"We're out of ribs," says Matt Vicedomini from inside his food cart. It's 11:02 am. His cart, Matt's BBQ, has been officially open for two minutes. "There were people camping out here when I showed up."
By 11:28, the cart was picked clean of all meat.
This is solid advertisement for a barbecue cart, especially one hidden inauspiciously behind a chain-link fence in a pawn-shop parking lot on Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. His "Matt's BBQ" sign is made from machine-cut aluminum letters Vicedomini got at Home Depot.
And the meat truly matters here. New York-bred and Australia-trained, Vicedomini nonetheless serves up a solid all-beef hot link, with just the right pop in the casing and the oiled burst of mild, sweet heat beneath. His brisket's bark is a smoky burst of white-oak around tender, slow-cooked beef. If there's a complaint, it's a rare one: On some bites, the brisket was maybe a little too soft, a bit stewy. But close to the bark and on the smoke ring, the stuff just tears my heart out, and the tomato-based sauce is light, sweet and tangy, perfect to sop up with the traditional piece of white bread.
The bean side is the stuff of summer potlucks, the potato salad a pleasantly mustardy affair with bittersweet celery crunch. But you're here for the meat. And if you value your clothing, get it in platter, not sandwich, form—because for now the bread Vicedomini is using gets soaked and just about disappears.
Wednesdays are pulled pork instead of brisket, and Vicedomini has now doubled his rib output and expanded to Saturday service. So maybe next time I won't have consider buying meat off a stranger's plate.
Order this: Get the platter with everything for $16. Choose favorites later.
EAT: Matt's BBQ, 4709 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. 11 am until they're out of meat, Wednesday-Saturday.