Treehouse BBQ is in a big, white, square trailer named The Jenny after Forrest Gump, towed by a big, white Dodge pickup truck. Brothers Brady and Taylor Boll run the joint, smoking their meats with hickory pellets. The menu dabbles in more areas than the name suggests, however. And more importantly, there's a pretty big difference between the food the truck makes fresh and the frozen food it buys from the grocery store.
The brothers' approach starts with this statement on their website: "Devotion to finding the freshest, locally grown, gourmet ingredients and passion for cooking them with love shine through with every bite."
These words are hard to keep in mind when eating generic crinkle-cut fries, even when they're combined with truffle oil and Parmesan ($3). There's just nothing interesting about frozen French fries, and a sense of accessing adventure is part of what defines the mobile-food movement. These are even well-executed in the sense that they're crispier and with more structure than you'd expect, but the boredom persists. Punch it up.
Same problem with the chicken tenders basket ($8), which offers two strips of fried, previously frozen chicken over those crinkle-cut fries. Or a generic-tasting burger ($8) that was fine if completely forgettable. It's cafeteria food, and stuff I'm less opposed to receiving from a Bud Light-slinging bar than I am from a food truck making gourmet noises outside the city's burgeoning breweries, which is where you'll find Treehouse.
And Brady Boll has an explanation for why they offer those items: "To fill market space, basically," he says. "So, we found the need that there was a guy walking down the street and wanted a two-dollar hot dog; or a steady group was inside and they wanted to share a big basket of fried food. So ... with already taking up a lot of our calendar with the research and development for the gourmet stuff, chopping up a lot of chicken tenders was a bit tedious."
This makes fine business sense. But some of the other items at Treehouse are so good, driven by culinary training from Brady and culinary expertise from Taylor, it's just kind of dispiriting to eat one next to the other.
For example, I'd rather see a menu full of nothing but the Turducken Egg Rolls ($7). These two babies are fat and stay crisp to the end, until you're eating triangular shard-pockets filled with juicy, chopped bites of smoked turkey, duck and chicken with shreds of cabbage and carrots and green sprouts hugging the meat. The sauce is a sexy orange-Sriracha combination that cuts the fat and balances the whole bite in citrus tang.
A tender chopped brisket sandwich ($9) comes smothered in a bold sauce informed by the brothers' St. Louis roots, with clean and crunchy coleslaw. A skewer of peppers, onions, mushrooms and squash sees a balsamic-vinaigrette bath kicked up with dill and sage before getting the grill treatment, and the flavorful result is revelatory. And don't pass on the cubes of smothered cheesy potatoes ($3).
Even the Colorado-made jalapeño sausage ($4) and linguiça are succulent rock stars (though the yellow mustard is a bummer). And maybe you'll find you dig the simple approach. But as for me, give me a steaming bowl of gluten-free, smoked salmon and bacon mac-and-cheese ($7) or give me nothing, for we need no more of the rest.