June 17, 2013 at 10:03 AM ET
When it comes to the best food trucks in the nation, Brooklyn-based Red Hook Lobster Pound has everyone eating its tasty lobster rolls and the competition eating its exhaust.
In an annual food truck ranking by the website The Daily Meal, Red Hook Lobster Pound was recently named No. 1 in the country – thanks to its delicious lobster rolls. Owner Susan Povich, 49, a daughter of talk show host Maury Povich, rolled up to Rockefeller Plaza on TODAY Monday to serve up her specialty and talk about reaching the top of the food (truck) chain.
“I was absolutely blindsided and thrilled,’’ she said about the honor. “It was so nice to see our hard work recognized.”
Red Hook Lobster Pound’s food truck was ranked No. 11 in last year’s Daily Meal list before shooting to the top this summer. This is the second year that The Daily Meal has done the rankings as the popularity of food trucks continues to rise. Red Hook Lobster Pound beat out 449 food trucks from more than 40 cities, including last year’s winner, Los Angeles-based Kogi BBQ, which took second this year.
“I don’t know, maybe the lobsters did something,’’ Povich joked. “I have no idea.’’
Povich claims there is no special secret to her popular lobster rolls, just great ingredients.
“Lobster rolls are really all about the lobster,’’ she said. “We spend a lot of time up in Maine sourcing the best, freshest lobster. It’s also about the bun, and believe it or not, we also bring our buns down from Maine, too.’’
Povich grew up in Washington D.C. and spent summers in Maine, where much of her extended family is from. For the last five years, she and husband Ralph Gorham have been dishing out seafood delights from their truck. They also run the popular Red Hook Lobster Pound restaurant in Red Hook, Brooklyn, and have opened a store on Montauk, New York, in conjunction with Sweet ’Tauk Lemonade. Povich says the truck presents challenges that the brick-and-mortar establishments don’t have to face.
“It is really hard working in a truck,’’ Povich said. “It’s a very confined area, you have to be worried about the generators and diesel and parking meter ladies and all sorts of things you don’t have to think about in a restaurant.’’
The work is also nonstop given the popularity of the lobster rolls, which feature a quarter pound of fresh Maine lobster. Every Tuesday, the truck parks at the intersection of 50th Street and Sixth Avenue in Manhattan and sells between three to four hundred of their $16 lobster rolls every two hours, according to Povich. The truck has also developed regular clientele.
“I have one lady, she must be about 75 years old,’’ Povich said. “She comes for a quart of pickles every Tuesday.’’
While whipping up some lobster rolls for the TODAY anchors on Monday, Povich shared her recipe for the treat that helped her reach the top. To get the full list of winning food trucks, click here.
Red Hook Lobster Pound's Lobster Roll:
Boil 3 live lobsters for 12 minutes (hardshell) or 8 minutes (softshell) in four inches of saltwater with a couple stalks of celery, 1/2 cup of white wine, about 4 sprigs of thyme, and half an onion.
Chop tail meat into 1" chunks, remove knuckles and claws whole and refrigerate for 1 hour.
My homemade mayo is your traditional mayonnaise made with soy oil, lemon juice and pasteurized egg yolks.
Mix the lobster meat with about a quarter cup of mayo – just enough to hold the meat together. You want to do this when the lobster is cold or the mayo will melt. Add 1/2 teaspoon white pepper, 1 teaspoon sea salt, 1/2 cup of finely chopped celery. This is your mixture.
Take a Country Kitchen Top Split hot dog bun and brush with butter, then heat on the grill.
Once bun is ready, add in lobster salad mixture, add in 1/4 cup finely-shredded iceberg lettuce.
Top with chopped scallions and a little paprika.