With the constant downpour of rain lately, a blue sky was a calling. A calling to get into the car and drive east to the latest addition to the North Texas barbecue scene, Smoak Town BBQ & Catering in Royse City. The black trailer stood out against the luscious green grass and the vibrant sunny sky. Not to mention, the UFO sci-fi Futuro House landmark
Arriving early, we took the time to get some photos and meet with pitmaster, Cameron Haley, before placing our order. Haley was a salesman for most of his career but always had a passion for backyard barbecue. Eventually, he couldn’t resist the siren song of brisket any longer, so he put in his two-week notice and started pursuing his dreams. According to Haley, the “passion and the community that comes with barbecue” made it easy for him to decide to become his own boss.
Haley started smoking meats and experimenting with flavors about two-and-a-half to three years before finally deciding to take the hobby to the next level and open up his business in November last year. With his trailer nestled on his father-in-law’s property, he elicits help from his mom during the week and the rest of his immediate family on the weekends. His mom helps with the sides, his dad helps to greet guests, and his wife and sister work in the trailer while he’s on the cutting block.
The two biggest challenges so far have been growing the business in a smaller community and working in such a confined space. The trailer may be small, but it was cleverly designed to maximize what little room there is. With a 350-gallon offset smoker and a stove built into the trailer, Cameron can smoke the full monty of protein options, as well as some sides.
While things have started slow, he’s deservedly starting to get some attention in the right places. Daniel Vaughn, the barbecue editor at Texas Monthly
, even made a trip recently calling it a “solid meal.”
Between Vaughn and some other well-known faces in the Texas barbecue community, and the amazing food to back it up, Haley is attracting more and more patrons from outside of the city limits.
Our tray came out showcasing nearly the full extent of his classic Texas barbecue menu, minus a side or two. The brisket boasted a generous ration of salt and pepper to compliment the decadent and excellently rendered fat. The beef rib was standard and comparable to many of the other, better, beef rib creations found in North Texas.
However, the two stars on this tray were the sweet pulled pork and a succulent Jale-Berry. Each gave this tray the extra zest and originality that barbecue joints search for.
The Jale-Berry (a la Halle Berry), is a jalapeño stuffed with cream cheese, wrapped in a blueberry muffin sausage, and then wrapped once more with bacon. It seems like something you would find on a brunch menu somewhere but instead, it’s fresh off a smoker in a trailer in Royse City. The proteins may have been hitting on all cylinders, but the sides were a couple of dashes of salt away from perfection.
Whenever you’re itching for a new plate of Texas barbecue, load up the family and make that short drive east to Royse City to see Haley and his team.
Smoak Town BBQ & Catering, 9631 TX-276, Royse City, TX 75189. Check Instagram for updated hours.