Talking BBQ with The Butt Hutt Smokehouse Talking BBQ with Butt Hutt Smokehouse

Published July 11, 2015 in Dining & Nightlife -

Smoked brisket with onions, peppers and cheese. Also comes with egg on top! Photo courtesy Butt Hutt Smokehouse.

1. Tell us about Butt Hutt Smokehouse

Butt Hutt Smokehouse is about two Florida boys putting our twist on smokehouse favorites. We believe in clean ingredients, simple techniques and we never forget that our products feed your family.

2. What sort of food do you feature?

We're all about BBQ - smoked meats and scratch made sides. Our core menu consists of 4 meats and 3 sides. We offer Southern Pecan Smoked Brisket, Caramelized Pork Butts, Caramelized Smoked Turkey and Smoked Sausage. Our core sides are Chili Lime Cilantro Slaw, Sweet Heat Baked Beans and fries.

3. What's special about your cooking?

Everything is special about our cooking to us. It’s what we love to do and what we believe in it. Our smoking process, the wood we use and the time and love that goes into it.

4. What attracted you to a barbecue style food truck?

Smokehouse barbecue is simple and just down right delicious.

5. Do you smoke your food on the truck?

Not in the truck, just outside of it. We have a 125 gallon custom smoker made just for us from Firebrand Smokers.

6. Why do you smoke with pecan wood?

For me I believe it offers a subtle sweet smoke flavor. I never really enjoyed the flavor of oak or mesquite, it's just too easy to over smoke using them.

Pulled Pork Empanada with slaw. Photo courtesy Butt Hutt Smokehouse.

7. Can you describe your smoking style?

Low and slow. Prepping the meat properly is just as important as the smoking process. We first remove the unwanted fat on the pork then we use our caramelizing dry rub and Southern pecan dry rub and then off to the pit it goes.

8. Where did you learn to smoke meat?

Trial and error in my backyard on a tiny little smoker that only fits about two butts!

Butt Hutt - beans
Home baked beans

9. Do you smoke any of your sides?

We do a Smoked Poblano Corn Bread. We smoke the peppers and finish the loaves in the smoker

10. How did you come up with your menu?

Trial and error mostly! All of our recipes are our own and we are open to criticism.

11. Do you make your own sausages?

Not yet!

12. Is there any seasonality to your menu?

Not currently, but we'd like to offer seasonal dishes in the future, once we get more established.

13. What would you recommend for a first time visitor to get a sense of your cooking?

Our Southern Pecan Smoked Brisket sandwich with slaw on top and a side of our beans. I like to dip the sandwich in the beans!

Smoked Brisket sandwich with cole slaw

14. Do you have signature items that people would associate with Butt Hutt Smokehouse?

All of our meats are signature items - they're unique to us and prepared with our own scratch made rubs and marinades.

15. Any hidden gems on the truck?

Our Smokehouse Sausage Philly is made with fresh smoked sausage, sautéed peppers and onions with garlic butter, and cheese. I like mine with our slaw on top. It’s a Philly but we do it our way!

16. Can you tell us about yourselves?

We're Miles O’Kelly and Jacob Bander. Running a food truck is a learning process, much like anything in life. We share any and all of the roles at The Butt Hutt Smokehouse. It’s a family business so we always help each other however we can.  

17. When did you decide to go into business together?

It is something that we have talked about for years so when the opportunity became available we seized it!

18. Have you owned a restaurant before?

No, other than the Bander’s Sauce Company we have never owned a food business.

Bander’s Sauces

19. How did you learn to cook?

Jacob: I learned most of my culinary skills from my Mom, Grampa (Poppy Herb) and Chef David Witt (Owner of Harpoon Louies and previous owner of Henreitta’s at 9th & Main). I worked at both locations under Chef Witt and also spent some time at Mossfire Grill cooking under Chef Sara Balabin. I would describe my style of cooking as eclectic, bold and flavorful.

Miles: as a child I grew up cooking alongside my mother. Later I honed my culinary skills working along side Karl Sigren, the previous owner of Harpoon Louies. I would describe my style of cooking as savory, simple and delicious.

20. Can you tell us about Bander's Sauce Company?

It was started in 2011. We have 5 sauces and 4 dry rubs. The Original sauce is a thick tomato based sauce with caramelized onions and whisky. Momma’s Southern Mustard is a bold mustard and apple cider vinegar base. Coconut Curry Honey Mustard is a game changer with sage and local fall honey. Sweet Heat is a tomato based sauce with fresh ghost peppers and, last but not least, Liquid Gold is a vinegar based sauce with brown sugar and a nice sweet bite. We also use it as an injection with most of our meats.

Jacob: We started with just the original butt sauce then my wife convinced me to make a mustard sauce. I remember her saying: “babe, we are in the South and you need to have a mustard sauce.” So that’s how Momma’s Southern mustard came to be. Liquid Gold was a total accident that I was luckily able to recreate! Coconut Curry Honey Mustard is my twist on BBQ sauce. Honey and mustard go together and coconut and curry go well, so I wanted to find a common ground to morph the two sauces into one really unique tasting sauce. Sweet Heat is my new favorite - it is essentially Liquid Gold with some ghost peppers and some other secrets folded in. I think the distinct depth and flavor profile of each sauce is what makes them so special.

21. How do you use the sauces on your food truck?

Most of our meats are injected with Liquid Gold and dry rubbed with our caramelizing house rub, except the brisket, which gets our Southern Pecan dry rub. Our beans have Liquid Gold and so does our Slaw.

22. Do you sell the sauces separately on the truck?

Yes we do. We offer all of our sauces and rubs on our truck and on our website, as well as at both AA Bottled Gas locations - 12601 N. Main Street and 450044 State Road 200 in Callahan.

Jacob Bander and Miles O'Kelly

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(904) 482-7512


About the writer interviews are conducted by Jacksonville Beach resident Gerry Glynn. When Gerry isn't talking with restauranteurs he is working for a local software company, training for his next road race, and hanging out with his wife and dog.

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