Name: Ranucci’s Big Butt BBQ (food truck)
Order: Pork platter with beans and cole slaw, soda (link to menu)
Monk: Ranucci’s Big Butt BBQ is an accomplished competition team from Belmont that has two top 10 finishes at Memphis in May, two top 15 Memphis Barbecue Network (MBN) finishes, and two grand championships at the Charlotte barbecue festival (per their website). They have been catering in the Charlotte area for a while but started a barbecue food truck in the past year or so. Speedy and I had previously tried it out, albeit under different circumstances as a vendor with a limited menu at last year’s Charlotte BBQ Championship, and hadn’t been blown away. I figured I’d give it another shot during a normal lunch service at an office park in west Charlotte.
As was the case then, the pork was pulled in coarse chunks and was a bit bland. It appears that Ranucci’s forgoes a strong rub or smoke flavor on the pork and relies instead upon the three or so sauces available on the side to flavor the meat. Ranucci’s does use a Myron Mixon smoker and there were wood piles in the back of the trailer but for some reason there just wasn’t much smoke in the pork. The one positive this time, however, was that the pork was more moist whereas last fall it was a bit dry. But overall, the pork was still not all that memorable this time around.
Unfortunately, the sides were even more disappointing. The mayonnaise-based slaw was fine but average but the beans tasted as if they were poured straight from the can without any accoutrements or added flavors.
Speedy: I think this is part of the problem with competition barbecue. For competition, you’re trying to come up with one great bite. Obviously that strategy doesn’t work when you’re cooking in bulk. The flavor profile needs to be different (generally less sweet), and you can’t pick and choose just the best meat. This is why competition barbecue champions are hard to trust (unless it’s Tuffy Stone).
Monk: With such an accomplished resume, I would have hoped for more from Ranucci’s Big Butt BBQ but likely this second time I tried them will be my last.
Pork – 2 hogs
Sides – 1 hog
Overall – 2 hogs