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In the short five-minute walk between my office and the Re-Up BBQ food cart, at least two strangers have stopped abruptly, stared at my pulled-pork sandwich, and asked where they could buy it.  While that’s usually unheard of, when it comes to southern barbecue, it’s understandable: options are limited in town. 

It goes without saying that barbecue is somewhat of a religion in the southern US.  In Texas alone, hundreds of barbecue cook-offs are held every year.  Bitter rivalries form not only between contestants, but between states.  As Houston-based writer Robb Walsh describes:
Some argue that the definition of barbecue is meat with a spicy sauce, but some of the best barbecue in Texas is smoked meat with no sauce at all.  Some say barbecue means smoked meat, but in Memphis some of the most famous barbecue pork ribs are simply grilled with sauce and no smoke.  In the Carolinas, barbecue most often means a sandwich of slow-cooked pulled pork in a spicy sauce.  And for a huge number of Americans, ‘barbecuing’ just means cooking hamburgers and hot dogs on a grill in the backyard.

For those whose barbecue pedigree has only involved the backyard grill thus far, take heed: Re Up offers the real deal.  While the pulled pork sandwich ($6) is its only meal option at this point in time, what an option it is.  The pork is a labour of love, smoked (from what I can tell, Carolina style) for hours, the taste of hickory lingering in the air well after its consumption.  The meat falls apart at sight, tender and luscious, and there is plenty of it: this is a sandwich that is loved and loves back.  It is topped with a generous amount of fresh coleslaw, and somehow held together by a Portuguese bun in a friendly hug.

The master at work here is Chester Carey, a certified cicerone (think sommelier, but for beer) and the instructor of the Serious Beer class at the Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts.  This, of course, makes perfect sense: if there is one marriage better than smoke and meat, it is barbecue and beer, and one can only assume that Carey’s success in beer has naturally imparted a gift in barbecue, the two gifts born as fraternal twins.

One final bit of advice: go early in the day.  The cart is small and the line is long, and those folks walking down the street will inevitably find their way to it.  As word spreads, supplies will dwindle, and the cart is already running out of pulled pork before the day is done.  Take an extended coffee break, as Re-Up is worth skipping out on your daily chores for.

Joe.

Re-Up BBQ
700 Hornby Street (on the NW corner of the Vancouver Art Gallery’s Georgia St entrance)
Vancouver, BC
(604) 724-0894

Re-Up BBQ foodcart on Urbanspoon


9 comments

Benzuanne said... @ August 19, 2010 at 2:01 PM

I WENT THERE TODAY AND THEY RAN OUT! I DONT KNOW WHAT TO EAT NOW! I WENT TO MEMPHES BLUSE BUT THEIR POOLED PORK GIVES ME SAD

Betty said... @ August 19, 2010 at 2:33 PM

Yummmmmmmmmm :)

TimeToChow said... @ August 22, 2010 at 3:07 PM

hmmm .. nice. will make a trip this week to try it out. we need authentic bbq in this city. we have the resources and ingredients. i suppose it is a matter of time. this is a good start.

ben, what time were you there? it is safe to go after the rush around 330pm-ish. BTW, i gave up on Memphis when i saw saran wrapped meat and microwave. never a good sign. :-P

btw joe where is the frozen croissant cart?
http://www.cbc.ca/bc/features/food-carts/
i see a 'fresh' bakery by the granville station. but nothing in yaletown.

Anonymous said... @ August 22, 2010 at 3:27 PM

@ TimeToChow:

I wouldn't bother trying after 1:00-1:30pm. It seems like they've sold out pretty quickly after the lunch rush over the last few days.

However, I was told that they would try to have more prepared from now on.

Good luck.

Joe said... @ August 22, 2010 at 10:11 PM

TimeToChow: The croissant cart - Panda something or another - is on Pacific Drive by Drake St, at the David Lam Park.

Anonymous said... @ August 23, 2010 at 10:29 PM

Boonie's in Langley does an awesome pulled pork sandwich. Check it out. It's a bit out of the way but they carry yummy sides too like collard greens. And their pecan pie is decadent. These food carts sound great, can't wait to check it out! Portland has such innovative ones I can't wait til Vancouver does as well.

grayelf said... @ August 24, 2010 at 9:30 AM

I think it's called Panda Fresh. I got all interested till I read a crushing report on it elsewhere... not so fresh...

Joe said... @ August 24, 2010 at 10:02 AM

I have had the croissant from Panda Fresh. It's $3; more if you want variants on same (filled with ice cream, jam, etc etc). The croissants are baked fresh in their little mini-bus, but from frozen dough bought wholesale from a supplier. The one I ate had been sitting in the oven for quite awhile, brittle and dry, like a croissant with osteoporosis. That was on a day with plus-30C heat, so I will give them credit for sitting inside a metal container with a hot oven.

There is also word of a new cart set up on Main and Terminal. Details of that surfaced on Re Up's twitter feed.

The Fledgling Basement Foodie said... @ August 25, 2010 at 10:17 PM

Mmmm. Speaking of food carts/trucks, you have to try Roaming Dragon's lychee basil lemonade. Unbelievably delicious and refreshing! Unusual combination at first thought, but at first sip, you'll be a believer.
They're at the PNE for its whole run, then back to the Trout Lake/Kitsilano Farmers Markets until the end of the season.

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