Doveshack BBQ, Fredericksburg and Stafford, Virginia

On our way back from our abortive trip to the Pottery Barn outlet in Fredericksburg and a successful lunch at the Mason-Dixon Cafe, Nancy and I took a leisurely drive through the Fredericksburg historic district, and then headed back to Cove Point. We were innocently driving along when I spotted a food truck and a big old smoker.

I pulled over and ordered a pork sandwich, no sauce. During the brief wait for it, I moseyed around back to see the smoker and met Isaac Dove, hard at work. He’s a big friendly guy, and I’m betting ex-military. He has a lot of presence. He gave me a look at his smoker in action, loaded with brisket and pork shoulders. Beautiful.

I should have included Mr. Dove in that picture, but for some reason I was transfixed by the meat. Maybe next time.

I got my sandwich.

Isn’t that a nice rough chop? I took a taste of the meat and it was delicious. It had a pronounced smoky flavor from the red oak and hickory — mostly the former, I believe. The smoke flavor beautifully complemented the richness of the pork. It immediately reminded me of the barbecue at B’s Cracklin’ BBQ in Savannah (and now Atlanta), which often finds its way onto national Best Lists. Isaac Dove’s barbecue claims to be Texas-style — he’s from Elgin, Texas, just east of Austin — but I never could find pork like this in Texas, at least not that far west. With the pork so good, I really want to try his Texas-style brisket.

The Doveshack — Mr. Dove, anyway — has two trucks, one each in Fredericksburg and Stafford. Both cook exclusively with wood: no gas or electricity. In Fredericksburg, the Doveshack truck is parked on Kings Highway just east of the Highmark Brewery, a beer hall and music venue, one of whose Google reviews is, quote, “Awesome place for a 1st year old’s birthday party!” There’s a story there.

The Stafford location is actually just outside of Garrisonville (in Stafford County). It’s just below the southern end of the I-95 express lanes. Take the Aquia Harbor exit and head west on Garrisonville Road. The truck is on the right just where Garrisonville Road’s divided lanes end.

The Doveshack thus is strategically situated. Whether headed north or south on I-95, you have an option to take a break when you hit the in legendary Fredericksburg Back-up. Rather than sit in your car and scream and pound your steering wheel like everyone else, you can veer off and take a lovely drive through the rolling Virginia countryside and grab a delicious sandwich or two. Then, with a full stomach and a light heart, you can meander back to I-95 somewhere on the other side of Fredericksburg, and continue your journey in a state of bliss.

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