By Leigh Giangreco | DelMarVaNow.com
CLARKSVILLE — From the outside of Hocker’s new barbecue food truck, one wouldn’t believe it could fit five people inside. But on one of the hottest days of the summer, the 24-foot trailer packed five people, plus a lot of flavor.
It was a family affair on a recent Friday afternoon, with Greg Hocker setting up an extra air conditioner in one corner and his wife, MaryEllen, bouncing their baby, Greydon, on her hip while serving pulled pork tacos.
Hocker’s BBQ food truck opened July 1 in front of the Hocker’s Super Center on Atlantic Avenue. At noon, a steady stream of customers pulled up to try the grocery store’s hot dogs, ribs and pulled pork sandwiches as well as the truck’s signature tacos and pit beef.
“I don’t recall any place in the area that offers pit beef sandwich,” said Gerry Hocker, vice president of the super center and G&E Supermarket. “We had a customer last week try a sandwich and book us for a function next week.”
The food truck’s menu features summer favorites such as half chickens and ribs, which are smoked in the smokehouse for 11 to 14 hours at a time. Greg Hocker said the smokehouse can fit up to 30 pork rounds.
Most of the products offered can also be found at the grocery store’s Kwik Chef, but customers can only find the barbecue nachos and tacos on the food truck. Greg Hocker wanted to bring a different meat to Delmarva, and after experimenting in the smokehouse, he landed on pit beef.
“The pit beef is a big Baltimore thing,” Hocker said. “It’s something I played around with in the smoker.”
Hocker’s also serves up three types of tacos — chicken, pulled pork and pit beef.
Customers can top their tacos with sour cream, salsa, red onions, black olives and jalapeño peppers. But don’t expect a tangy Southern sauce or drenched meat.
“I’m not a fan of the South Carolina, vinegary barbecue,” said employee Beth Dabrowski. Instead, the tender pork and chicken are lightly soaked in a sweet sauce, which seems to have a hint of sugar.
“That’s the secret recipe,” Gerry Hocker said with a smile, not wanting to give away what lends the sauce its flavor.
Although the chicken and pork offerings are popular, the standout taco is the pit beef. Dabrowski pulled out the beef and quickly dropped it in a crock pot with au jus before making the taco.
“The pit beef is left cold because it’s a rarer piece of beef,” Greg Hocker said.
In the 94-degree heat, customers scurried out of their cars and then grabbed their boxes at the takeout window.
“You shouldn’t be longer than two or three minutes to get your meal,” Gerry Hocker said.
Even if they don’t linger long though, most walk away with a smile.
“Everything here is like homecoming, it’s amazing,” said Eric Kibler, a return customer from Ocean View.
On rainy days, Greg Hocker said the truck will ditch the picnic table and turn into a drive-through. He expects the trailer will be a seasonal operation, lasting into the fall and on weekends.
During the offseason, everything on the trailer’s menu will be available inside the grocery store, with the exception of tacos and nachos. Customers can also book the truck for catering and party functions.