Among food trucks, there is an implied rule: Vendors that serve the same cuisine don't park next to each other. Or even on the same block. The reason is obvious: They tend to cannibalize each other's business.
On Friday, however, a handful of food trucks plan to blow up that rule as part of the fifth annual Meat Week. BBQ Bus, Carnivore BBQ, Curley's Q, Hardy's BBQ and Rocklands Barbeque and Grilling Co. will all serve smoked meats at one location: the LivingSocial space at 918 F St. NW.
For better or for worse, the food truck operators will be sans vehicles during the second annual Barbecue Food Truck Face-Off. They'll be spread throughout LivingSocial's building trying to impress the general public, as well as a crew of judges, to determine who produces the best curbside 'cue in the area.
"It's basically going to be a catering face-off," quips Mike Bober, the food blogger and founder of the D.C. chapter of Meat Week.
Unlike every other pit stop during Meat Week, the Barbecue Food Truck Face-Off comes with a price tag. It'll cost you $49 to enter, and tickets are available only through LivingSocial. For the price, Bober notes, you'll get 15 samples of barbecue, a PBR tall boy to wash it all down, access to barbecue demos (from butchering to wood sources) and a chance to vote for the People's Choice awards. Last year, the public crowned BBQ Bus the grand champion.
This year, Bober has lined up an official panel of judges to bestow awards, too. The panel includes Pork Barrel BBQ co-founder Heath Hall, The Post's Smoke Signals columnist Jim Shahin and yours truly. Meat Week founders Chris Cantey and Erni Walker, who launched the first event in 2005 in Florida, will arrive in Washington for the food truck contest and may be drafted to serve on the official judging panel, Bober notes.
"We wanted it to be bigger and better than last year," Bober says about the D.C. edition of Meat Week.
The meat-centric week officially kicked off Sunday at Urban Bar-B-Que Co. in Rockville and continues through Feb. 1, when smoked-meat enthusiasts gather at Mr. P's Ribs & Fish at Sixth Street and Rhode Island Avenue NW, where they will not only enjoy some of D.C.'s best spare ribs but gawk at Mr. P's new truck.
All events except the Barbecue Food Truck Face-Off are free and open to the public. Each person is responsible for paying his or her own check at every location. For more information, check the Meat Week site.
Monday, 6:30 p.m., Hill Country Barbecue Market, 410 Seventh St. NW.
Wednesday, 7 p.m., Pork Barrel BBQ, 2312 Mt. Vernon Ave., Alexandria.
Thursday, 7 p.m., Smoke BBQ, 4858 Cordell Ave., Bethesda.
Friday, 6 p.m. Barbecue Food Truck Face-Off at LivingSocial, 918 F St. NW. Tickets available through LivingSocial for $49 each.
Saturday, noon, Mr. P's Ribs & Fish, corner of Sixth Street and Rhode Island Avenue NW.