Through the Smoke: Seven Hours on a Food Truck (Told in 20 Photos)

Food trucks are seemingly everywhere — welcome invaders at almost any event in town or during a weekday lunch break. They offer a wide variety of cuisines. They’re easy — for you. But what most people don’t know is how many hours of preparation and care it takes to be set up and ready as a food truck. I met Warren Cox, owner of Bourbon Bent BBQ, downtown at 7 a.m. to capture an entire day in a food truck. When I arrived, Warren was plugging his truck into the generator and preparing to smoke some meat.

At 7 a.m., Bourbon Bent BBQ’s day starts as owner Warren Cox fills a chimney with charcoal and waits for it to fully light.
A homemade spice seasoning is rubbed on all sides of a Boston butt before the smoking process begins. The slowness of smoking the Boston butt will yield a moist pulled pork that is used for many of the dishes.
The charcoal in the chimney is now lit and is placed into the bottom of the smoker to bring it to heat.
Warren places the seasoned Boston butts onto racks, and the smoking process has begun.
Employee Mike Morgiewics arrives and prep work for the toppings that come on the meals is under way.
Warren pulls out of the smoker a brisket that he marinates with a Nitro Milk Stout. He will further saturate the brisket and return it to the smoker.
With all of the prep work finished, the first customer of the day arrives. Mike takes his order and calls it back to Warren so he can begin to make the meal.
The meal, the Mac Attack is prepared. A Mac Attack consists of nachos covered in beer cheese, slaw, cilantro, red onion, pickles, jalapeños, cojita cheese and BBQ sauce.
The day continues. Lunchtime has struck downtown. A line forms and the orders start to come in.
Warren tops the Big Boy Tacos with a spicy BBQ sauce. The Big Boy Tacos have the Nitro brisket topped with green beans, fried onions, cojita cheese and BBQ sauce.
Now that the Big Boy Tacos are completed, Warren brings the meal to the back of the truck and into a waiting customer’s hands.
In the middle of the rush, four orders of Big Ol Pork Nachos come in back to back to back to back and the line of customers continues. The Big Ol Pork Nachos are similar to the Mac Attack Nachos, with the addition of smoked pulled pork.
As the orders start to pile up, Mike hops on the line and start prepping the base of the meals to assist Warren so they can keep ticket times low and maintain a consistent flow of service.
Mike returns to the window to continue taking orders as the customers stare at me and wonder why there is a guy with a camera on a food truck taking a picture of them.
Warren pulls a pan of pulled pork from the smoker to replenish his stocks as the second half of the lunch rush ensues.
Mike returns to the line. While pork, chips and and BBQ sauce fly from containers to customers, there is still a spare second to goof off every once in a while.
About two hours into the lunch rush, supplies are beginning to run low. Warren tells Mike of certain menu items they cannot make anymore, and Mike relays that to the customers.
The main part of the lunch rush is over, but there are some late-lunch comers. Warren scrapes out the last of the nacho cheese and brisket pans to finish the last orders of the day.
Three solid hours of serving smoke and BBQ ends successfully as Warren announces they are sold out of food for the day.
All that is left now is to clean the truck, collect all of the pans and utensils and drive the truck back to the commissary to finish the dishes and call it a day.