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The right way to celebrate burgers and barbequeBy Erica Streisfeld

- Last modified: May 25, 2012 at 4:41 PM
Carolina-style pulled pork barbecue sandwich with fresh-cut fries at Little Black Truck in Harrisburg. Photo/Erica Streisfeld
Carolina-style pulled pork barbecue sandwich with fresh-cut fries at Little Black Truck in Harrisburg. Photo/Erica Streisfeld

Happy national burger and barbeque month! I guess the food gods just couldn’t decide about May, so they made it extra meaty.

Grilling with family and friends is always a crowd-pleaser, but I’ll let you in on a little secret: My gas grill is broken. So while I shop for a new one, I’ll let you in on the real secret: Little Black Truck.

Literally a little black truck, adorned with a pink lady decal, this food truck is parked behind Eye Biz near TecPort Business Center on Paxton Street in Harrisburg. And it’s the home of quite possibly the best Carolina-style pulled pork I’ve ever had.

But while this operation has a tiny venue with a one-man staff, there’s nothing small about the food. Big flavor and big portions are more like it.

Let’s take the pulled pork barbecue sandwich, for example. Owner Port Dare proudly hickory smokes the pork for a whopping 14 hours, then he adds a vinegar-based sauce with just the right amount of heat to it. Presented on a griddle-seared bun large enough for an ogre, this sandwich is simply overflowing with tender pork, and it’s surprisingly only $6. Admittedly, I can only eat half of it in one sitting, so remember to bring your appetite!

Many customers enjoy the pulled pork with Little Black Truck’s homemade coleslaw, but the fresh-cut fries get my vote. Golden, crispy and perfectly seasoned, the fries get me reminiscing about the ones I enjoyed as a kid on the boardwalk. Add cheese and/or bacon if you’re really looking to go over the top.

Ringing up at a mere $5, the half-pound burger made from certified Angus beef is every bit as enormous and delicious as the pork sandwich. Whether you dress up this burger with your choice of toppings or just order meat on a bun, you can taste the freshness — this is what beef should taste like.

If you’re not in the mood for straight-up pork or beef, there are several other specials on the menu. The 100-percent beef hot dogs are handmade fresh in New York, and the big boy grilled cheese features Texas toast stuffed with a spicy cheese blend.

Catch these and other delicious eats at Little Black Truck 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday. I’ve even been there for dinner!

If you’re elsewhere in Central Pennsylvania, here are some other burger and barbecue joints worth sampling:

Big Lou’s Bar-B-Q, 111 E. Princess St., York

Biggs BBQ & Burrito, 2005 Miller Road, East Petersburg

Corner Stables, 2573 S. Queen St., York

The Jackson House, 1004 N. Sixth St., Harrisburg

Joe’s Famous American Kitchen, 608 Richmond Drive, Suite 109, Lancaster

MoMo’s BBQ & Grill, 307 Market St., Harrisburg

A Moveable Feast, Harrisburg and Mechanicsburg

Mr. G’s Sports Bar, 3745 N. Sixth St., Harrisburg

Red Rabbit Drive In, 31 Grandview Drive, Duncannon

Top That Restaurant & Catering, 123 Main St., Palmyra

How will you celebrate this meaty month?

Erica Streisfeld is the editor for custom publishing at Journal Publications Inc., parent company of the Central Penn Business Journal. She moonlights as a foodie and wino, and many people also know her as founder and organizer of the Harrisburg Cupcake Cup, a community cupcake competition that doubles as a fundraiser for the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank. Follow her at @HbgFoodandWine.