Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Finally got Pulled Pork at Re-Up

Re-Up BBQ Foodcart on Urbanspoon

It's been a long time since I'd heard about pulled pork sandwiches at Re-Up (which can be slang for getting more street drugs, BTW), but still hadn't gotten myself over to try one. Well, my birthday had just gone by, and a friend who works downtown offered to buy me lunch. He suggested White Spot especially if it rained, but I knew he was on the clock with just an hour for lunch, so I suggested something casual like Re-Up. Besides, he was a sort of steak and potatoes type of guy and I thought he might like it.

So, we were on for lunch at the Hornby and Georgia location, conveniently close to the art gallery fountain and lots of room to sit or wander amid the bustle of downtown Vancouver. At 1pm, there was practically no lineup. Some drifters coming and going, but clearly the lunch rush was over.

What struck me at first was the teeny tiny silver cubicle that passed for a food stand. It was so small that two coolers had to be set outside to hold ice and drinks. Where was the BBQ for the pulled pork? (And where was the washroom? -- "Any business that will take us.") Our friendly server was happy to tell us everything.

Well, it turned out that all the pork was cooked off-site somewhere in Gastown. Due to the quantity they serve and the speed at which they needed to serve it, the pork (and now, beef for their beef brisket sandwiches) had to be delivered from their Gastown kitchen (which might move soon). It's cooked there, hand-pulled there, vacuum packed, and then sent over to their carts.
In their carts, they boil it in the vacuum bags before taking it out. No flame hits them in case it burns or dries the pulled pork. The result does work well enough -- moist and tender pork separately slathered with sauce once it's stuffed into your bun -- and there's a generous amount of meat for the bun, and it sits on fresh-looking coleslaw.

The sandwich is then carefully half-put into a brown paper bag so that drippings go into the bag and not all over you. Wrapped around that are two napkins -- all in all, a well thought out package for the time-challenged to-go crowd, and a step up from getting it in a cardboard box (like The Kaboom Box, although that outfit also serves salads and poutine, and a box is better for such items), which can necessitate a sit-down just to pull out your burger with the fixings and to catch juice and veggies falling out of it.

It's a good size burger with a generous amount of meat for the price ($7; beef brisket, which I haven't tried, is $9). Not as savory as some renditions of pulled pork where you get more sauce, but that's a matter of personal choice.
 It was also no more than lukewarm. I was assured that they heated it up to the maximum legally allowed temperature of 65 degrees (another drawback of getting it from a cart, I suppose) so it was probably a combination of the cold weather, and the meat sitting on coleslaw in a non-heated bun.

Drinks were about $2.25. Lots of ice in my tea, which ended up tasting thin because of it. On a hotter summer day, that much ice to keep it freezing cold would have been a godsend, though.

There's also an easily overlooked small tip "jar" (clear plastic cup) up front for spare change. Our server said it'd been swiped once, but she yelled at the kid and he brought it back.

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