Leeds, ME: Eats: Moose’s Mobile Kitchen Brings the Barbecue To You

Ron Kyllonen, owner of Moose's Mobile Kitchen, opens the top of a grill in his backyard, where he was preparing a barbecue for an upcoming event recently. (RUSS DILLINGHAM/SUN JOURNAL)

By Deborah Carroll |  Special to the Sun Journal

Ron Kyllonen, owner of Moose's Mobile Kitchen, opens the top of a grill in his backyard, where he was preparing a barbecue for an upcoming event recently. (RUSS DILLINGHAM/SUN JOURNAL)
Ron Kyllonen, owner of Moose’s Mobile Kitchen, opens the top of a grill in his backyard, where he was preparing a barbecue for an upcoming event recently.
(RUSS DILLINGHAM/SUN JOURNAL)

Sure enough, you’re driving through any neighborhood on a Maine summer day, windows open and the wind in your face, when it hits you and someone says: “Somebody’s having a barbecue.”

Then, right on cue, somebody else says: “Do you think they’d mind if we stopped by?”

Nothing will cause even the politest of us to consider crashing a stranger’s party more than the scent of some savory summertime deliciousness, grilled to perfection. We just can’t help ourselves. It must be some genetic trigger dating back to the days of cavemen and Fred Flintstone-style brontosaurus burgers.

Rather than risking the embarrassment and inconvenience of a post-trespassing evening in a place where you certainly won’t be served barbecue, why not either make your own or call Ron Kyllonen at Moose’s Mobile Kitchen for some meat that just can’t be beat.

Some barbecue fare cooks on one of several grills at Moose's Mobile Kitchen.
Some barbecue fare cooks on one of several grills at Moose’s Mobile Kitchen. 

True to its name, Moose’s Mobile Kitchen will bring the barbecue to you. This weekend they’re in New Hampshire serving it up hot at an event in the White Mountains, but next weekend they could be in your backyard serving as many as 200 of your closest friends, relatives or co-workers. They can even bring the tents in case it rains.

“From brisket to smoked shoulder, a pig roast to a lobster feed,” when it comes to meat, the “menu is unlimited,” says Kyllonen. And he knows how to cook it all.

According to Kyllonen, when cooking meat, “time is your best friend” and temperature is your “big secret.” When meat is cooked properly, “it should fall off the bone.”

“When I cook my ribs,” he says, “I smoke them first for 8 to 10 hours, and then I grill them for a couple more with the barbecue sauce.” It’s so rich, “it’s like eating sugar,” he adds.

Smoking, he explains, is done at a very low temperature: between 195 and 225 degrees. “When you “slow down the cooking, the meat comes out so tender.”

Ron Kyllonen, owner of Moose's Mobile Kitchen, brushes barbecue sauce on ribs in his backyard, where he was preparing a barbecue for an upcoming event recently. (RUSS DILLINGHAM/SUN JOURNAL)
Ron Kyllonen, owner of Moose’s Mobile Kitchen, brushes barbecue sauce on ribs in his backyard, where he was preparing a barbecue for an upcoming event recently.
(RUSS DILLINGHAM/SUN JOURNAL)

The wood you use when you smoke a meat also makes a difference, and Kyllonen uses maple and oak, lighter woods, because he prefers the flavor and quality of the smoke.

“You can smoke just about anything,” he says. Kyllonen smokes “Boston shoulder” – taken from the front shoulders of the pig – for his pulled-pork sandwiches, and serves it on a freshly baked bun.

Pig roasts are popular, and Moose’s can roast a pig any way you like. “People like pig roasts because they like to see the animal prepared,” he says. “I can stuff it and tie it up or split it and cook it on the grill, or it can be roasted on a rotisserie.”

Roasting a pig can take up to 8 hours, and even after it’s cooked, it requires quite a lot of prep time to separate and then present the variety of meats, including the “hams, shoulders, loins” and other cuts.

One of Kyllonen’s favorite meals is a “roasted chicken.” It’s a whole bird that gets stood on end, on top of a can of soda, and then roasted for about 2 hours. “The moisture from the can keeps the chicken extremely moist, and the sugar caramelizes the exterior of the chicken,” says Kyllonen, making this bird moist, sweet and fall-off-the-bone perfect.

To go with the meats, Moose’s Mobil Kitchen offers a variety of barbecue sauces including the tangy and sweet Carolina sauce, and the heavier and spicy Texas sauce.

Moose’s menu also includes roasted corn on the cob. “When you steam corn, the sugar doesn’t caramelize the same way that it does when you roast it,” says Kyllonen. “When you eat corn that’s been roasted it’s sweeter and it’s a beautiful dish to serve.”

Other available side dishes include potato, pasta and tossed salads, as well as homemade baked beans and Kyllonen’s coleslaw, “made with raisins, apples and pears, so it’s a blend of flavors,” he says. Moose’s can also supply beverages.

Named for a friend who owned Moose’s Mobile Kitchen until he passed away several years ago, Kyllonen, who has always been passionate about cooking, is in his 5th summer operating Moose’s Mobile Kitchen. “We do both large and small parties, corporate events, weddings, graduations, birthday parties” and other celebrations.

“Moose’s Mobile Kitchen is not your normal caterer,” says Kyllonen. “We’ll even make your grandma’s favorite recipe, if that’s what you want . . . and we’ll keep serving food until you’re full.”

Ed Ford Sr. removes a perfectly cooked set of ribs from a pan at Moose's Mobile Kitchen. (RUSS DILLINGHAM/SUN JOURNAL)
Ed Ford Sr. removes a perfectly cooked set of ribs from a pan at Moose’s Mobile Kitchen.
(RUSS DILLINGHAM/SUN JOURNAL)

Regardless of what you choose from Moose’s menu — or from your own recipes — Kyllonen can bring his roaster, a small smoker and his grills. “Ninety percent of the product is cooked in front of you,” he says.

“It’s like barbecue at your house,” he says, but Moose’s Mobile Kitchen does all the work.

http://www.sunjournal.com/news/bplus/2013/07/14/eats-mooses-mobile-kitchen-brings-barbecue-you/1389998