If you approach Mark Rutherford’s food truck Pork ‘N’ Beans expecting to purchase pork and beans – well, that’s exactly what you’ll get.
“Pork!” Rutherford exclaimed. “We do pork. We are heavily influenced by Texas barbeque as I grew up there. As we grow, we hope our menu will reflect pork dishes from all over the world, but for the moment, Texas barbeque, Mexican and Asian influences are the key flavours.”
So yes, while you will find pork ‘n’ beans, you’ll also find a range of exciting and diverse ingredients. “We put Kimchi on our Adult Mac ‘N’ Cheese and our Korean Sandwich. Kimchi and Smoked Pork are indescribably good,” Rutherford told us. “We do have a few odd ingredients, like a Vietnamese dipping sauce and a Japanese dried fish in some of our items, but I can’t say more without giving away my secrets!”
Rutherford came from an IT background but spent time in London working pop-ups, markets and events with Josh Ebsworth of Howard's Meat Co. It was at this time that he learnt the techniques of low and slow Texas barbeque. The thrill of sharing these techniques is what inspired Rutherford to begin his own venture in Auckland.
“Just over six years ago I got sober,” he said. “In my sobriety, I found this amazing rush in watching other experience my food. Seeing the look on someone's face, or the noise someone makes when they really enjoy my food keeps me going. A professional might suggest I swapped one addiction for another, but I’m enjoying this one.”
Rutherford uses classic Texan barbeque techniques, low and slow smoking as well as braising. They make everything except the buns from scratch in the truck, which can pose some problems, but nothing Rutherford can’t handle. “I would love a bigger smoker, and you can never have enough fridge space, but half the fun of working in street food is figuring out how to make it work.”
For Rutherford, however, part of the fun is making the truck work for him – at 6’ 4”, he had to get the truck specially made.
As an Austin native, Rutherford can’t pass up the opportunity for live music and thoroughly enjoys catering for music events. Busy but steady is his favoured speed. “Having time to talk with your customers is one of the upsides of street food, and having ten minutes to catch up with other street food vendors is a bonus,” he said. “We all work similar hours so finding time to meet up isn’t easy. It’s great to have a few minutes to see how folks are doing, swap stories and talk cooking.”
Rutherford admits that his ultimate goal to take over the world may be somewhat unattainable, so right now is simply focusing on succeeding. Eventually, he would like to serve his food in a bar kitchen or small brewery. “No one goes into business looking to fail, and I’m the same,” he said. “I want to enjoy the ride of taking something from an idea and seeing it come to life and evolve. The future is open, and I’m excited to see where it takes us!”
That, and the reintroduction of the meatloaf to the mainstream.
“I’m still holding out hope that I can bring meatloaf back to the masses. It’s pretty darn good, and everyone that tries it agrees.”