Wicked Awesome BBQ (Lebanon, NH)

(Update: When I wrote this, Wicked Awesome was mostly alternating between the Lebanon Green and the Norwich Green, but since then, they’ve established a more-or-less regular presence at Huggetts Mini Mart in East Thetford, VT)

One of the downsides of living in Northern New England is that the climate here doesn’t really lend itself to outside dining most of the year. So, while much of the country (such as the Austin area I reviewed in April) has been enjoying a substantial food cart renaissance, with all sort of entrepreneurs deciding to open up their own restaurants (or mobile versions of their brick and mortar stores), the trend hasn’t been as wildly popular here.

But it has still been on the uptick. A few years ago the food cart action around the Upper Valley was primarily consisting of hot dog carts, primarily Lisa’s Hot Dogs in Hanover; aside from a brief absence in the early 00’s, Lisa’s cart has been a fixture of summertime Hanover for over a decade. And Colburn Park (aka “The Green”) in Lebanon has sprouted several carts, trucks, and wagons over the years, but primarily it’s been limited to a hot dog cart or two.

Recently, however, several things have changed. First, several of the area’s nascent Farmers Markets, such as Lebanon and Hanover, have grown from being new, small markets that were overshadowed by the large Saturday Norwich Farmers Market, into substantial markets in their own right. So prepared food vendors have several more outlets for their food, which has allowed several vendors to flourish, from Mama Tina’s Tamales, to Vermont Crepe and Waffle, to The Cupcake Queen, to Wicked Awesome BBQ. Second, the economy continues to be soft, so several people have taken this opportunity to go into business for themselves. In any case, Colburn Park in Lebanon has gone from being quiet during weekdays to generally holding three or four food vendors every day at lunchtime, a process that’s been helped by Lebanon coming up with a fairly cheap vendor permit system for the park (a 90-day seasonal vendor pass for Colburn runs around $100).

Wicked Awesome BBQ falls into both of these camps. Run by local chef David Mcinnis, Wicked Awesome BBQ is basically a catering business that supplements their business selling BBQ out of a mobile stand. Several days a week, he and his partner Debbie haul their trailer to a local park (the location varies, consider checking out his facebook page to know where he’s setting up), set up a tent and tables, and start selling a decent menu of BBQ products (pulled pork, ribs, and turkey being the common items), along with cole slaw and drinks. It’s a limited menu, but covers the basics.

I opted for the basic pulled pork sandwich with cole slaw. This was a good basic pulled pork sandwich; the meat was actually smoked to tenderness (as opposed to oh-so-many places that just smoke it a bit and then chp it), a good smoke note, and a sauce that complemented the meat instead of hiding it. The cole slaw was decent as well, with a good tangy sauce that wasn’t overly creamy, and a good amount of red cabbage in it. It’s the sort of cole slaw that I always think pairs well with pork BBQ.

Carol went for the gusto, however, and opted for a combo platter of ribs and a turkey leg. The result was a dinosaur-sized BBQ turkey leg and some ribs. Both of these were pretty good. The turkey leg had really good bark on it and good smoke penetration, so the entire leg had a nice smoke flavor throughout. The ribs were soft and tender, with that nice pinkish-red smoke line in it that shows that these ribs were smoked correctly. If there was anything off to my tastes, I thought that both of these items were a bit dependent on the sauce, and that the sauce was a bit on the sweet side. Still, some decent BBQ for the area.

Overall, Wicked Awesome was some pretty good BBQ. To be honest, it’s not the best BBQ I’ve had around here (I think Bare Bone up in Fairlee gives them a run for the money, as well as having a broader menu), but it was good, decent, barbecue with a good flavor. If I was running the stand, I’d probably soften the sauce sweetness a bit, and maybe see if I could get some brisket going, but I’m happy to know that several times a week I’ve got the opportunity to get some good ribs or pulled pork.

9 Responses

  1. amy 05 Aug 2011 at 11:56 #

    Good review. Looks like there are some pic-a-nik tables for people to sit at, as well?

    • kaszeta 05 Aug 2011 at 12:10 #

      Yes, there are about 4 picnic tables randomly placed around Colburn Park.

  2. David 05 Aug 2011 at 20:25 #

    Thanks for the review im glad you enjoyed the bbq…We will be rotating different items in and out of the menu (rstd corn, award winning clam chowder, warm shaved roast beef sandwiches,etc…) you will have to come back and try us again.

    • kaszeta 05 Aug 2011 at 21:02 #

      Good to know. I’ll keep an eye of your facebook page and come back sometime later this season…

  3. Sue 17 Sep 2011 at 19:46 #

    I sat across from Wicked Awesome BBQ while they were getting ready in Norwich today. Let me just be blunt and say I will NEVER eat anything prepared here. I find it very difficult to believe David is a chef with any kind of training. As I sat there David talked on his cell phone often lifting his cap and adjusting it on his head and even scratched his arm pit twice! He then proceeded to put on rubber gloves with much difficultly contaminating them with what ever was on his head and arm pit. He later then wrapped some meat in foil, using his belly as a table to securely close the foil. His partner was putting out their sign and moving another sandwich board that was in their way and then proceeded to take out her plastic wrap, wrappping something from a cast iron pan (corn bread perhaps?) using her jeans to wipe her hands. GROSS! The first thing I learned in Culinary school was cleanliness!! I am sure there is much worse going on in kitchens we can’t see, but come on Daivd and Debbie …..bring some hand cleanser …you never know who is watching. I might have been your next customer instead of the next one to post a comment.

    • David 29 Dec 2011 at 19:30 #

      Not sure what you where looking at… i have a hot running water sink on my smoker as well as hand sanitizer…i have been a chef for over 25 years and cleanliness if of the utmost importance to me…my health inspection score for my restaurants have always been in the high 90’s..

      Thank you for your feed back..

  4. carter 27 Feb 2012 at 11:43 #

    Honestly, David does a solid job. He is doing actual barbecue and not just making crockpot dishes. He uses real wood and real smoke. It’s not the best I’ve had, but it is a very enjoyable meal done in the simplified manner of traditional BBQ stands, and it is precisely what it purports to be.

    As far as the whiner from Norwich goes: I’ve always found David to be professional and enthusiastic. When he’s on the Norwich green, there is no question he’s the best meal in town.

  5. Brian 23 Aug 2012 at 19:53 #

    I have seen him do the same stuff at his location at Huggets. The health department will catch up with him at some time. He also has no issue preparing his ribs and other items on a table in the open to all sorts of contaminates when he could easily do this under cover within the confines of his building. This is no joke and not whining this is a very concerning issue.

    • David 25 Aug 2012 at 19:58 #

      i have just received a score of 95 on my health inspection..there is no issues with preparing my ribs to be smoked outside on my “prep” table which is washed and disinfected before and after we use it we always wear gloves and the food is from the pkg to the grill in about 10 to 15 min…

      once again thanks for your feed back

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