Rollin Smoke is East Austin’s David to the barbecue Goliaths that dominate the ‘cue scene. Although small in stature, this meat is not short in flavor. With a barbecue smoker named Crystal Gayle that takes up nearly the entire real estate of their trailer, there is little doubt that Rollin Smoke’s owner Kyle Stallings is serious about his smoked meats. Known for pulled pork and handmade jalapeño cheddar pork sausage, the joint’s Friday pork rib special and Saturday night dinosaur-sized beef ribs are also worth the visit.
Do not, however, expect traditional Texas barbecue here. Rollin Smoke melds regional styles and flavors into their sandwiches and tacos that are perfect for on-the-go sustenance. Classics like The Silky – a slow-cooked, pulled pork sandwich topped with spicy slaw – make an appearance alongside reinterpreted childhood favorites like Player’s Pie, which can be eaten one of two ways. The Frito pie can be served with traditional corn chips and topped with any of Rollin Smoke’s meats or those chips can be substituted with Cheetos for a cheesy rendition. The menu even accounts for vegetarians and offers smoked portobello mushrooms with a spicy slaw.
Under normal operating circumstances, this barbecue pit serves as a late-night stop for revelers. Under the new definition of normal, Rollin Smoke is still open until midnight, but customers now have to roll up in a vehicle for pickup. As a trailer operation, this hasn’t changed the experience of enjoying some finger-licking-good pork steaks dramatically. The new challenge is to make sure the food arrives home safely to be enjoyed in good company.