Walnutport smokehouse-on-wheels offers lip-smackin’, finger-lickin’, chin-dribblin’, rib-stickin’ Kansas City style barbecue
Even if you don’t notice the smokehouse-on-wheels parked alongside the Fast Fill Mobil Station in Walnutport, you’re bound to smell the hickory smoke wafting as you drive past it on Rt. 145.I did. So I pulled off the road and parked in front of Crazy Jakes’ BBQ Pit and said “hello” to owner, Jake Trumbore of Slatedale.
Jake Trumbore and his son, Jake, been here since April 5. “This is something I always wanted to do,” said Jake. “I bought this rig just to do parties and picnics and decided to go full time with it.”
The “rig” is a smokehouse restaurant on wheels. It has a holding oven, and an enclosed food preparation area with refrigeration, hot and cold wells and sink. The large drum smoker is mounted outside. It has an external firebox with dampers for the air-in and the smoke-out.
“I’ve been barbequing as a hobby for twenty-something years,” Jake continued. “Barbecuing always intrigued me. I’m from Kansas City originally. So I learned Kansas City style barbecue.”
While Texas is known for its smoked brisket with a spicy sauce, and North Carolina is known for its pulled pork topped with a vinegar and mustard-based sauce, Kansas City – the home of over 90 barbecue restaurants – is known to smoke just about anything and tops it with a sweet spicy tomato based sauce.
Jake makes his own sauce that he takes up a notch with cayenne pepper. “I like it spicy,” he noted.
Ask to take a look inside his smoker and depending on the time of day you’re likely to see beef brisket, pork butts, pork spare ribs, chickens, or wings slowly rotating in a thick fog of mellow hickory, apple or cherry wood smoke.
Smoking requires slow cooking at a low temperature. Jake adjusts his smoker to hold a steady 250 degrees. This will cook a 2 –15 lbs. brisket or 8-10 lbs. pork butt in 12 hours. Ribs take three to four hours and chickens take an hour.
At 7 a.m., Jake starts his fire using a bag of charcoal to get a bed of coals going. Then, it’s wood the rest of the day. Smoking brisket and pork is such a long process that the meat that you see smoking is actually for tomorrow. The brisket and pork that Jake’s serving today was smoked yesterday and then allowed to braise overnight in its juices. Then it is placed in the 170 degree holding box where the continued slow moist cooking tenderizes the meat to the point that it falls apart.
That’s the meat that Jake piles on a sandwich. On the sandwich, he offers onions, pickles and barbeque sauce. “That’s a Jake tradition,” he said. “That’s the way I always ate them. I give a big sandwich and it fills you up.” It is a lot of food. I ordered a brisket sandwich to go and it lasted for two meals.
“So why barbecue?” I asked.
“It’s flavorful,” explained Jake. “The wood makes it so good. It’s a different taste. It’s all about flavor.”
Jake has his own spice rub, “Also a Jake tradition is the spice in my own rub. Before I cook the meat, I put a dry rub on it. My own rub.” and the sauce “I make my own barbeque sauce, Crazy Jake’s barbeque sauce.”
Barbecuing uses a lot of aromatic hardwood and initially Jake had to search for a source to supply him. “Some tree cutters started eating here and I started talking to them,” Jake said. “They asked me where I got my wood. Now, when they cut a hickory or an apple tree, they split it up for me and I buy it off them.”
Although Crazy Jakes’ is currently parked in Walnutport, on any given day, he might be called to cater a party. He’s done several and is getting ready to set up for one at Cabelas.
Crazy Jakes’ plans to be open from April until November, Tuesday through Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to “around 8 p.m. unless I sell out first, which I do often.” To check if he is open, call 610-217-8959.