2:07 p.m.: At 33rd and Arch streets, the center of Drexel’s food truck mecca, a man (who introduces himself as Haamza, Adriano’s assistant) is helping Adriano carefully squeeze the BrazBQ truck into a recently vacated spot between the Mac Mart and Say Cheese food trucks.
2:10 p.m.: We’re all shivering until Adriano fires up the charcoal bed, which sits underneath the rotisserie he built and installed on his own. He sets a whole, skinned pineapple, coated in cinnamon sugar, to roast.
2:15 p.m.: After a minute of knife sharpening (a lot of fun in close quarters), Adriano slices the picanha into several large pieces. He bends two into crescent moons and slides them onto a long, three–pronged steel skewer. After seasoning with garlic, salt and pepper, the meat is set to turn on the charcoal rotisserie grill.
2:20 p.m.: The first customer of the afternoon orders a Brazilian cheese steak. A giant portion of chimichurri–marinated sirloin chunks is thrown on the griddle, along with a heap of sautéed onions. It smells so good that even the shivering customer cracks a smile.
2:25 p.m.: A steady stream of customers starts and many of them also order the popular Brazilian cheese steak. Haamza springs into action, helping assemble the sandwiches while Adriano works the griddle. The prep cycle is about six minutes from start to end: cook sirloin, melt cheese, toast bun and assemble sandwich with lettuce, tomato and fresh chimichurri.
2:32 p.m.: Adriano slices a few pieces of pineapple for me to try. It’s absolutely incredible. He laughs at the expression on my face.
2:35 p.m.: A shy new customer struggles to pronounce “guarana.” Embarassed, he points to the can of Red Bull–like Brazilian soda on display. Adriano jokes with him about it and walks him through the pronunciation: “Gwa–ra–na. The soda’s actually named after a berry from the Amazon Rainforest.” “Oh cool. Ga–ra–na?” “Nonono, GWA. Ra. Na.”
2:52 p.m.: An order comes in for the “Big Burger.” Adriano pulls the roasting picanha from the rotisserie and slices several pieces onto the griddle. The outside is beautifully finished and the layer of fat is well–rendered, but the rare center is finished off by the griddle. A slice of ham, chunks of bacon and a fried egg join the roasted sirloin. The toasted bun can hardly hold it all, but Adriano piles it even higher with corn, potato sticks, fresh chimichurri and his homemade green mayonnaise. The customer leaves flabbergasted.
3:04 p.m.: The steady stream of customers slows to a trickle, but I’m reluctant to leave the warmth of the truck. Adriano whips me up an enormous Big Burger, on the house. I practically sprint to the nearest Drexel food court and scarf it down before it gets cold. So. Good.