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Acclaimed Albuquerque chef opens pop-up smokehouse

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — An adventure on “The Great Food Truck Race” inspired Chef Marie Yniguez to create her own pop-up smokehouse.

Smokin’ Fred’s ’46 crew prepare some of its smoked offerings for customers. (Courtesy of Sal Gomez, Art of War Photography)

Yniguez competed on “The Great Food Truck Race” which filmed in Alaska. The show premiered in early March 2021 on the Food Network and discovery+. Yniguez is also known for her many wins and appearances on popular TV shows and competitions, including the Food Network’s “Chopped,” “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives” and “Guy’s Grocery Games.”

“It was magical,” Yniguez said of the “The Great Food Truck Race” experience. “It was the most fun experience of my life. It showed me everything I did not want on a food truck. It showed me I did not want a drivable food truck. It showed me that I don’t need all that equipment. It showed me that I don’t need that.

Chef Marie Yniguez has opened a pop-up smokehouse called Smokin’ Fred’s ’46. (Courtesy of Sal Gomez, Art of War Photography)

“It’s like, if you want to take your place somewhere, you know, you take your little box. You know, if one person has to run that little truck, like you’re good to go. And that’s what I built.”

Yniguez bought a trailer and began building it into a transportable smokehouse a week after returning home to Albuquerque following her participation on the show. She built the portable smokehouse in four months.

Smokin’ Fred’s ’46 recently opened for business. The turnout of customers on opening day exceeded Yniguez’s expectations. The smokehouse ran out of food in less than two hours.

Smokin’ Fred’s ’46 currently offers smoked ribs, smoked wings, New Mexico red chile ribs, house smoked sausage links and The Weener Dog. For an extra flavor kick, patrons can add one of the Frickin Freds Saucies such as hot honey butter, red chile peach, sweet orange or black cherry BBQ. Sides also are on the menu including sweet red chile baked beans, country potato salad and honey mustard coleslaw.

Yniguez set up shop outside her other business, Slow Roasted Bocadillos. The restaurant is located inside the Wells Fargo Building at 200 Lomas NW.

For now Yniguez plans on keeping the location of her pop-up smokehouse outside Slow Roasted Bocadillos on Saturdays. Customers can keep up with her hours and location by visiting

Yniguez has big plans for her smokehouse including a “Tailgate Night” in a parking lot in the Barelas neighborhood, catering events and collaborations with other chefs.

“Basically, you go and you drop your tailgate and you have a date with your sweetie or your family,” she said. “And hopefully have music out there and still be COVID safe. And I want to do catering for sure, catering and special events. Kind of, you know, wherever I fall.”

The smokehouse’s name is dear to Yniguez’s heart. It is named after her stepfather Fred and the year he was born. Yniguez considers him her dad. He has been in her life since she was 9 years old.

“He brought me to Albuquerque from Hurley, New Mexico, and showed me food,” Yniguez said. “He took me to Quarters and I ate barbecue for the first time in my life. And then, he would take me to Red Lobster and show me seafood … He would take me out and show me different places to eat and different foods. He means the whole world to me. He was a dad when he didn’t have to be with me. He’s just like the biggest mentor and I’m thankful to him.”

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