- Griffin Swartzell
- Chef Faulkner says 'it's just a burger.' This is a lie.
Executive Chef Jamie Faulkner certainly knows how to entertain. When we order a mess of food from his truck, Wild Goose Catering & BBQ (no relation to the downtown coffee spot), he introduces us to his signature burger. As the story goes, the former CSU Pueblo chef was at a cooking competition, and he'd prepared a herculean Kobe beef burger, piled high with barbecued meats and held together with a steak knife. When the judges asked what it was, he answered "it's just a burger."
Faulkner swapped out the gourmet elements to drop the price from $40 to $14, but the towering sandwich we receive suggests his story is more than just sound and fury. A one-third-pound beef patty meets pulled pork, brisket, cole slaw, an onion ring and a slice of tomato. The patty comes well done and a skosh dry, but there's enough moisture from the barbecue and slaw that it's hard to notice. Leaving aside the "is a fork-and-knife burger really a burger?" debate, there's a lot of good food in this box.
Before he opened the Goose, Faulkner graduated from the local Paragon Culinary School. He has over eight years' experience in the food industry, going from retirement-community line chef to restaurant owner. He also owned The Reserve at the now-closed Gold Rush Hotel & Casino in Cripple Creek.
Right now, the Goose does most of its business on Schriever Air Force Base, though the truck serves JAKs Brewing Company on Monday nights. Faulkner plans to expand the Goose's route in the near future, with times and locations to be posted on Facebook.
Though Faulkner is capable of more than barbecue, the truck's menu anchored itself to pulled pork — 300 to 350 pounds a week, smoked with a mix of apple, hickory, oak and occasionally apricot woods. It comes tender as can be, whether in a sandwich, atop a smoked potato, in a burrito, or on nachos, all under $10, or by the pound.
We skip the sandwich for all three other options. Nachos come piled high with pig, peppers, pickled veggies, industrial nacho cheese and sour cream. The loaded smoked potato also satisfies, heaped with pork, grilled onions and sour cream. But our favorite of the three: the burrito, which sees pulled pork, green chilies and onions packed into a 12-inch jalapeño tortilla.
Really, form is a matter of preference — they all function as vehicles and accompaniments for pork. We're happy with the barbecue sauce selections, too. The molasses-backed sweet bears decent depth of flavor, while the watery hot shows vinegar bite, pepper spice and flavor beside. Mild dials back the hot both in terms of heat and tartness, and it's thicker to boot.
There's brisket, too, and our sandwich bears substantial juicy meat under a tomato slice and buttery onion ring. Beef lovers will be satisfied, no doubt.
Like the main dishes, sides come in huge portions. Sweet potato fries rank just fine, and baked beans taste sweet, simple and canned. We're happier with the brownies, fudgy and pleasant.
With massive portions of good meat for a good price, often served with a good story, the only thing Faulkner's truck lacks is a green salad, preferably with Lipitor as croutons.