Chow Down In Milwaukee

Restaurant Reviews

The Only Charcoal Fired Food Truck - Wickedly Good

I went to the Wicked Urban Grill food truck last week at Lake Park to review their fish fry. I was shocked to see that the fish and chips on the hand written chalkboard was crossed out. I asked Geoffrey Cooper, one of the chefs of this three man food truck, what that was about.

“We had over 65 orders for fish in less than an hour,” says Cooper. “It’s not a record, but it’s our first Friday here and we were rained out on Wednesday-” their first day at Lake Park as they follow the Sprecher Traveling Beer Garden.

Instead of trying the fish and chips, Cooper offered up the Milwaukee Pretzel with cheese and the Pork slider with fries. Other items on the menu include: a smoke sausage, brat with fries, the wicked dog with fries, pork fries and cheese curds.

Cooper’s specialty is grilling and bakery. He used to work at Disney World in central Florida, which is also where he designed the Urban Grill’s menu.

The Milwaukee Pretzel with cheese

Since May 10th, the Urban Food truck has sold over 4,000 Milwaukee Pretzels. Once you order the pretzel, it’s deep fried for a mere 15 seconds and served within 30.

The brown look of the outside made me think, ok, this is going to be crispy and chewy. It’s absolutely the opposite; it’s definitely fried just enough to get a slight crisp exterior while also maintaining its airy inside. The texture is a cross between a pastry and a croissant, very lightweight. However, while it is light, it’s so big that it covers an entire paper plate, leaving you happy and satisfied after you’ve finished.

What made the pretzel top of the notch was the sprinkling of Urban Grill’s garlic salt which is smoked on charcoal overnight. Every time I took a bite I had to lick my fingers and wipe my hands on the napkin. I love salt on my pretzel and I love garlic, so this made the pretzel ten times better than any of the others I’ve had in the past.

Accompanied by the pretzel is their Sprecher Ale beer cheese sauce. Immediately after dunking my pretzel I taste the beer; it’s a true beer cheese. The beer taste is prominent but not overpowering and the cheese flavor was rich. Since they’ve started the tour, the Wicked Urban Grill has made over 300 gallons of this beer cheese sauce.

Pork Slider with Fries

Roasted at 450/500 degrees for almost two hours, the pork loin is tender with very little fat, if none at all. It’s seasoned with the overnight smoked garlic salt and their homemade Italian seasoning.

Right away I could taste the smoky flavor and could smell the charcoal it was roasted on. When I tried a piece of pork that sat right on the grill, I suddenly tasted the charring essence that comes from the charcoal. This hearty and robust pork was cooked extremely well.

“It’s not pulled pork,” says Cooper. Instead, it’s good size chunks that are sliced and torn off the pork loin. They give you two large handful-sized portions that are placed on top a French roll they get from Chicago. It’s served open-faced so the juices from the pork seep through and coat the bread, infusing it with the flavor of the meat.

Served alongside the pork slider are hand cut potatoes, either Russet or Idaho depending on which one Cooper decides. He knows just the right amount of time to cook them, since each one requires different timing in the fryer.

These, too, are topped with the Italian seasoning and smoked garlic salt which hits your taste buds right away; the potatoes burst with flavor. The thick fries are just slightly crispy and have a great potato taste. According to Cooper, they’ve served over 125 pounds of potatoes since the beginning of the tour.

What goes great with the pork is their house made Wicked Urban Grill sauce. “We’ve made this sauce since 1973,” says Cooper. The sauce isn’t your traditional BBQ sauce – it’s way better and you can tell it’s homemade. Known as “Truck Stuff”, this sauce has a mild heat and a splendid tanginess to it. I love the addition of sauce with my meat and this added to the whole experience. After eating half of the pork piece by piece, I picked up the roll, smothered the pork in sauce and ate the slider.

Their claim to fame is being Milwaukee’s only charcoal fired food truck; and, as their website states, “With a full sized grill on board the truck, we can provide super-fast service. No one waits at the Wicked Urban Grill.”

Lake Park

The Sprecher Traveling Beer Garden and Wicked Urban Grill are open Monday thru Friday from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. until August 6th.

Around 7:00 p.m. when I got there for my tasting I could see 16 tables on the grassy area in front of the Wicked Urban Grill, with most of them already being occupied. The live music playing caused kids to dance and adults to bob their heads as they enjoyed their meals.

Being so popular on only their second day, I can imagine the crowd will grow from day to day. I must say, if the Milwaukee Pretzel and the Pork slider tasted as good as it did, it’s a must that I go back this Friday to try their Fish Fry.

--Amanda Maniscalco--


Traveling Food Truck
FB: @WickedUrbanGrill
6 a.m. – 10 p.m. daily
Street parking or festival/grounds parking
Reservations not required

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