With apologies to Edgar Allan Poe:
Once upon an evening early, while I pondered – hungry, surly,
Prospects of a liquid meal of Trophy’s hoppy local brew –
As I sipped, my stomach grumbling, suddenly there came a rumbling
Of a food truck with the quaint and curious name of CockaDoodleMoo.
“Perfect timing!” quoth I, “I’m so hungry I could eat a shoe!
Throw in a sock, I’ll eat that too!”
Happily, there are no shoes on the menu at CockaDoodleMoo, a food truck that first hit the road in 2014 and bills its offering as “traditional/global BBQ & gourmet sandwiches.”
But I did thoroughly enjoy their signature sandwich, called The Raven – whose name, according to co-owner Jolie Rollins – is a tribute to the famous poem by Poe. Rollins, who owns the truck with her husband, Doug, and often is the friendly face in the order window, goes on to explain that The Raven – the sandwich, that is – is inspired by the popular pit beef sandwich of Baltimore, where Poe lived for many years.
Notwithstanding Poe’s penchant for the macabre, no ravens were harmed in the making of this sandwich, which piles commendably moist house-smoked beef brisket and snappy apple-horseradish slaw onto a warm ciabatta roll.
Make that “truck-smoked.” If you wonder why the CockaDoodleMoo truck is so much longer than most, that’s because the last 8 feet house a Southern Pride smoker, where Doug Rollins cooks meats low and slow over hickory and applewood.
And not just meats. Rollins turns out some seriously addictive mac and cheese – first smoked, then cut into wedges and deep-fried, trapping all that gooey goodness in a lightly crisp shell.
With just over half a dozen offerings on a typical night, the menu takes you on a tour that lives up to its “global” billing. Starting on home turf, the State Divided is Rollins’ tribute to North Carolina’s two styles of barbecue in the form of pulled Heritage Farms Cheshire pork on a grilled bun, with your choice of Eastern or Western style sauce and slaw. (Tip No. 1: You can order either slaw, or a trio that also includes the apple-horseradish slaw, off menu. Tip No. 2: You can buy the sauces by the bottle, with profits going to a rotating monthly charity.)
Rollins ventures all the way to China for five spice-rubbed smoked crispy char siu ribs, with a layover in Hawaii for the luau-inspired sauce that gives the ribs their sticky coating of caramelized sugar.
Smoked dry-rub wings are seasoned with a secret blend of herbs and spices that rival the Colonel’s.
“I can tell you there’s paprika and thyme,” says Jolie Rollins, “but if I tell you more, Doug would divorce me.”
You can usually count on one or two rotating specials, too. Recent offerings have spanned the globe from Carolina turkey black bean chili to vegetarian empanadas to lemon chicken on focaccia with white bean spread, tomatoes, fresh basil leaves and a parmesan cheese crisp.
I’m keeping my eye peeled for a return engagement of the Fig & Pig: smoked pork on naan bread with a thin smear of fig preserves, then topped with a blend of Monterey Jack and cheddar, and hit with a blowtorch to melt the cheeses.
Or in other words (with further apologies to the Bard of Baltimore):
Quoth the critic, “Back for more!”
Prices: sandwiches and share plates $10-$13, sides $5