Delaware has good barbecue, but isn’t exactly a mecca of variety, so people pay attention when they find something good. House’s Rockin’ BBQ food trailer was parked in Milford one day when I wanted something filling—and that sweet, smokey, tangy memory still dashes across my tastebuds.
I took the chef’s recommendation to try the award-winning brisket. “I hang my hat on it,” said the chef. Indeed, “The Holy Cow” sandwich had chopped meat (both fatty and lean mixed together), topped with homemade coleslaw, pickled onions, horseradish mayo and house barbecue sauce. The coleslaw was thick cut, with colorful carrots and red cabbage. The signature sauce has a molasses base, plus vinegar.
“I like to have fun with food!” said Scott “House” Gregoire, who named the business after his old Sussex Tech HS football nickname. “I was kind of the big guy there,” he chuckled.
He loves the work, and he encourages customers to order a meal however they’ll best enjoy it. Gregoire also pushes against a misconception that food trucks only have frozen-and-fried fare.
“We have elevated food on a food truck,” he said. “People will follow good food, and that’s my biggest thing—making sure I have good food to offer.”
I met a Dover family who traveled to town that day just to grab House’s Rockin’ BBQ. The daughter loves the macaroni and cheese, which I found to be super creamy with a rich cheese flavor. The mom raved about the shrimp tacos and just about everything else (“It will burst your mouth open with flavor.”) They follow the truck whenever possible.
The brisket is Texas style, the pork is Carolina style, and the dark-meat chicken is perhaps “Delmarva style … It’s like a poultry seasoning, but it would be most relative to what you’d get if you were buying chicken and dumplings—it’s buttery with seasoning,” Gregoire said.
Loaded baked potatoes and the brisket chili will also return to the menu for winter.
Tacos lean into the barbecue theme, with meats, crunchy cabbage slaw and a flavorful dash of House’s Rockin’ BBQ Sauce and pineapple mango salsa. The baked beans are smoked and flavored with brisket and bacon.
For easy eating at festivals, they created the Rockin’ Parfait, which layers your meal into a convenient tall plastic cup, with a fork. So you can walk and enjoy layers of barbecue meat with mac ‘n’ cheese or mashed potatoes (or all three with The Trifecta). “It’s convenient, and it’s comfort food! And in wintertime it warms your hands,” Gregoire said.
Everyone has their favorite barbecue dishes and styles, but a good brisket is supreme because “everyone’ll tell you that’s the hardest thing to smoke,” he said. Mastery comes when the chef finds “that comfort zone, where no matter what you do with it, it comes out the same every time.”
For smoking, Gregoire uses one type of charcoal, and the brisket gets a special wood from Texas.
“Every method is a little different. There’s pellet, charcoal, wood, stick burners, gas. You can’t ever say there’s a right or wrong. It’s whatever works for you.” His technique is a blend of competition’s precise timing and commercial’s cooking and output. “I stay up all night cooking to have it available by noon. We’re talking 12 hours from start to finish, for just brisket alone.” He’s very detail-oriented with food prep (you have to be, with a 12-hour cooking process!) and tries to buy the best quality from the grocery store and Haass’ Family Butcher Shop.
He got into barbecue as a hobby, converting discarded gas grills into smokers. Raised by northern parents, Gregoire was intrigued by these southern cooking styles. Then he got into competitions. Gregoire started selling barbecue in earnest about three years ago, partnering with the American Legion of Harrington when COVID hit (a partnership which ensured steady income for all during an uncertain time). Once the trailer was ready, it became a frequent presence at Tre Sorelle Dolce ice cream shop in Wyoming, Del.
House’s Rockin’ BBQ food trailer is usually parked in central Delaware. Find the location schedule on Facebook or Instagram. Call (302) 270-4777 or email email@example.com for more info and catering options.
Bay to the Beach: Byways is a regular column in which we explore interesting places and projects on the Delmarva Peninsula. Videos and more photos at baytobaynews.com/bay-to-the-beach-byways