EDIT: While the truck is off the street, there is a Grill ‘Em All does have a brick and mortar spot in Alhambra these days.
It seems like just yesterday that I was totally caught up in the craze of Gourmet Food Trucks. Within a few months of the launch of Kogi, it seemed like there was a new truck to try every week, serving everything you could imagine. I did my best to try all that I could, but although I predicted the fad would die out quickly, my desire to try every one of them died out even quicker. Some trucks failed, but new trucks kept coming out. And sadly, in the time that I was burned out on trucks, some pretty cool ones began to emerge. These were no longer trucks with one little idea out to make a quick buck to capitalize on the success of Kogi. No, instead, these were carefully crafted culinary machines. One of these was the Grill ‘Em All burger truck.
Although I had been following Grill ‘Em All on Twitter for a while and wanted to try them, I found it difficult because they never seemed to come near my stomping grounds on the West Side. But after watching them for six episodes on Food Network’s The Great Food Truck Race, I knew I had it in me to at least chase these guys down. The opportunity finally came when I found out they weren’t too far from my office during lunch time. I grabbed a co-worker and chased down that truck.
When I arrived, the line only had about ten people, so we grabbed our spot and took a look at the menu written on the truck. Although I gave their specials and other burgers a good look, there was really only one burger I was interested in: The Behemoth. This aptly named monstrosity consisted of two grilled cheeses in place of traditional buns, cheddar cheese (you know, for the burger itself), bacon, pickles, BBQ sauce and beer-soaked onions for 10 bucks. While certainly not the first guys to replace buns with grilled cheeses, this looked to me like one of the best executions. I ordered mine without the pickles and onions because even soaking in beer can’t make those things edible. On top of that I ordered some of their double-dipped fries with garlic aioli dipping sauce. The total came to 13 bucks and I was an excited man.
After waiting for about five minutes, one of the truckers/cooks came out of the truck and erased the Behemoth from the menu. Fortunately I had gotten there in time, but it did teach me a quick lesson to get there early if I ever wanted the Behemoth again. Another five minuted passed and my Behemoth was ready. I topped it with a to-go tray, paper bagged it and brought it back to the office to see how it could be.
The first thing I noticed upon opening was that it was huge, yet still looked edible. The bacon looked crisp, the cheese looked gooey and overall it was a pretty picture. After the first bite, something didn’t taste quite right. You see, in one bite I was really only to handle one of the grilled cheeses and found that one side had been a bit burned. This did not bode well, but it also did not stop me. A couple bites later and all my fears were assuaged. Although I am certain the entire half of that grilled cheese was burnt, the rest of the burger completely covered it up. I had completely forgotten about the burn (well, until writing this article) by the time I reached the middle of the burger.
What I liked best about the Behemoth (or at least my version of it) was that it didn’t try to do too much. Sure, it had the pure shock value of all the cheese and bread, but inside was just a damn good bacon and BBQ cheeseburger. In fact, even if I liked vegetables, I feel like the onions and pickles would have added just a bit too much to the burger and thrown it out of balance. The bacon was perfectly crispy and the barbecue sauce added a sweet tang that really tied the burger together. Without that BBQ sauce, I fear the burger would have become too savory and too dry. With it, though, all was well in the Behemoth.
It took me a while, but I finally tackled the whole burger. It was definitely the best execution of grilled cheese buns I’d ever tasted and overall a pretty great burger. The fries were also pretty delicious. Although they had cooled off significantly during the consumption of the burger, I could definitely appreciate them for what they must have been upon removal from the deep fryer. The garlic aioli only made them better and the garlic was so fresh it almost felt like I had squeezed it from the clove myself.
Grill ‘Em All was certainly a truck worth chasing down. For a sheer shock to your tastebuds and cholesterol level, the Behemoth is a burger worth eating. It’s no wonder they won The Great Food Truck Race because I will certainly be seeing them again.