The enticing aroma hits you as soon as you get near the bright yellow Curley's Q food truck. That's because David Cornblatt believes in the art of low and slow smoking. His beef brisket, pork ribs and chicken go into the smoker 12 to 15 hours before they are served to his customers in downtown Silver Spring.
"Everything we do is authentically smoked, and I believe in that," said Cornblatt, the owner of Curley's Q BBQ. "It's all done with just hardwood and charcoal. There's no gas and no electricity. It's very old-fashioned."
Cornblatt began pursuing his passion in earnest last March. He owned a successful liquidation company for 20 years, but sold it to do what he loves. That is, making authentic barbecue and serving it with a side of good cheer.
"It's really about affecting people in a positive way, putting smiles on people's faces and having them forget about work for an hour," said Cornblatt.
Jokes and laughter are part of the charm for customers lined up at Curley's Q in the 8600 block of Colesville Road. The food truck usually parks near the front of the downtown Silver Spring post office on Thursdays. American music classics coming from the truck's speakers keep patrons entertained.
During the warm months, customers can join in karaoke fun and follow lyrics on the truck's video monitor. For the colder weather, Cornblatt added a text, grab and go service.
"I had heard of Curley's BBQ from my co-workers, and I was very excited to try it today," said Meghan Elliott, an Arlington resident and new customer.
Cornblatt grew up in Montgomery County. He started honing his barbecue skills at age 16 after giving his mom a smoker for Mother's Day. He never made another gift mistake like that one, but the joy of cooking and smoking meats stayed with him.
"Everything we do has no sauce on it. I believe you should taste the meat, and then if you want, kick it up a notch with sauces," Cornblatt added.
The smoked meats at Curley's Q can be ordered as a sandwich, a plate or by the pound. There is a vinegar-based sauce called Love Potion #9 and a sweeter BBQ sauce with a little mustard added. You can also get a new horseradish sauce on the brisket or other sandwiches. Regular patrons are more than happy with the choices.
"It is my favorite, food truck or otherwise," said Ashley David, a DC resident. "The brisket is so good. I've been coming back whenever he is here."
John Walker is back for the third time. "I enjoy the ribs, primarily," said the DC resident. "They are pretty much lean, and just have a wonderful taste to them."
An Annapolis resident heard about Curley Q's from his sister. Today, he is excited about trying a Preuben, a pulled pork sandwich with Swiss cheese, sauerkraut and thousand island dressing.
"I go to a lot of good barbecue places, and I can honestly say by far this is the best," said Garrett Davis, a Curley's Q patron.
Cornblatt has created several specialty sandwiches to give his followers variety, including The Merkin, The Big Ed and The Glo-vina. There is even a veggie burger on the menu.
All solo and plate items come with a Kaiser roll, homemade coleslaw and a jalapeno pepper. You also get one side dish and a bag of chips with plate orders. Prices range from $8 to $25.
Curley's Q is one of Washingtonian magazine's favorite food trucks. Even Cornblatt's ex-wife rates his barbecue as the best. However, he does not plan to pursue competition trophies to prove it.
"When I see my regulars come back, I realize I'm winning. As I see new customers show up, I realize that I'm successful in what I'm doing," said Cornblatt.
Curley's Q BBQ can be booked for fundraisers, corporate events and private parties, with or without the truck. You can track weekly stops on FoodTruckFiesta, Facebook and Twitter. The locations, menu and prices are also available on the food truck's website.
Note: This is a food truck profile, not a review. Opinions expressed do not represent the ideas of the writer or Patch