500 Tacos: Smokey Denmark

 
 
A taco a day for 2015 — and then some
 
Smokey Denmark
3505 E. Fifth St. (map), 512-385-0718, www.smokeydenmark.com/food-truck
Hours: 11am-2pm Tue-Fri; check for special Saturday events on Twitter
 
 
► DECEMBER 2016 UPDATE: The Smokey Denmark truck is shutting down Dec. 16. The sausage company will operate as usual.
 
 
 
By Mike Sutter | © Fed Man Walking | 06.09.15
 
When D.J. Ridenour joined Bill Dumas at the Smokey Denmark barbecue trailer in August, he brought a little El Paso along with him. The trailer already has a solid lineup of brisket, pulled pork and the sausage from next door. But Ridenour — whose face you might have seen in the window at the John Mueller Meat Co. —  turned Tuesdays and Thursdays into red-letter taco days.
 
Taco A: Brisket
The dynamic duo of D.J. and Dumas gives this taco depth beyond its humble trailer provenance and $3 pricetag. Dumas is making the best brisket of his Smokey Denmark career: robust and fatty, with strong mahogany bark and deep color. Ridenour makes it more than just brisket in a tortilla with freshly chopped pico, tangy crumbled queso fresco and cilantro-lime crema. It’s like a scrappy kid from the neighborhood with an Ivy League degree. ($3)
 
 
Taco B: Pulled pork
All the things that make the brisket taco special — the full pit pedigree, the fresh dress-out — are amplified by Dumas’ skill with pulled pork. It’s full of oak smoke, with a lush balance of fat and lean, spiked with bark for bigger texture and flavor. Maybe I’d get it just to have some of Dumas’ wicked Carolina mustard sauce or a house-pickled pepper. But hey, those aren’t bad reasons. ($3)
 
 Sausage: The trailer smokes a variety of links from Smokey Denmark, from their signature hotlink to jalapeño-cheese to boudin. But the one with a 90/10 mix of beef and pork is only sold out of the trailer window. It’s a snappy, full-fat spicy sausage wearing white bread like a poncho. Try it with vinegary chile pequin from a squeeze bottle swimming with the little peppers like olives in a martini.
 Sides: Ridenour’s time with John Mueller taught him about cheesy squash, one of the best barbecue sides in the city. He takes it a step further at Smokey Denmark, adding smoked peppers and a four-cheese Mexican blend. And because this is a taco series, we’ll call Smokey Denmark's barbecue beans “frijoles.” With peppers and bacon in a thick, swampy liquor, they bring honor to the word. ($2.50 each)
 Tortillas: Barbecue gets white bread. Barbecue tacos get white corn and flour tortillas from the store.
 Sauce y salsa: Dipping barbecue and white bread into Bill Dumas’ deep red barbecue sauce is like dunking biscuits in sorghum. D.J. Ridenour makes a salsa to match it, with pit-roasted chipotle, poblano, jalapeño and serrano peppers mixed with onions, tomato, chile guajillo and chile de arbol. It’s all whirled together and reduced on the stove for a salsa that dances every step of the chile fandango with grace, agility and a sense of cool that hints at the fire within.
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The 500 Tacos Project
 
 
(Photos by Mike Sutter © Fed Man Walking)