We have great respect in our Maui culinary community for succulent smoked meats, so barbecue – whether Southern, Hawaiian, or Asian style – is always welcome on the menu. Gary Timmons and Heather Gest of Dope BBQ Food Truck know this and have been serving their popular Maui barbecue plates and sandwiches for over a year now. I’ve been following the progress of the Dope BBQ food truck on Instagram since they opened, so when I recently found their cute Maui Swap Meet food truck, I was able to learn a bit more about their history and where to find them on a regular basis. .
“I was a butcher for many years,” says Timmons. “I was working at Whole Foods in Tampa and wanted to move to Maui. My boss in Tampa told me he knew the manager of Whole Foods Maui, so I put all the pieces together for the transfer. I did the smokehouse there for a while – I did a lot of smoke and breasts, and a lot of the same things I do here. I developed a talent and a love for it. I have barbecued myself personally.
Timmons wanted to start a food truck, but really couldn’t find the components to make it happen.
So they packed up the smokehouse and the trailer and came back to Maui.
“We’ve already taken a little trip,” says Timmons. “It was a small mission. When we returned we felt this was where we needed to be. We hosted Dope BBQ at gas station 76 on Wakea and Ka’ahumanu Avenue, for a few months. This was our first location, and it was a day to day operation. We were just trying to find a place and find our way when we got here. It was a good foot in the kind of place. People saw us there. I always get feedback from people who say they saw us there.
From there, they found success at city festivals and community market events.
“So now we’re having events like the Friday parties: Wailuku and Kihei, right now,” says Timmons. “We’re not doing Lahaina’s yet. The Maui Swap Meet is a weekly concert for us. We did Mayjah Rayjah last Friday; we get special events. Maybe we’ll be in the MMA fight at the War Memorial next week. We have just celebrated a year of opening. We’re also at the Maui Sunday Market. We have been operating this market almost since it opened. They also just celebrated a year. It is also a good market for us.
The Maui Swap Meet is their Saturday morning venue and that means a special breakfast menu.
“Maui Swap Meet is the only place we have breakfast, so we make BLTs, or some kind of classic breakfast sandwich that you can walk around with,” says Timmons. “Breakfast burritos, croissant sandwiches, bacon, egg and cheese. We finally found our nice little niche breakfast menu a few weeks ago and that’s it. I played with it a lot, different breakfast plates, trying this and that. But now I’m like ‘OK, I had breakfast.’ “
The Dope BBQ menu offers five different meat offerings.
“Usually the brisket, ribs, pork belly, pulled pork, chicken are my everyday thing,” says Timmons. “Lately, since Father’s Day, we’ve been making prime rib – not every Sunday, but like every other Sunday when I feel inspired. As soon as the weather permits. This week I’m making a different style of chicken wings because I’m still making smoked thighs. I’m just trying to keep changing because not everyone wants to eat the same thing all the time. I don’t want to eat the same thing all the time. I have to keep it fresh to myself and keep it exciting. We also try to make a special menu. Right now I have a grilled beef brisket, this is the first time I have tried this. Last week we ate a Cuban sandwich.
Dope BBQ also offers street corn – a corn on the cob topped with a divine savory sauce and sprinkled with parma. As I devour the corn, one of their regulars at Swap Meet talks to me while waiting for his order.
“Oh my God, this is the best barbecue on the island, it tastes so good,” he says. “My wife and I sell t-shirts at a stall there, and for lunch that’s what we’ve always done. Their sweet tea is to die for. I get the pulled pork plate. I love pulled pork. Their H-bomb sandwich is good too. My sister got it last week.
I doused the corn with an Arnold Palmer: half sweet tea, half homemade lemonade. The flavors were just right for the heat and the meat. Their sides of coleslaw, cornbread, beans and pickles really complete the meal. Next time I try a sandwich.
“I want to start making other local meats: local pork, local deer,” says Timmons. “I just bought a bow and want to go bow hunting with deer, get my license and everything. It goes well. We are super happy. “
Dope BBQ Food Truck
Fridays to First Friday in Wailuku and Fourth Friday City Holidays in Kihei
Saturdays @ Maui Swap Meet Breakfast and Lunch Menu
Sunday @ Lahaina Gateway Sunday Arts and Crafts Market 9 am-2pm
Sunday @ Maui Sunday Market 4-8 p.m.