|Ribs -- costillas de res -- from the food truck at Chesapeake Supply|
As I have said before, the hip dining option for Howard County -- if there were a Lonely Planet Guide to this county -- would be the taco trucks and open grills that run from Laurel to Elkridge. Grilled ribs. Grilled chicken. A mix of Latin side dishes. You eat for $10, and you get the char and savory grease of a filling, authentic meal.
This is going to be my project for the summer. I'm calling it my Paper Towel Tour because you'll want a roll in your car if you follow along.
I started on one of the first warm Saturdays with a stop in Savage -- a food truck dragging a black metal grill in the parking lot of Chesapeake Supply & Equipment Co. I ordered the ribs. These are not the fall-off-the-bone ribs that Mrs. HowChow prefers. These are flanken-style ribs cut across the bone, often called "costillas de res" on Spanish signs. You get strips of meat each studded with three or four pieces of bone.
|The truck and grill|
The Paper Towel Tour will probably turn on side dishes. I've eaten similar ribs at a bunch of grills over the years -- including a different stand set up in the same parking lot four years ago. So far, they have all been delicious, but I'm not sure that I could distinguish the meats several weeks apart.
The real attention-grabbers are the side dishes. Sometimes, you just get boring rice and beans, once even a supermarket tortilla. In contrast, the truck at Chesapeake Supply put on a pretty good show. A thick tortilla that tasted hand-made to me. A fresh, flavorful salsa of tomato, onion and cilantro. Those both seemed special. I ate the red beans and the yellow rice, although they probably left some room for another truck to take the lead.
I mean -- I need a reason to stop five or six times for grilled ribs this summer. If this first truck was perfect, there wouldn't be a need for a Paper Towel Tour. And where would the fun be in that?
Who can offer advice for a Paper Towel Tour? The Chesapeake lot is on the west side of U.S. 1 between Rte 175 and Rte 32. I know there are two similar trucks south of there -- including one that I often see smoking just north of Rte 32. I will need to work north to Elkridge as well, including a return trip to see if there is still a grill in the Mel's Liquor's parking lot in Jessup on Rte 175. Can anyone recommend a favorite? Or recommend a dish other than the costillas de res?
(Update: Kevlar51 is right in his comment below that the plastic forks don't really hold up. If you're amused, consider buying a titanium spork -- like the TOAKS Titanium Spork that I bought on Amazon. I keep one in my work bag, and I have used it many times when I ended up somewhere with lunch, but not cutlery.)
Grill Truck at Chesapeake Supply & Equipment Co.
8366 Washington Boulevard (U.S. 1)
Savage, MD 20763
NEAR: Chesapeake Supply is on U.S. 1 between Rte 175 and Rte 32. It is on the west side of the road. When I went past, there was another grill truck on the east side of U.S. 1 a little south of Chespaeake. I look for these grill trucks on the weekend, but they may be out weekdays during good weather as well.