Anthony Martino opened Gabi’s Smoke Shack mobile barbecue kitchen (gabismokeshack.com, 459-8446) in 2011 with a mission to “bring a little bit of Texas to New England.” He had worked in the restaurant business for over 20 years before moving from Houston to New Hampshire in 2000. When he noticed that there weren’t many options for barbecue in the area, he decided to take on the job himself. Gabi’s offers beef brisket, pulled pork, Texas hot links, pork ribs, chicken and smoked pork loin. Currently, the trailer is only available for catering at special events, but a permanent Gabi’s storefront is projected to open on Aug. 1 at 217 Rockingham Road in Londonderry.
What is your must-have cooking utensil?
That would be my carving knife that I use for my brisket. Well, I have several of them, so it just depends on the mood. I would say that and my smoker, because you can’t have barbecue without a good smoker.
What is your favorite local eatery?
Surf Restaurant. When they first opened up, my wife and I went there looking for seafood and a place to be alone and enjoy dinner and a few drinks. The food was excellent and the service was impeccable. When I want to be waited on, that’s the place I go.
What would you choose for your last meal?
It’s a seafood stew from Surf. It’s got mussels, clams, scallops, fish with a wonderfully spicy broth. Of course, I’d have to start out with the fried green tomato salad.
What celebrity would you like to share a meal with?
Back when I was in the restaurant business in Houston, we did backstage catering at the Summit, which was a big venue where they had basketball and concerts, so I’ve eaten with just about everyone. But one person I’d really like to have dinner with would be Thomas Edison because of his inventor-type mentality. I would like to know how he came up with his ideas, like the light bulb.
What is your favorite item on your menu?
Beef brisket. It’s interesting — people in the Northeast still ask me what beef brisket is, and typically when I cut off a little piece and give it to them to taste, they have a smile on their face and their head is bobbing up and down like, ‘Yeah, I understand why now.’ That’s one of my favorite things to cook. When it’s done right, it just melts in your mouth without being mushy or overcooked.
What is your favorite meal to cook at home?
Italian. [I] do a homemade tomato sauce with pork and sausage and meatballs, and it’s a family affair. Just about everyone we know comes over.
What is your favorite part of working a mobile eatery?
The people. This is the second year we’ve been doing motorcycle night in Lowell, and we’ve made some great friends, and they bring their friends, and it’s an awesome experience. We also do the food truck festival in Portsmouth, and we’re getting ready to do the Granite State Brewers Festival. Plus we work with a nonprofit that’s near and dear to our hearts called Girls at Work … so it’s definitely about meeting the people. — Angie Sykeny