With a heart for community, faith, and good BBQ, Ken Smeader, owner of Skinny Kenny’s BBQ food truck, launched into the BBQ business following his retirement from serving as a pastor for 18 years. With a logo designed by a friend, a smoker gifted for his retirement, and an awesome deal on a food truck, Ken jumped headfirst into the food truck industry.
“Food for the body and for the soul” is the slogan written across the side of Skinny Kenny’s BBQ truck, which is a business grown from a combination of Ken’s passions. “Of course, from my background, biblically, the community was what Jesus was all about,” said Ken. “No matter really what you eat, whether you eat meat or a salad, we gather and that breaks down barriers and allows us to have more freedom and fun.”
Business in March, April, and May took a hit, but the innovation of events and celebrations to include food trucks has filled Ken’s schedule since June. “If God was going to put us in a spot to begin something like this, He must have known what He was doing, because this certainly has been a great year to be doing food trucks,” said Ken.
Using a reverse-flow smoker, with quality wood and meat, BBQ is the shining star of the menu, but lately, the beans and banana cream pudding have also been selling out. The pudding recipe is one that has been a part of Ken’s family for years. “I always get a banana cream pie on my birthday, historically, because I don’t like cake. The banana cream pie, it’s kind of a Southern dish, but my wife has the recipe and it just rocks your world.”
New to the food truck business and community, Ken has felt very supported by his experience with other vendors thus far. “I don’t sense a spirit of competition,” said Ken. “The whole community is pretty amazing and always very helpful. Some of the old veterans that have been around the block a number of years look out for us new guys and make sure we’re doing okay. So, I’ve been really blessed and encouraged.”
While Ken’s schedule is full of private events, he is planning to attend food truck rallies when available. The next rally on his schedule is September 4. “If you come down, if you get there early, you may get some banana pudding,” said Ken.