Re-Up BBQ Food Cart

Restaurant: Re-Up BBQ
Cuisine: BBQ/Sandwiches/Western/Southern
Last visited: July 11, 2011
Location: Vancouver, BC (Downtown)
Address: 700 Hornby Street
Price Range: $10 or less

1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: Tres Excellent!!

Food: 4
Service: 4
Ambiance: n/a
Overall: 4
Additional comments:

  • Locally owned/operated
  • Nominated as “Vancouver’s Best Food Cart”
  • Very popular food cart
  • House made sauces/marinades
  • House smoked meats
  • Recipes created by BBQ chef
  • Very limited menu
  • Daily drinks
  • House brewed teas
  • Busy/line-ups at lunch
  • Catering available
  • Mon-Sat 11:30am-3pm

**Recommendations: Pulled Pork Sandwich, Sweet Tea

It’s almost embarrassing how long it’s taken me to try Re-Up BBQ. Yes, this was only my first time trying this famous “Pulled Pork Sandwich” that has quickly become a Vancouver favourite. It’s been so long that I even missed the cheaper price for it, but I guess inflation is kind of expected when you’re a proven success, unless you’re In-N-Out Burger. Re-Up BBQ was one of the first food carts to hit the streets and it’s definitely one of the most popular.

This is probably the most unassuming food cart in Vancouver. Yes, it is a simple cart with a simple menu, but you wouldn’t expect it to be one of the most successful, but perhaps that is the formula to success: to make one thing and make it “the best”, or just really good. With such a specialized menu, I expected it to be amazing, especially after all the hype it’s received in the last year, including being nominated as Vancouver’s Best Food Cart.

It’s one of the smallest food carts, but that doesn’t really matter when you’re not paying for ambiance and they’re only selling a couple items. The menu is very limited, which made ordering very easy. Everything please! Offering pulled pork sandwiches and the recently added beef brisket sandwich I got to try it all (except for the Strawberry Rhubarb Tea which wasn’t being offered that day). I was lunching with my meat eating German friend Annika, but I don’t imagine it to be that challenging to tackle the menu alone, since the sandwiches are a bit on the small side.

It’s actually a team of individuals that created Re-Up BBQ and all the preparation is done at a kitchen beforehand, so nothing is being smoked or barbequed on site. Therefore, you can’t expect those standards, and the meats do come from vacuum sealed packages. However the Re-Up BBQ chef is known for entering BBQ challenges, so it’s actually competition style quality BBQ and there’s stress on home made sauces and marinades. Approaching this in a street food perspective, I thought it was good coming from four or two(?) wheels, but try not to come with expectations for “the best pulled pork sandwich” or you just might be underwhelmed.

On the table:

**Sweet Tea4/6

  • $2.75
  • It’s something I look forward to when I head down to Texas. It’s better than iced tea and has a more floral aroma and rounder flavour with less citrus.
  • The sweet tea is brewed with real tea, but it’s very mild, light, refreshing and perfect for the summer.
  • This actually wasn’t that sweet, which I liked and it wasn’t that strong with tea flavour, but it was still there.
  • I liked how they went easy on the ice and it’s a solid sweet tea. In the South it’s a lot sweeter, but I liked this better.

**Pulled Pork Sandwich4/6

  • $7
  • This is it. This is the must try and their claim to fame.
  • A pulled pork sandwich is probably one of my favourite sandwiches, which is great since they’re such a hot item right now being offered on every menu.
  • This sandwich was pretty great coming from a food cart, and good if it came from a restaurant.
  • The sandwich was quite small for $7 (used to be $6) and I think I was expecting a big burger bun. It’s a bit of a Follow Me Foodie snack, but satisfying for lunch… with room for fries, or a cookie… I mean and a cookie.
  • Personally, I love saucy, juicy, messy pulled pork sandwiches with pork spilling out the edges.
  • This one was a bit “clean” for me, but being that it’s a food cart and most people will be eating it on the street, I can see why it didn’t have these messy qualities I prefer.

  • The bun was airy light with a crusty dry exterior and it wasn’t hard or that chewy, but softer and also a bit dry. I wish it was buttered and grilled even if it meant taking away from “authenticity”. I wasn’t keen on the buns here, and they’re quite ordinary.
  • The sandwich just got a bit dry for me and it was due to the bun more than the meat, but I’d definitely need the sweet tea to enjoy it and maybe even more sauce. I don’t care if it drips… it tastes better that way.

  • The meat was soft and quite moist even without the sauce, but they squeezed and strained too much of the sauce and juice out of pork while assembling the sandwich that the middle got really dry and I needed more sauce.
  • It wasn’t a soppy saucy pulled pork, and although moist, it’s not juicy.
  • The pork has a well developed slow smoked smokiness to it, so it’s not just flavour from the sauce.
  • The sauce was very tangy and heavy with the vinegar and I think there was also Dijon mustard in it. It has a kick, but it’s not grainy mustard, but I could taste mustard and the undertone of chipotle spice.
  • It’s not a sweet BBQ sauce, but it was sharp with vinegar with an acidic base from tomato paste and a mild heat.
  • There was lots of flavour, and I would have preferred more crunchy slaw, which was fresh and almost not dressed at all, and I didn’t mind that.
  • It’s a good pulled pork sandwich, but I personally prefer the one at Be ‘wiched Cafe (see here).
  • After the beef brisket sandwich, this pulled pork sandwich will taste more mild in flavour.

**BBQ Beef Brisket3.5/6

  • $9
  • I actually found this expensive, especially from a food cart.
  • The sandwich is the same size as the pulled pork sandwich and the beef brisket was perfectly cut, lined, and presented, but it wasn’t particularly worth it.
  • The brisket comes from a vacuumed sealed package, so don’t be caught off guard that it’s not being smoked on site. It looked like it was marinating in sauce in the bag, but the end result was so different and unexpected.
  • The flavour, marinade, and BBQ sauce is actually stronger, bolder, tangier and even sharper than what’s used in the pulled pork sandwich, and since it was beef I preferred that.
  • Again the bun was airy light with a crusty exterior and a soft middle, but still on the dry side. Again, I would have liked it buttered and grilled.

  • There was a good amount of beef brisket and it was soft and tender, but not fall apart tender.
  • It was a bit dry and the fat was well marbled, but still on the leaner side, so it wasn’t very moist or juicy.
  • I could taste a faint smokiness of the beef and the sauce and seasoning was bold with a sharp tang and kick of chipotle, but it’s not sweet. There’s actually some espresso in it I was told.
  • Again it was tangy with a strong acidity from tomatoes and vinegar and also pungent with a Dijon mustard flavour and it was more noticeable in this than it was in the pulled pork. It’s quite horseradish-y in flavour.
  • This one needed more sauce to be enjoyed but it did have a nice spice rub on it.
  • I missed the crispy charred fatty bits on the exterior, but being that this isn’t a restaurant, I let that desire go.
  • The cole slaw was clean without having much dressing and I could have used more of the cole slaw again. It looks like a fair amount, but I actually lost its flavour and crunch a bit.
  • It’s a good ratio of meat and bread, but I was hoping for moist brisket, which is what anyone would look for.
  • I actually liked the stronger seasoning, sauce and flavours on the beef brisket, but I wish it was with the pulled pork instead, since that meat was better executed.

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Re-Up BBQ Foodcart on Urbanspoon

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