Stetson Not Required at Texas Island BBQJanuary 12, 2018, 8:35 AM HST (Updated January 14, 2018, 9:37 AM)
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Atmosphere at a food truck? Sure, it can be done. David Costa and his wife, Mannilyn, have brought to the Hilo side of the Big Island some very authentic Texas-style BBQ—right down to the longhorn décor on their food truck. Not only is the food terrific, but they bring good old southern hospitality, which makes them right at home in the land of aloha.
I met David while at an event, where I had been given a ticket for a free lunch. Truth be told, I wasn’t excited about the lunch, even though it was free. Happily, I spotted the Texas Island BBQ truck in the parking lot and made a beeline. Other enthusiasts soon joined me, and we enjoyed sharing our meals.
Operating on the island since June 2017, the Costas specialize in hickory-smoked meats (brisket, pulled pork, baby back ribs, chicken and sausage). Also, check out the Armadillo eggs, which are jalapeno poppers stuffed with brisket and cheese, and wrapped with bacon.
“We are passionate about our cooking and excited to bring Texas-Style BBQ to the wonderful people of Hawai‘i,” David told me.
Let’s talk about the food. I sampled the pulled pork and chicken; my fellow diners were enthusiastic about the Costas’ brisket. While we here on Hawai‘i Island may be used to using keawe wood to barbecue, Texas-style uses hickory. The hickory smoke is a stronger wood, similar to oak, which imparts a flavor that can stand up to beef and pork. As barbecue guru Meathead Goldwyn writes, “Smoke is the essence of barbecue. It is what differentiates barbecue from other cooking.”
David told me that the Smoked Brisket is their biggest seller.
“It’s a large cut of meat from which we trim over five pounds of fat and then smoke for 12 hours,” he said. “This produces a very tender and moist cut of meat.”
Frankly, it’s gorgeous (see the slideshow). Catering is also available.
The Costas support local farmers and agriculture. I am really finicky about coleslaw and theirs earned an A+ in my book. It is crispy, fresh, and has just a little spicy bite to it. On my visit, Costa had smoked the corn, too. It was amazing.
The kitchen is sleek, spotless and certified (you know I always look at that); the entire truck and surrounding area were inviting and clean.
“Since opening, we have had good feedback and great opportunities for catering,” David shared. “We have met so many wonderful people who are thankful to finally have true Texas BBQ.”
Texas Island BBQ schedule and locations: