O'Connor Food Truck Challenge: Smoked Smackdown

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As a promise to myself to try new things in the Hampton Roads area, I went to O'Connor Brewery's third food truck challenge. The first two themes were chili and tacos, but this challenge was practically made for me. The "Smoke Smackdown" showcased the best and most creative smoked BBQ recipes from four food trucks: Get Stuffed, Shore Thing Foods, Malbon's BBQ Flying Pig and Cast Iron BBQ. I felt like I was on an episode of "Man vs. Food" as I went to each truck trying something different. The end result was a delicious adventure that opened my mind to new flavors

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Get Stuffed

Get Stuffed was the first food truck I visited. They specialize in creative, organic and gourmet tacos, burritos and wraps.

I made the rookie mistake of not trying the feature dish which was aptly called "The B.E.A.S.T." The B.E.A.S.T. is a "house cured applewood smoked bacon, chopped shoyu eggs, arugula, spinach and mixed heirloom tomatoes with a homemade smoked pork mayonnaise." Instead, I tried their most popular menu item, according to owner Eric Aymer, the Papas Locas Taco.

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I was so hungry that I didn't read the description and bit right into my taco. Never in a million years would I think of putting chips on a taco. Thank goodnesss Get Stuffed did. The Papas Locas has cuban black beans, cheddar cheese, sour cream, sriracha and salt and vinegar chips. Not only did the chips add a nice crunch, but they also complemented the spice from the sriracha.

Some of their other menu items include: pulled pork tacos, smoked tandoori chicken tacos, curried lentil tacos and a bean,cheese and rice burrito.

Shore Thing Foods

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Shore Thing Foods is known for their boardwalk fries, but also specializes in cheese steaks, burritos and subs.

When I got to my second food truck, I made sure to try the feature menu item, which was a pulled pork quesadilla. This was the first time they made this quesadilla since it was special for the food truck challenge. This was no ordinary quesadilla. It had slow cooked pulled pork, smoked Gouda and caramelized onions.

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I was apprehensive to try this because I usually try to avoid Gouda. I've never been a fan of how it is so mild (and somewhat bland) in flavor. I'm so glad I went outside of my comfort zone and tried this because I LOVED IT. The creaminess of the melted Gouda went well with the smoky flavor of the pulled pork and BBQ sauce. Plus, leaving the Gouda in slices, instead of shredding it, kept the mess down. I now have a new appreciation for  Gouda (more like good-a). Yes, I know that was a lame joke.

Some of their other menu items include: a smoked pastrami brisket wrap, BBQ shrimp wrap and loaded Philly Cheesesteak fries.

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Malbon's BBQ The Flying Pig

The Flying Pig takes its name very seriously. As soon as you walk up to the truck, you see a whole hog in a smoker, ready for consumption. To some, it might be a bit much, but to me it was a welcoming sight. Malbon's BBQ is well-known in the Virginia Beach area for having the best barbecue.

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Despite the smoked pig greeting me, I decided to try the brisket tacos. The taco was loaded with big pieces of brisket, cheese, bacon, cabbage, jalepeƱos, their sour cream taco sauce and other "Flying Pig sauces" all in two corn tortillas. The tacos on their own were great, but with their BBQ sauce, that they serve on the side, really sends them through the roof. I would describe their sauce as a sweet heat. The first taste you say "yum," then "holy crap where's the water?!" Luckily, the cabbage and the side of their corn bread cut through some of that heat.

Of course you can order the Flying Pig Plate, which is a plate of their freshly smoked whole hog pulled pork with a side of toasted corn bread and coleslaw.

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Cast Iron BBQ

Cast Iron promises mouth watering meats from their pulled pork and roast beef, to their smoked chicken and ribs.

Unfortunately, after three food trucks, I had a food baby and no room for anything else. Cast Iron had the Smoked Challenge Sampler, which was peach bourbon smoked BBQ chicken with a peach bourbon BBQ sauce.

I'll definitely have to track down's Cast Iron food truck and make up for missing them at the food truck challenge.

Congratulations to the Flying Pig for winning the challenge. Their pulled pork was truly "Best in Show." The Food Truck Challenge is a great way to try different food trucks without having to hunt them down. Next time I'll be sure to eat a light lunch so I have plenty of room for all the mouthwatering options.