Lehigh Valley, PA: Fat Boys House of BBQ

Crystal and Aaron Calla, owners of Fat Boys House of BBQ, display one of their barbecue sandwich and fresh-cut fries.

By Kelly Huth | The Express-Times

Crystal and Aaron Calla, owners of Fat Boys House of BBQ, display one of their barbecue sandwich and fresh-cut fries.

A restaurant on wheels. A drive-by delicatessen. A hotspot for the mobile-food-minded. No matter what you call it, food trucks have a mystique all their own. I don’t know what it is about ordering a pulled pork sandwich from a truck that could house a small rock band, but it’s an experience to be had. I first tasted Fat Boys House of BBQ while judging Allentown’s Blues, Brews and Barbeque in June, where they took top prize for a loaded baked potato salad. But that’s not all this food truck is churning out. Owners Crystal and Aaron Calla have a menu of pulled pork, smoked sausage, brisket, ribs, fresh-cut fries and mac n’ cheese.

“I think it’s just intriguing — a restaurant on wheels,” says Crystal Calla. “Our food speaks for itself.”

This food truck takes up residence on in one location, renting space from Lehigh Valley Auto Sales on Union Boulevard in Allentown, not a stone’s throw away from Coca-Cola Park. If you get lost, open your windows and let the smoker be your guide. But don’t take my word for it — head over to Allentown and have a taste. Then leave your thoughts at lehighvalleylive.com/food. But hurry, this food truck is only parking through October.

The first food truck for the valley? The Callas can’t say with certainty, but they’re pretty sure theirs is the first licensed food truck in the area.

Flavor style: Don’t try to pin them down on barbecue style. It’s a hybrid. You’ll find hints of South Carolina barbecue in that they top their pulled pork sandwiches with coleslaw, Crystal Calla says. But the Carolina-style barbecue sauce (known for its vinegar base) is not on the menu. Fat Boys House of BBQ sticks to a sweet, smoky, Kansas City-style sauce. They’re also of the frame of mind to serve sauce on their sandwiches, but are happy to put it on the side at your request. They pay homage to hometown Pittsburgh’s Primanti Bros. by stuffing their sandwiches with fresh-cut fries, and most of the food cooks for at least 14 hours before it’s ready for sale.

Aaron Calla works at the smoker to ready the food truck for the afternoon crowd.

One delicious hobby: Both Crystal and Aaron Calla hold full-time jobs. The food truck is a summer hobby, serving up barbecue from May until October. “We’re not in people’s faces, but we’ve got a presence,” says Crystal Calla, of their burgeoning client base. Calla adds that customers are always impressed that they can produce such good food from such a small space.

Insiders Eat: Pulled pork sandwich — $6; Engine 13 sandwich (pulled pork piled high with hot sauce, creamy slaw, fresh cut fries and barbecue sauce) —$7; The Forbes Avenue (smoked sausage with fresh cut fries and coleslaw piled high on fresh Italian bread) — $7.50; Grilled cheeseburger (a cheeseburger smacked between two grilled cheese sandwiches) — $7.50; The Hat Trick (¼ rack of ribs, ¼ rack chicken and pulled pork) — $15; The Boss Hog (¼ rack of ribs, pulled pork, brisket and sausage) — $18; SIDES — Fresh cut fries, loaded potato salad or Gram’s Mac n’ Cheese — $2.75 for individual, $4.50 for pint, $8 for a quart (excluding fries); Hushpuppies (with fresh corn) — $1.50 for four, $3 for 10; Fat Boys Fries (fresh cut fries topped with cheese, pulled pork, coleslaw and barbecue sauce) — $8; Family Meal Pack (1 pound of pulled pork or smoked sausage, 2 pints of sides, 4 rolls, barbecue sauce) — $22.

Aaron Calla dishes up some beef brisket inside the Fat Boys House of BBQ truck.

Hours: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday through October. Today marks the last of the truck’s summer Friday hours (also 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.). Ninety-five percent of the time they sell out by 4 or 5 p.m., says Aaron Calla. So head over early if you’re hungry.

Extras: The truck is a cash-only operation. They offer family meal packs that feed up to 14, and catering deals for 20 to 100 hungry eaters. Catering orders can be picked up or delivered (within 15 miles) for a $30 charge. The food truck sets up a picnic area for diners who want to set up for a quick meal.

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Fat Boys House of BBQ is the source of this week’s installment of 5 Questions. Hear what goes into making this food truck tick at lehighvalleylive.com.