Food & Drink

Smokers Wild is fired up for Sacramento mobile-truck festival

Smokers Wild makes barbecue with a 13-foot-long smoker.
Smokers Wild makes barbecue with a 13-foot-long smoker. SactoMoFo

A convoy of food trucks will descend on Sixth & W streets Saturday, offering a smorgasbord of street foods and other tasty edibles. Nearly 40 vendors are on tap for Sacto MoFo 8, the annual mobile food round-up that has turned into one of Sacramento’s largest single-day food events. Upward of 15,000 hungry folks attended SactoMoFo 7 in 2014, and organizers expect an even larger turnout this time around.

Among the fleet of food trucks, which includes such staples as Krush Burger and Drewski’s Hot Rod Kitchen, you’ll find Smokers Wild showing off its menu of barbecued meats, specialty sandwiches and more. Smokers Wild is a newer addition to Sacramento’s mobile food scene, and has become especially active since January with visits to local breweries, office parks and other locations.

The mobile business is run by cousins Chris Allen and Aaron Faulkner, who also pair up as a barbecue competition team around California and Nevada when they’re not hitting the road in their food truck. Here’s what Allen had to say about their ’cue style and the local mobile food scene:

Q:What has surprised you about the mobile food business since you two started the truck?

A:There are two things that surprised us the most. At the beginning, it was learning how much work this is. I’ve done a lot in the restaurant industry. I was the manager of a bakery. I worked in corporate restaurants like Red Lobster. I was a server and a bartender. My cousin (Faulkner) has been to culinary school. Everything I’ve done in a restaurant you do in a food truck in a different capacity, but you do it all at once and you’re driving around, too. It’s more work, but it’s also more rewarding.

The other part that surprised me was the camaraderie and support system (with other local trucks). Sometimes you find a spot and stake a little claim, but at the same time nobody’s trying to hold on to just one thing. It’s more like “Let’s set up a rotation.” We’re all sharing these things.

Q:I’ve seen pictures of your smoker. That thing looks epic. How much meat can it hold?

A:That’s our big daddy. … For a 12-hour cook, we go through about six to eight cubic feet of wood. It’s 13 feet long, 7 feet high and can hold 60 to 70 racks of ribs at once. I always say it can fit two 200 pound hogs or one of us.

Q:The barbecue competition circuit seems like a unique culture unto itself, with all you pit bosses trying to outdo each other. What’s a day of competition like?

A:It’s fun, very fun. It’s flurries of activity with lots of down time. If we have to turn in (the food to judges) at noon, we’re there the day before getting the entire site and prep area up. And if we’re doing a long cook, we’ll start the fire that night. Then we’re chilling out and hanging with our friends, and once the alarm goes off it’s “Go, go, go.” …

Everyone has their tricks and secrets, but one thing that’s surprised us is how everyone has each others’ backs. At the end of the day you want that win, but you’re just as happy when it’s your buddy (who’s won).

Q:Back to SactoMoFo, how much meat will it take to feed that crowd? I can only imagine what your clothes smell like after all that smoking.

A: We’ll probably go through 150 to 200 pounds of brisket, 150 racks of ribs. We’re talking a lot of volume. My wife always says, “You smell delicious – but stay over there.”

Call The Bee’s Chris Macias, (916) 321-1253. Follow him on Twitter @chris_macias.


Co-owner of Smokers Wild food truck

Chris Allen and cousin Aaron Faulkner act as the owners and pitmasters of Smokers Wild, a barbecue-based food truck that will be along the vendors at SactoMofo 8 (2-9 p.m. Saturday; 6th and W streets, Sacramento)