Tim Smith has never visited Texas, but you wouldn’t know that if you tried his slow-smoked Honey Ribs.
The recipe for those bad boys wasn’t passed down from some distant southern relatives. It wasn’t lifted from an online site or a cook book. It didn’t come to him in a dream.
In the world of Texas-style barbecue, you’ve got to earn your recipes. Smith started paying his dues when he got his first smoker, a Primo Kamado, in 2010.
“I got really fascinated by Texas barbecue,” he said. “Once I started doing it, I had to conquer it. I had to make it the best I possibly could.”
It began with YouTube videos and books, hours and hours of reading and watching. Then came the trial-and-error. Smith admitted, smiling, that many beef brisket and pork shoulder cuts were lost along the way, but what he arrived at was worth the struggle: a barbecue food truck that he could confidently put his name on.
Tim’s Barbecue opened for the first time three years ago, and remains an evolving process. He brings the truck to public events or caters privately on the weekends, mostly through Bucks and Montgomery counties.
He’s done events at Bucks County Brewery, Snipes Farm, Shady Brook Farm and many others, and is always looking to do more. But with the ‘low and slow,’ labor-intensive process involved with barbecue, you’ve got to pick your battles.
“I don’t have a smoothie truck. I don’t have an empanada truck. I don’t have a cheeseburger truck. I have a barbecue truck,” he said. “What do you do with that leftover food? You gotta sell it.”
He goes where the hungry mouths are, and gives them plenty of options to choose from.
There’s the classic, slow-smoked brisket, pulled pork and ribs, served as platters with sides of fries, beer-battered onion rings, homemade mac ‘n’ cheese or cole slaw. But alongside those classics are some signature dishes.
The Smitty, for example, is a sandwich served with brisket, seasoned smoked bacon, caramelized onion, Tim’s Brisket Sauce and Kraft Cheez Whiz.
“It’s like a smoked Philly cheese steak,” Smith said. “You could drink the brisket sauce. It’s that good.”
The same nuance goes into some of the special fries options. Smith serves up steak fries, heavily salted and topped with the Kraft Cheez Whiz, choice of brisket or pulled pork, meat sauce and finished with jalapeno peppers.
Smith prides himself on using top-quality meats, sliced to order right in front of customers.
The same ethic goes for the burgers, especially the crowd-favorite Gouda Burger. That’s a LaFrieda burger topped with smoked bacon, tomato, caramelized onions, smoked Gouda cheese and Smith’s homemade horseradish sauce.
Tim’s Barbecue also serves brisket and pulled pork tacos, and a series of other specialty sandwiches.
“I’ve come a long way since I got the truck,” Smith said. “You’re always learning with barbecue.”