First Look

Swanky's Low and Slow Barbecue Serves Nomadic Artisan Street Food

Aside from the occasional hot dog, it's difficult to find food served from street carts in Broward or Palm Beach these days. But the pulled pork sandwich from Swanky's Low and Slow Barbecue out of Lake Worth is argument enough for a return to street cookery. The clean, shiny, silver street cart serves its sandwiches on a sturdy kaiser roll overflowing with pork that's smoked for more than 12 hours and finished in the oven for another 18. It's topped with a unique slaw made with red cabbage, carrots, granny smith apples, scallion, and lots of celery seed, then dusted with Swanky's own peppery dry rub. I really enjoyed the smoky, tender pork with bits of well-done bark against the cool, fresh slaw, especially when spritzed with a little bit of peppery vinegar sauce and dipped liberally into one of Swanky's three other sauces.

My favorite sauce of the bunch was the tangy Alabama white, a coating uncommon to South Florida that's made with vinegar and mayonnaise. Both the other sauces available from squirt bottles were great too: The tart mustard sauce was spicy and thick; the semi-sweet tomato-based sauce was thinner than most (a pleasant change). All of them were intensely peppery and paired well with the pork. And the whole package cost just $6 -- a great price for such well-constructed 'cue.

Swanky's is run by Steve Russo and Armand Ignelzi, two guys with a yen for what they call "nomadic, artisan-style street barbecue." The pair pull their cart up outside of concert venues and special events like Saturday night's Holiday Drive at JD's Bar in Coral Springs, where more than a hundred music fans gathered to participate in a charity drive and watch bands like Ignelzi's own Black Weather Shaman perform. I bought a sandwich from Russo as he explained their barbecue process to me, and a line of half-a-dozen hungry fans quickly formed around the cart. As Ignelzi dished up plates, people cooed over the sandwiches. I nearly ordered a second one as well, even though I was too full to attempt it. 
Swanky's started a little over a month ago slinging 'cue at places like Kreepy Tiki

Tattoo in Fort Lauderdale and Propaganda in Lake Worth; recently

they've even been hauling their pork outside of strip clubs for folks

who work up big appetites within. Since the pair serve at different venues each week, Russo keeps fans hip to where Swanky's will be via updates on its Facebook and Twitter pages. "Our goal is to tie in great barbecue with things that we love: hanging out, drinking, and music," says Russo. "We want to show people that food sold on the street can be good if you put some pride, heart, and soul into your product."

So far, Swanky's is doing just that. Its smoky pork sandwiches would be good if sold out of a brick and mortar building, let alone a street cart. More important, Swanky's is helping to create a street food scene where one didn't exist before. "Food does bring people together as a community," says Russo. "By bringing

food in as another element to our music scene and our counterculture,

it's one more facet that makes things more interesting and fun."