at Dell. After ten years, the company outsourced Jay’s work to Tennessee, but he didn’t want to leave Texas. He moved back to Abilene to work with his father in the oilfield, but continued to build holes. “I mainly built them because I like to eat barbecue,” he joked, but he also sold a few. He lost money trying to compete on a barbecue circuit, so he thought he would try to sell a barbecue instead of trying to win a trophy. That’s when the idea for a barbecue truck was born. Unlike in Austin, where serving from food trucks is a marketing boost on its own, they are not cool in Abilene. “To get people to eat from the trailer they don’t know in Abilene is quite difficult,” Jay said. “We make it fun and give people a reason to come try us.”

That’s what they do in a sixty-square-foot trailer. I have daily specials: smoky and spicy smoky poppers wrapped in crispy meat. Depending on the day, you might also find glazed habanero pork ribs or smoked brisket burgers. The burning meat tip, which quickly appears on menus in all states, is on the regular menu. Soft smoky nuggets, but can use a thin layer of sweet barbecue sauce. Diana made all sides, including soft potato salad with fresh fennel and rich bread pudding for dessert.

If you are looking for heat, you can get it gradually. Mac & green chili cheese were very good (where they won the “Big Cheese” award at the local competition) giving a little kick and lots of cream cheese. The jalapeño cheese sausage is a step forward, but the actual burns come from ghost pepper sausages. It looks tame, but packs a hard punch. Ghost pepper barbecue sauce comes on the side if you want extra heat. All sausages are made commercially for now; Jay said he was happy to make it himself, but did not have a room or time. At present, he uses the commissioner’s kitchen for most of his cooking, but he plans to change it after they open a stone-and-mortar location.

“For now, my day starts at 2 am because I have to cook peanuts,” Jay told me. While most pitmasters got up early to start a fire, he was trapped in the kitchen making beans from the start. This is the only time he has before the meat is cooked, and he has to cook most of it faster than he wants. “I cook [briskets] as hot and fast as I can without burning them,” he admitted.

Even if it’s cooked hot and fast, the slices are tender, the fat I eat is very impressive and a lot smoky. Instead of mesquite commonly found in the area, Jay prefers a mixture of oak and candlenut wood. This works well on ribs which are only spiced too. He explained that he had to wrap the ribs with tinfoil to finish it faster, but he chose not to. Stearns is a man in conflict between cooking barbecue the way he wants and earning a living. He said it would be all right once they entered their new building. “My life will improve, and I think the quality of food will improve,” he said. Luckily for Abilene, the barbecue is pretty good.

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