Monday, September 12, 2011

The Great Food Truck Race: Memphis, TN

by Amy K. Bredemeyer

I'm not sure what it is about this show, but I'm positively hooked! As soon as Sunday lunch rolls around, I'm looking forward to that evening's episode. Last night's installment was almost nail-biting toward the end... who would've thought that CHEATING would take place??

A reminder of who is left:
The Lime Truck: From California and using that to inspire their food. The team wears lime-colored headbands. They are ingredient-driven, meaning they change their menu based on where they are.
Hodge Podge: From Cleveland, Chris started a food truck because he saw one and knew he could do better. They just throw food together.
Roxy's Grilled Cheese: Brothers James and Mike, from Boston, have a grilled cheese truck because they couldn't afford to open a grilled cheese bar.
Korilla BBQ: Friends from Columbia University who couldn't get jobs started this food truck in Queens. They serve Korean food that's fused into other things, like burritos.

The Great Food Truck Race
"Hog Wild in Memphis" (S02E05): This week, in Memphis, Tennessee, each team will receive $500 in seed money. The Truck Stop is longer than recent activities. This time, they have to go to the basement of Rendezvous restaurant and get 100-pound dead hogs. [I don't know a single thing about butchering... I'm surprised that each team has at least one knowledgeable person, especially Korilla!] They have 3.5 hours to get the hog, butcher it, and make their own BBQ sauce to go on it. They can use grills provided and ingredients off of a table. The judge picks Roxy's as the winner, and they get $500 extra in seed money and the right to take off early. Everyone else has to break down the rest of the hogs to donate to a food bank. [wow. that's a lot of work.] Hodge goes to town on butchering, and the Lime guys also do a good job helping. The Speed Bump comes on Saturday again, and this time - they can't serve meat for the rest of the weekend! But that's not all, there's ANOTHER loop thrown this time. On Sunday, a local blogger goes to all of the trucks and whichever truck's food he likes best gets immunity this week! [wow, this is a REALLY BIG deal! And everybody knows it.] The blogger, Chubby Vegetarian, does announce himself when he visits the trucks. At Elimination, it's revealed that the blogger thought Lime was the best. [and, going off of the comments the guy made, I think it was clear that they won.] Then, it turns out, Korilla cheated. They put $2700 of their own money in the cash box so they were disqualified. [wow. I would have thought it was the girls of Hodge Podge who would've cheated...] but the kicker? They didn't even need to cheat - they would have come in third.

Roxy's Grilled Cheese:
For the Truck Stop, they do a tenderloin and some ribs - dry and wet. They smoke them and beer-battered the loin and put some belly in their macaroni and cheese that they serve with the meat. The judge wanted more seasoning. Regarding Memphis, they're worried about the population being smaller. They have a family connection with Corky's, a local BBQ place. They don't even spend $500 on their supplies. They go downtown to Peabody & Main and set up. [I do get a bit confused about how they take so long to set up... apparently it took an hour or two this time?] They're doing a pulled pork grilled cheese and a carmelized apples and walnuts grilled cheese. [not that exciting of a menu in my opinion, but that's okay.] The Speed Bump doesn't bother them - they switch to using mushrooms in their sandwiches. [they are definitely the best truck to adapt to this challenge, I think!] They go with the same thing Sunday. The blogger likes their sandwich, but the $9 throws him slightly. [Honestly, I've been to gourmet grilled cheese places in NYC and SF, and it is hard to justify spending a lot on grilled cheese. but it's SO GOOD!] They're the only team with a steady line on Sunday, which is probably how they ended up in first place with $6,254.

The Lime Truck:
For the Truck Stop, they do pork, belly, ribs, shoulder, and cheek. [I don't think I've ever had pork cheek... sounds good!] They over-did the cumin, though. They want to team with Hodge Podge again. [they've got to knock that off...] They hook up with a local restaurant and get food directly from them. [smart move, boys!] The Speed Bump doesn't bother them, but they take a hit with all of the seafood they bought. [I am a little sad, since I was interested to hear what they were going to do with all that seafood!] They are suffering because of the rain on Sunday. The Blogger eats a corn cake with BBQ slaw... he likes it. They get a tip to go to Overton Park, where there's a summer series of concerts. It's not as popular as they had hoped though, and they finish with $5,377.

Hodge Podge: For the Truck Stop, they do a pork plate, with feet, ears, tongue, everything. They're going with apple cider vinegar in the sauce. The final outcome is pulled pork, dry rub on ribs, dry rub on tenderloin, and some ears. They over-sauced, tho. They want to focus on meat and BBQ in Memphis, and Chris calls a friend and plans to shop from a restaurant near the spot where they want to do business. [I continue to be shocked with how everyone knows somebody in each city that they go to!] They set up across the street from Roxy's, opening first. They do a bunch of different tacos. With the speed bump, they have to go shopping again, and they switch to some grilled cheeses. Sunday they are near a yogurt place. the Blogger thinks the slaw is great, but the BBQ sauce is too Carolina and not enough Memphis. [I don't remember the difference between them. I just know that I like my BBQ sauce sweet... can't stand the vinegary or the mustardy ones!] They head to Overton Park because a concert starts at 7:30. As per their usual, they run out and take orders in the crowd. They lose power since they overheated and are in the dark in the truck. It's not going well, so they move again, back to their spot by the yogurt shop. They bring in the least amount of money, with $4,961.

Korilla BBQ: For the Truck Stop, they puncture the meat and marinate it (their special ingredient is soda), creating tenderloin in both traditional Korean and Memphis styles. The judge didn't like the Korean seasoning, and thought the Memphis-style was undercooked. [I thought that was rather harsh, but oh well.] They're angling for Korean BBQ in a BBQ city, and call a Farmer's Market to have their food delivered. They go to Handy Park, but it's not as populated as they had hoped. With the Speed Bump, they order up some tofu and do tacos and then some kimchi quesadillas. The Blogger thinks that the dishes are simple, without a lot of creativity. They head to Overton Park for the evening concert. At Elimination, before they found out that they had made $5,258 and were not the lowest-earning truck, they are eliminated for cheating... putting in $2700 into the cash box without receipts. As they drive away, they speak in Korean, saying that they're shocked. [I thought it was weird that they switched to Korean, and I also would have liked to hear a little more from the guys regarding their thought process.]

Next week: Atlanta, GA!
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