Dining With Denise Neil

Two new options for barbecue fans in Wichita

A bounty of barbecue is available in Wichita this summer. This platter comes from Smokin Diner.
A bounty of barbecue is available in Wichita this summer. This platter comes from Smokin Diner.

Two Wichita men whose barbecue skills became legendary among their family and friends have both just opened businesses selling their food.

Smokin Diner and Huggin’ Hogs BBQ both opened in April, and now both are developing a reputation for good cooking.

Smokin Diner belongs to Randy Duncan and his wife, Lil, who also own Absolute Printing near 47th and South Seneca. They’ve been in in the printing business for 33 years, Randy said, but he always felt his true talent was smoking meats.

“I’ve always wanted a restaurant or a food trailer and decided the trailer wasn’t a too expensive way to start out,” he said.

He bought a brand new food truck in Oklahoma City and had it outfitted with prep tables, refrigerators and more. He now serves brisket, pulled pork, ribs, hotlinks and unexpected specials like meatloaf and mashed potatoes.

He parks the truck regularly right next to the Intrust Bank on Grand Avenue in Haysville. He’s usually there every Friday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. He also frequents the parking lot at Dutch’s Green House, 5043 S. Seneca, and he plans to start setting up at food truck rallies around town. He’s planning to be at this month’s Food Trucks at the Fountain.

To find out where Smokin Diner is going to be when, just check its Facebook page.

Ken Houpt, who owns Huggin’ Hogs BBQ, also is a longtime barbecue expert. He grew up smoking meats with his father and picked up all his skills.

Houpt, who is based in Park City, says he’s a recovering addict who has been clean for six years. When he finally got clean, he said, he wanted to give back to his church and started catering barbecue meals for it. Things took off from there and he continued to get requests from people who wanted him to cater his ’cue. Last Thanksgiving, he took orders for almost 75 turkeys.

In the spring, he and his wife, Amy, acquired his pull-behind barbecue trailer, which he named Huggin’ Hogs based on a suggestion from his 9-year-old daughter. Now, he’s known for his pulled pork and pulled chicken and has also started selling items like fried pickles and corn dogs. He frequently sets up near 61st and Hydraulic in Park City and also often sells from the Buster’s Burger Joint lot, 1202 E. MacArthur, when it closes down.

This week, he’ll be set up at 61st and Hydraulic from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Thursday and Friday. If he doesn’t run out of food, he’ll also open for dinner from 4 to 6 on Friday. On Saturday, he’ll be at Buster’s from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and from 4 to 6 p.m., provided he still has food.

For more information on Huggin’ Hogs, visit its Facebook page.