Food & Drink

Gumbolaya? Gator corn dogs? This new Coast food truck redefines Southern cuisine

A year ago, you would have been hard-pressed to find a food truck on the Coast.

Now, there are at least a dozen. I haven’t found one I didn’t like, but I recently visited with Chef Ricky Herring and his brand new food truck, aptly called the Twisted Magnolia, and was seriously wowed.

This food truck is all about Southern food with a twist.

Herring calls it Southern smokehouse fusion, but please do not just think barbecue. I’ve seen a lot of food truck menus in the past few months, but nothing like this.

When I visited last week, Herring was making gumbolaya, a pretty amazing combination of gumbo and jambalaya. I’ve never heard of this pairing before and never dreamed of it, but it was very good. He made it with smoked chicken, and then used the bones to make a stock.

He also had Gator Pups. Think of a corn dog but made with gator meat and a sweet jalapeno batter that is deep-fried. I am betting that you never tried gator like this before.

My favorite offering was Biloxi Bacon dip, which has turned into one of his best sellers. When is the last time you had locally made Biloxi bacon? Herring smoked pop-eyed mullet and turned it into a smoky, delicious dip, and when tried with his homemade pita chips, absolutely delicious. He also makes very good pork skins, and I am not sure if he would approve or not, but I dipped my pork skins in the mullet dip and loved every bite.

Herring is very creative and not afraid of going out on a culinary limb. He is the new guy in town, at least in the food truck scene, but he has been cooking professionally since 2002, and worked the casinos since 2003.

He is a Southern cook, raised in Pass Christian, and knows his way around classic Gulf Coast foods. His menu changes daily, something I like a lot. It means the chef is making what he feels best about at any given time, using local ingredients when he can, like Delta Blues Rice, and Gulf fresh seafood.

If you are new to the food truck scene, get out there and start checking out what this growing food trend has to offer. I think you will be well pleased; it is amazingly diverse and manned by some very serious chefs. It is fast food with class.

Twisted Magnolia Food Truck

Call: 228 860 0921 or follow on Facebook

Tuesday: Biloxi Brewing Co., 5 p.m.

Friday: Hops and Growlers, Ocean Springs, 5 p.m.

Saturday: Crooked Letter Brewing, Ocean Springs, 5 p.m.

Late night Friday and Saturday: Julep Room and Gills Fish Camp, Ocean Springs, 10:30 p.m. until