Orlando’s Smoke and Donuts has been making a name for itself with local foodies, and I recently headed to A la Cart Orlando to check them out.
Owned and operated by Ian Russell, a High-Honors graduate of the Culinary Institute of America (C.I.A.) in Hyde Park, New York, Smoke & Donuts focuses on oak-smoked barbecue utilizing various Southern smoking techniques and seasoning profiles found in Texas, Tennessee, and the Carolinas.
But where did the donuts part come from? Chef Ian says when he was deciding what kind of food truck he wanted to operate, he was leaning towards the BBQ, but his wife was a huge fan of donuts. So he decided to do both…and a great choice it turned out to be!
The menu features oak-smoked meats including USDA Prime Brisket, Carolina pulled pork, and brown-butter turkey breast, served in platters, and both classic and signature Pitmaster sandwiches.
Since Smoke and Donuts covers the Southern belt of BBQ, my guest and I decided to try a little bit off the different sections of the menu.
I tried the signature 1,121 Road Trip Sandwich with made with chopped brisket & pulled pork tossed with a trio of housemade sauces – guava-quince, toasted guajillos, and green sauce – topped with pickled red onions, cabbage slaw, and jalapeno kettle chips (his wife’s contribution), and served on a toasted Olde Hearth potato roll.
As you can tell it’s a hearty sandwich full of flavors and textures, and it was so amazingly good I had to force myself to stop eating it so I had room to try the other things we ordered.
My guest went traditional with the classic chopped brisket sandwich, topped with cucumber & cabbage slaw, pickles and onions, and served on a Olde Hearth potato roll. It was also delicious. The brisket had a lot of flavor, and it also paired well with the addition of a drizzle of Chef Russell’s housemade Kansas City Sweet BBQ sauce.
And let’s take a moment to talk about Smoke and Donuts’ housemade sauces. While the meats are extremely tasty on their own, the sauces added an extra layer of mouthwatering flavor. Of the seven (yes, SEVEN) sauces we tried, our overall favorites were the aforementioned KC Sweet, and the Toasted Guajillo, especially when mixed together. But for the pulled pork, we definitely enjoyed the Alabama White with that.
In addition to the sandwiches, we shared a side of Roasted & Smashed Red Potatoes that we hear are a guest favorite. The potatoes are topped with brisket burnt ends and a classic Italian garlic and lemon gremolata, which gives the dish an interesting flavor profile, while cutting through the heaviness of the meat and potatoes.
We also tried a few slices of the Turkey Breast finished with brown butter, and y’all, it’s seriously one of the best BBQ turkey breast I’ve ever tasted. I’m putting this on my menu for Thanksgiving.
But what about the donuts you’re saying…yes, we tried those, too. They’re fresh fried when you order, so they’re crispy on the outside and pillow-y on the inside.
We tried the Stevie-Paul with a vanilla glaze and Hershey’s chocolate chips (which get gooey from the heat of the freshmade donut), and another one with Nutella, but our favorite was The Salty Englishman. This donut is topped with a Maker’s Mark bourbon and maple glaze, crushed Heath bar pieces, and dusted with sea salt. It was the perfect finish to all of the BBQ, and we almost fought over the last piece.
Smoke and Donuts is top-notch BBQ, and the freshmade donuts will satisfy any sweet tooth. They’ll even combine the two into a brisket donut sandwich (it was really good, though I took it to go and forgot to get a photo).
The Smoke and Donuts food truck is open seven days a week at A la Cart Orlando near Fashion Square Mall (609 Irvington Ave, Orlando, FL 32803), and they offer lunch specials Monday through Friday 11:30pm-3pm. You can also place an order for take-out.
They also offer catering from their College Park kitchen, which will be perfect for your summer gatherings. I think I’ll be giving their catering a try for the 4th of July holiday, and of course I’ll tell you all about it.
Orders for dine in and catering may be placed at Smokeanddonuts.com.
Disclaimer: We were invited to a media tasting. As always, my opinions are honest and my own.
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