subject: What Up Dog
take-out vehicle: paper plates
Newly relocated to the intersection of 3rd and East Main on the Downtown Mall, What Up Dog is a recent addition to the downtown food cart scene. Run by Tom Jakubowski, What Up Dog—as it's name suggests—specializes in all things hot dog. In fact, according to his interview with The Hook, Tom graduated from Hot Dog University, so it's a good bet he knows his hot dogs.
Today, however, I was not interested in a hot dog. I wanted barbecue. Luckily for me, What Up Dog had both.
Advertised by a small "Tennessee BBQ" sign on the side of the cart, the barbecue (like the hot dogs) came packaged in a fresh, Chandler's-made bun; but the meat (unlike the hot dogs) was not from Boar's Head. It came, Tom explained to me, from an actual barbecue producer in Tennessee.
Not knowing what expect beforehand, I have to say I thought the barbecue was pretty good. The sauce wasn't quite as tangy as I prefer, but it was flavorful. If I had to guess, I'd say it contained ketchup, ground black pepper, brown sugar, Texas Pete, cider vinegar, and maybe a touch of yellow mustard. I could be way off, but I picked up on those flavors. (Of course, I also mistook a piece of peanut butter pie for key lime pie back in college—pleasurefromthethorns got a good laugh from that one, as I recall—so the sauce could've been grape jelly for all I know).
The pulled pork was tender, chunky, and well cooked, but the real star of the sandwich—at least for me—was the bun. I may not like all of Chandler's sweeter items, but they can bake some frickin' bread. The exterior was flaky and slighty crunchy, and the inside was soft and airy, like a little edible pillow. Well-developed gluten truly is a wonderful thing.
Along with the 'cue, I got a side of slaw and two pickle slices, as well as some Pringles. The slaw was fine, and pickles came from a jar, and the chips were...Pringlesy. They were worth the 75 cents I paid, but not much more.
When I return eventually, it'll be tough to decide whether to try a hot dog with several of his 25 offered toppings, or stick with something I know I like.