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It started with a “Parks and Recreation” reference. Defiantly carnivorous boss Ron Swanson bristles at the suggestion of burritos for lunch, until, he learns, the place makes the meal of his dreams. “You had me at ‘meat tornado,’ ” he says. Those words have since graced everything from internet memes to cutting boards.

And now, there’s a meal for the Ron Swansons of Minneapolis.

The Meat Tornado, at Animales Barbeque Co., is a storm of a sandwich, buckling with rib ends, sausage and bacon, oozing with cheese sauce and topped with jalapeños.

The Meat Tornado, at Animales Barbeque Co.
The Meat Tornado, at Animales Barbeque Co.

Matt Gillmer

“You have your sweet, your tangy, your umami, and then your pile of meat,” said Jon Wipfli, the chef and pitmaster at Animales, a barbecue trailer behind Able Seedhouse & Brewery in northeast Minneapolis. (1121 NE. Quincy St., Mpls., 612-405-4642, ablebeer.com/food)

The Meat Tornado is the latest over-the-top food to be featured in our Outta Control video series.The $15 sandwich is available only on Sundays, first-come-first-serve. They always sell out.

“It started as a novelty item,” Wipfli said. A joke, really. But people kept coming back and asking for it. “It actually turned into something people really enjoy.”

He chalks up the popularity of the mega-sandwich to the quality of the food within. He smokes everything in the trailer and uses the ends of the ribs he makes, and other leftover bits he has turned into sausage at Lowry Hill Meats. The barbecue sauce is made in-house, too, and Wipfli sugar-cures the jalapeños that go on top.

Before opening Animales, Wipfli, an author and former Bachelor Farmer sous chef, traveled the country to study regional barbecue technique.

“Everything is really high quality,” said Casey Holley, one of the founders of Able, as he tries to take a bite. “He’s just putting it all together.”

It’s more of a fork-and-knife kind of sandwich, as Holley discovers when he gets cheese sauce in his beard.

About that cheese. The sandwich is drowning in the oozing, fluorescent sauce that’s practically out of a pouch in a box of mac and cheese. Deliberately.

“You know guilty-pleasure foods? I just love that processed cheese,” Wipfli admitted.

He starts with the orange-colored industrial stuff, then adds two-year aged sharp Cheddar and dehydrated lime to give it a kick. But there’s no mistaking that “weird processed flavor everyone loves,” he said.

“We call it dirty good food.”

So would Ron Swanson.

To see more photos and videos from our food series, follow us on Instagram at @outtacontrolmn or visit us at startribune.com/outtacontrol.