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The Pig--Chapel Hill

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Had a nice lunch today at The Pig (630 Weaver Dairy Road). I had the pork sandwich, my husband had the large plate of pork .

The cue was coarsely chopped with a good hint of smoke. The mix included pieces of outside dark bits and a little fat. But, not enough fat to make the plate greasy. The meat was nice and moist.

The hush puppies had a good corn taste and weren't greasy either. The slaw was nicely tart and made a good foil for the meat. The plate included some of those good pickled cucumber slices that the Barbecue Joint used to serve.

One of the daily specials was a Hawaiian plate lunch (house-made sausage, rice, gravy). I used to enjoy an occasional plate lunch in Hawaii so a return visit to The Pig is a necessity. Another interesting item on the menu is pork belly. While I can't remember all the items on the Joint's menu, I thought I recognized some of the dishes from the old menu.

It is nice and bright inside with tables and counter seating. The ice tea was good and the food came almost instantly.

I am happy to have BBQ back on Weaver Dairy.

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The Barbecue Joint
630 Weaver Dairy Rd Ste 101, Chapel Hill, NC 27514

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  1. I couldn't name a single restaurant with a less appetizing name.

    4 Replies
    1. re: durhamois

      I like it. There is a cute metal pig out in front, and they haven't overdone the whole pig theme inside. My least favorite restaurant names are Roadkill Cafe and Live Bait.

      1. re: durhamois

        I nominate the restaurant Clint Eastwood used to own near Carmel: Hog's breath

        1. re: durhamois

          Red Lobster
          Cheescake Factory
          Red Robin

          1. re: durhamois

            Try "Rat's" in Hamilton NJ

          2. I've eaten here twice now so I figured I should make a post. The first time I got the pork plate, which now consists of pulled pork, cole slaw, pickled cucumber, and hush puppies-- so I guess the difference is the cole slaw instead of the cornbread that the Barbeque Joint used to serve IIRC. The pork tastes as before, not as good as Allen & Son but quite satisfying. I liked the cole slaw, it's not mayo-based and sweet but lightly vinegary. The pickled cucumber is just like before-- yummy, but I would prefer them a little less sweet. The hush puppiues are interesting. They are pillowy with a thin crust, like a fritter, and savory. I liked them but they are definitely different. The second time I enjoyed their pork belly sanwich. It was like a combo of brisket and pork fat.

            The platters are expensive but the other items don't seem too bad despite the fact that they are sourcing the meat from local farmers. It's good that they are supporting local farms but flavor-wise I couldn't tell the difference.

            2 Replies
            1. re: bbqme

              Just for clarification.. are hushpuppies not fritters?

              1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                Yes, technically I suppose they are. But hush puppies are generally quite dense. These are a much lighter form of fritter, almost like fried savory pancake batter.

            2. We had lunch at the Pig today, having BBQ sandwich with slaw on sandwich and side of pickles. It was tasty! The menu looked really good - I just thought sandwich would be good introduction to this new place. Of course, they had BBQ plates. Other menu items looked interesting, with some good vegetable options. I noted they had biegnets for dessert. Got to go try those one day!

              I really like the re-do of this place. It's so much fresher, cleaner, and bright. I'm glad it's in the neighborhood.

              5 Replies
              1. re: wintersummer

                Just ate here the other night. A friend gave it a good review but had done take out, perhaps we should have as well. I heard they are trying to support local providers and hope they succeed, the menu is interesting and the meats seem to be following a developing charcuterie theme in the area.

                First, the good. The pork belly sandwich was fantastic, tender meat, nicely flavored with the richness of the meat being offset by the bun. The pickles certainly look and taste homemade and are a nice find and as another poster noted, the slaw is also nice.

                Next, the rough. For me, the sausages are good but very rich and I will probably always get them with bread from now on. I think we got a kielbasa and a Hawaiin sausage but if so, I couldn't discern a great deal of difference between the two. And the hush puppies are different, in fact so different I wouldn't really call them hush puppies because they lack the depth of corn flavor I expect in my puppies.

                Finally, the horrible. The night we went, the housekeeping was horrendous, not just bad but awful and I am not that picky. But the floor was strewn with food particles, the used plate areas over flowing and a table was covered with food on top and around it. Looked like a two year old had been throwing food around. If the two year old were still around I would understand but they weren't and the staff walked by it more than 6 times. I'm really not that picky, but if you can't wipe down a table or sweep a floor I wonder about the care in the kitchen.

                Although the pork belly was good, I would be hard pressed to go back because of the housekeeping.

                I hope they are cleaner for others and succeed because the concept is interesting and any support for local providers is great.

                1. re: foodsearcher

                  Foodsearcher - I was there last night and they were actively cleaning tables. I made a mental note of that - because back in the old BBQ Joint days, I never saw anyone clean a table! (that's one of the reasons I stopped going). Back to the Pig - Floors were clean. Used plate area was about half full. Restroom was clean. I'm pretty picky about restaurant cleanliness and the Pig passed the test for me - at least it did last night. We will have to continue watching and see what happens.

                  1. re: wintersummer

                    It was clean when I went as well. It's a shame some people can be so thoughtless to make such a mess and not clean up after themselves. I appreciate counter service because it helps keep costs down, especially for lunch.

                    I also forgot to mention that the second time I went, they asked if I would like to try a pickled egg. It was delicious-- even the yolk, which I usually find too dry and mealy in a boiled egg.

                  2. re: foodsearcher

                    You hope they succeed but you wouldn't go back because of the housekeeping? I'm confused. Maybe it would be better to help them succeed by telling them in person the night you were there rather than posting a review publicly. Maybe I'm sensitive because I myself own a place that gets reviewed but, in any case, I've never seen it messy although I have also never been there at rush hour......

                    1. re: peanutress

                      peanutress, I agree a direct response is the correct way and usually the best. in this instance, it was such a mess (spilled food and a dirty rag on the table) the night I was there and the server walked by a half dozen times, I figured he didn't care at all. I guess I started feeling like if I said something, I would be pointing out the obvious that he didn't want to see. and there are allowances for bad days as well.

                      I'm thrilled to read recent visits have been clean for others and that the food is still good. the pork belly sandwich was delicious and with the recent posts, I will try it again. Great to have a place doing locally sourced and homemade food at this level and price range.

                2. This is a report on our second visit to the Pig. First visit was a great BBQ sandwich, this time was more of a dinner. We had the pork tenderloin special, which came with two sides. We had mac-and-cheese and collards. We often split orders and did so with this one - it was plenty for the two of us. Pork was wonderful, perfectly cooked, tender, and tasty. It had a nice slightly hot sauce - not exactly sure what ingredients were, but it was good. Mac-and-cheese great, collards great (maybe a bit too much liquid). Meal was $15 - a bargain, I think, for what we got. I'd go back just for this meal. We're interested in returning to try some of the other things listed on the menu board - pastrami, tamale, catfish sandwich. One more comment (in reply to an earlier post) - we found eating area to be clean, with one employee doing general tidy-up type work. When we left, he jumped on our table to wipe it down (we'd already moved plates, glasses, etc to the used plate area)

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: wintersummer

                    I hit up The Pig today for a solo lunch. I really like the place!! They've opened up the space since I was there when it was The BBQ Joint and it helps. I ordered the pork belly sandwich, fries, and a Stone IPA. My total was $13, quite a bargain and I've been described as the cheapest man in the world. The service was rapid. My meal arrived a few minutes after I ordered it. The sandwich arrived in a plastic basket with a few house made pickles. BTW, they make their own bologna and other meats in house. Without even tasting the food, that level of dedication to craft is worthy of community support.

                    Back to the food. They served a healthy portion of soft pork belly topped with what was apparently pimento cheese on a plain hamburger bun. Initially, I found this quite odd... These guys focus on handcrafting of their own ingredients, so why use a bun like this? Pimento cheese on a this sort of a dish didn't work for me either. Then I tasted it. It was a revelation, plain and simple. Think of it less as a pork belly sandwich and more as a bbq sandwich deconstructed! Rather than serving pulled or chopped pork, they use pork belly which provides meat and fat together. The belly was sauced with a sweet, brown bbq sauce that was fine. What I thought was pimento cheese was actually slaw made from carrots. They use carrots, to achieve sweetness without adding sugar. The juices from the meat and the slaw blend together with the bun and we're truly more than the sum of the parts. The hamburger bun was there to anchor the dish to the traditional bbq sandwich. I loved the wit and reverence of this dish.

                    They served fresh cut fries in a salad bowl topped with a bit of kosher salt. Simple presentation. Great execution. Another winner!

                    The menu had an abundance of tempting items as specials and regulars. Addressing an earlier post, the restaurant was quite clean when I was there. No worries at all. This place really succeeded at lunch.

                    In conclusion, a great lunch needs to be flavorful, reasonably priced and fast. The Pig succeeded on all these counts quite well and is well worth a drive from Durham or the Cary area.

                    1. re: Tom from Raleigh

                      That post made me hungry.

                  2. I was looking at the menu online. Perhaps this better falls under the recent post "Food so wrong it's right", but they have a dish under their specials called "gravy train":

                    Fries, gravy, ground kielbasa, cheese

                    My high school self would have killed for that dish after midnight on a Friday night!

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: meatn3

                      I guess it's their version of poutine.

                      1. re: meatn3

                        Where is their menu posted online? I would love to check it out.

                        1. re: ncpearl

                          http://www.thepigrestaurant.com/

                      2. Thanks all, I plan to check out The Pig soon, and your comments have me hungry even at this late hour. I was never a big fan of The Barbecue Joint's barbecue so I'm hoping The Pig's pig is better. Looking forward to finding out for myself!

                        -----
                        The Barbecue Joint
                        630 Weaver Dairy Rd Ste 101, Chapel Hill, NC 27514

                        13 Replies
                        1. re: Porky LeSwine

                          Had carry out from The Pig last night. Widely sampled the menu. My wife and I were pretty much blown away. Ribs were tender and flavorful. Chopped 'que was quite good with a nice mix of outside brown. Pimento cheese tamales were just killer with a great salsa to match. Blackened catfish had a nice mix of fish and spice, that let the fish shine through. Not able side: sprouts and 'shrooms, potato salad, slaw. The kids like it too.

                          1. re: Tom from Raleigh

                            Pimento cheese tamales? OMG, that sounds sinfully good. Could you describe that dish in a little more detail?

                            1. re: rockycat

                              Sure. My experience with tamaies is based on a high standard. There's a lady who sells them out of her car in the parking lot of International Foods in Raleigh. They were served in a corn husk, as is appropriate for tamales. The outer layer of masa was pretty light with a filling of the pimento cheese. The cheese kind of melded with the masa in the middle of the tamale. It really all came together when I added the salsa which was tomato-based and very bright. It's as good as you'd think. Funny, I didn't think of it as sinful when I ordered because it didn't contain any pork.

                              I'm looking forward to exploring the rest of the menu, like the house-made pastrami and other cured meats. There's a Polish boy which I assume is a polish served like a po boy? Sounds interesting.

                              1. re: Tom from Raleigh

                                I think I'm swooning.

                                1. re: Tom from Raleigh

                                  They do have Hispanic help in the kitchen so this dish does not surprise me, although the pimento cheese idea is intriguing.

                                  Good ribs you say? Dare I dream...

                                  1. re: bbqme

                                    You mean without having to go to the Pit in Raleigh?

                                    1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                                      bf-

                                      I would say so, but you be the judge.

                                    2. re: bbqme

                                      I very recently discovered (from my wife) that corn meal (as opposed to masa) tamales are actually indigenous to the Mississippi delta region and are part of the African-American culture down there. There's an entire regional lore about it in Arkansas. http://www.tamaletrail.com/history.shtml

                                      I wonder if The Pig is doing the regional or more standard "tex mex" tamale. The former would be more appropriate with the Q 'n sides offerings.

                                      1. re: mikeh

                                        mikeh-

                                        In my opinion, The Pig is not positioning itself as a straight up BBQ place along the lines of Allen & Son. They seem to like to make tasty food, with an emphasis on the noble porker. They're more of a just good food spot.

                                        1. re: mikeh

                                          There's actually a fair amount of debate as to whether Delta tamales are a Mexican import or not. And masa *is* cornmeal- just more finely ground than most Southern cornmeal. But essentially the same thing.

                                          1. re: Naco

                                            not to get all nitpicky and threadjack this completely but masa is made from mixtamalized corn so it's not just more finely ground

                                            1. re: gpatterson

                                              Agreed. Masa is made with lye while cornmeal is not.

                                              1. re: Tom from Raleigh

                                                was just at The Pig last night & I agree with the find reviews of this place.
                                                The bricket I had was A-1, moist, fatty, I haven't had brisket like that in years. I didn't even put the sauce on it. The special that night: Gumbo was great, spicy with a dark roux, We loved it.
                                                We had a bunch of sides: beans, coleslaw, green tomatoes, which we all enjoyed. The service was excellent; the place spotless
                                                I was only sorry they'd run out of pie & don't serve coffee (yet) I had meant to order pastrami, but couldn't resist brisket. Judging from the superb job, I bet it's great too.

                              2. Had a nice mention/picture in the NY Times Travel Magazine. Go to http://www.nytimes.com/indexes/2010/1... to view (click on "View Print Magazine" on page 30.

                                1. I just wanted to chime in here to say, "The Pig is great!"

                                  Wife and I had dinner there last night. I went with a classic order - pork bbq plate with collards and hushpuppies. The pork was lightly smoky and delicious, the hushpuppies were light and not too greasy, and the nice big portion of collards were out of this world good. Eastern carolina vinegar dip was available in squeeze bottles for your pleasure. A+!!!!

                                  The lady had a PLT, which is a sweet potato, lettuce and tomato sammich. The guy who took our order told us that they slice the sweet potato really thin and then smoke it for a long time so that it takes on a toothsome texture that somewhat resembles bacon. All of this is then piled onto a bun and topped with a caramelized onion relish of some sort and served with a side of the house made pickles. Gotta give them props for imagination and execution. It was a good sandwich, but not something I'd want to eat very often, especially when the rest of menu looks so tempting.

                                  Anyway, the point of this is that its a day later and I want to go back there again tonight for dinner. Long live The Pig!

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: ToothTooth

                                    I've been to the Pig twice and had BBQ sandwiches both times. Very good one time and just average the other time. The Pig has a much better appearance than the old BBQ Joint but it may be missing the outstanding cooking by Damon L.

                                    1. re: Jim DuPree

                                      What sets The Pig apart is not their que-- which good, but not awe inspiring (go 6 minutes up 86 to Allen & Son for that). It's their other offers like their brat, pork belly, brisket, pastrami, and pickled eggs-- all made in-house than are great.

                                  2. I've only visited once, so I'm reserving judgement, but the meal I had that visit didn't match up to the reviews. I should say up front I love the idea of the place and everything on the menu is right up my culinary alley. The quality and presentation on that night was lacking though.

                                    We started with the charcuterie plate, their "tongue-in-cheek" and country ham with pimento cheese and pickles. The T&C was tasty (sort of a mortadella with cured pork pieces within) but neither the ham nor the pimento cheese had a lot of flavor and the plate was served with four packages of cellophane wrapped saltines, which strikes me as a lousy carb for a $7.50 appetizer. We had to ask for more saltines because even being overly generous with meat and cheese, there were nowhere near enough for even two people.

                                    My companion ordered hush puppies. Usually those don't last long after hitting the table with us, but there were still two or three left when we were done. They weren't bad, just kind of greasy and blah. (The table next to ours left their entire basket behind when they left.)

                                    For mains, I had the pork belly sandwich which would have been great if the bread had been able to stand up to the meat. On a supermarket hamburger bun, by the time it reached the table all structural integrity was gone, and it was fork or nothing. Again, not bad, a good idea and decent ingredients brought down by a kitschy choice of bread.

                                    The bbq pork plate was decent and my companion commented that the added smoke and seasoning made their pork rank slightly higher Allen and Sons. However, the atmosphere was a serious negative for her and I have to admit, the place is about as charming a place to sit and eat as a bus station. Aside from some quick afterthoughts like some blinds from Ikea, the room was dark, cold and cheerless. Don't get me wrong, we both love hole in the wall places with a passion, but given the ambition of the food they're putting out, a little bit of effort in that regard would go a long way toward building a following. As a place for a couple on a date (as we were) or family or whatever, it falls flat.

                                    We haven't given up; we're planning another trip in the near future to try the fried chicken and (hopefully) the short ribs. Still, with all the kudos people are giving the place, I was expecting a slightly better impression than the one we left with.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: Bricoleur

                                      Another fine visit to The Pig. Pig head tamales, chacuterie plate, chili cheese fries (pimento cheese, just awesome)

                                    2. Made a second visit to the Pig recently and I'm not sure if I've just hit a string of bad nights or if the idea of the place is better than the reality.

                                      I ordered the gumbo ($9) as my main dish. It was a large bowl but it wasn't very interesting or flavorful. I prefer a darker gumbo made with a brown roux and while the various bits of chopped meat in it were interesting, I couldn't help feeling like I was eating leftovers. A small cup would likely hit the spot on a cold day; as a meal-sized entree it was a little too bland to really work.

                                      The fried chicken plate ($14) was entirely drumsticks for some reason, 3 in all, served with two sides. (fries and fried green tomatoes in this case) The chicken was passable, but there are a lot of places to get reasonable to decent fried chicken for significantly less around here, The tomatoes were tasty, the fries so-so.

                                      For novelty, we tried two extra sides: frito pie and the (brussell) sprouts 'n 'shrooms. The former was kind of fun in a kitschy way, served right in the bag of Fritos with a spoonful of the house chili and a gigantic glob of sour cream. Not what I've eaten in Texas (the chili overladen with red and green peppers and minimal if any chili heat) and it arrived cold enough that the sprinkling of cheddar in the bag hadn't melted (probably due to that massive glop of sour cream) but not terrible.

                                      I actually liked the brussell sprouts as did my companion who normally refuses to eat anything even vaguely cabbagey. Mostly that's a testament to the fact anything can be made edible if you throw it in a deep-fryer. The mushrooms come out well-browned and the sprouts get an all-over nooks and crannies roasting you can't really achieve with an oven. The cost of this, of course, is that you're eating as much fryer oil as you are vegetable. The sprouts were delicious, but incredibly greasy. (Makes sense; all those yummy crispy blackened edges are places you've evacuated all the water from what you're frying, making it a perfect sponge for oil.)

                                      I think the most telling thing about both visits is both times things we normally would have devoured (or even fought over) were left over. And in some cases, we left them behind as not being worth carrying home. There's definitely some good ideas coming out of this place, but so far the execution hasn't made me a fan.

                                      1. Not my kind of BB joint, nor was I the least impressed with their non-BBQ items either, and nothing is cheap.

                                        We ordered a pork sandwich, a brisket sandwich, FF, and a Fried Chicken plate with M&C and fried green tomatoes. This and 2 diet cokes came to almost $35.

                                        The pulled pork sandwich came on a large, stale bun that started to come apart almost from the first bite. The slaw has a yellow tinge (mustard I suppose), and contains bits of carrot. I have never even said pork BBQ, mustard, and carrot in the same sentence, much less had them together on a sandwich - not a good menge a trois. The pork was cold, a little dry, and only hinted at any flavor. Sauce did not help.

                                        The brisket sandwich was somewhat better, but had the same slaw, which I quickly & completely removed. The brisket was moist, tender, retained some structure, and had some smokiness to it. The same large, stale roll was used here as well. Maybe both the pork and brisket would have been better on a plate- I'm sure the brisket would benefit.

                                        The fried chicken was over cooked, and came out a deep, dark brown, was dry, and seemed to have no salt or pepper, at all. The M&C was baked, and was dry and tough. The fried green tomatoes were good, by far the best part of the meal, except for the diet coke in a can.

                                        I am not a NC pork BBQ snob, I like all forms of good BBQ - Eastern, Lexington, ribs, brisket, KC, Memphis, Texas, etc - all can be very good. But this simply is not good BBQ, pork or brisket, nor were the sides good. Stale rolls and strange slaw didn't help. Can not recommend this place, period.

                                        1. I appreciate The Pig's willingness to experiment. For example, here is yesterday's specials:
                                          The Pig‎1/26/11 Specials:

                                          Buffalo Wings $7
                                          Pickle Plate (cucumbers, green tomatoes, green beans, eggs) $5
                                          Homemade B.L.T. $5.5
                                          Homemade Pastrami on Rye $8.5
                                          Homemade Andouille & Shrimp Remoulade Po-Boy $9.5
                                          Gumbo $9
                                          Homemade Tamale Lunch $8.5 Dinner $11
                                          Smoked Chicken w/ Slaw, Pickles and Hushpuppies $12
                                          Cohen Farm Grass-Fed Beef Short Ribs w/ 2 sides $16
                                          Smoked-n-Grilled Pork Chops w/ 2 sides $16

                                          When you change the menu as much as they do it's very likely that there will be some misses but it worth it to find the hits. That Po Boy is calling my name!

                                          1. I finally went last night, and I think The Pig will be part of my regular dinner rotation. I had the small BBQ plate with mac and cheese and collards. The BBQ was pretty good for a place that isn't just BBQ. The collards were smoky, but not overly seasoned. I also like that they were chopped a bit more roughly than at a lot of restaurants. The mac and cheese was a little on the dry side, but I like dry/dense mac, so it worked for me. I think they're using smoked cheddar for at least part of the cheese blend. I also tried one of my friend's hush puppies - definitely lighter/fluffier than most hush puppies, maybe more flour in the batter? I have leftovers for lunch today.

                                            They ran out of sprouts-n-shrooms while we were waiting in line to order, and ran out of most of the specials during 45 minutes we were there. I got what I wanted, so no big deal, but I made a mental note to go early if I want something one of the specials that week. There was a huge group eating when we got there, 15-20 people with a bunch of tables pushed together. I think the size of the party pushed the kitchen into the weeds a little, and the service was a little slower than I expected, but still not bad. Also, for some reason my fellow diners had trouble with the clear your own table process - the large party just left all of their dishes on the table, and the staff was already overwhelmed and didn't have a chance to clear the table for a while, which just compounded the problem because it meant 1/2 the seats in the place were unusable, and people were standing around waiting for tables to open up. I also saw several people just drop plates full of food in the dish bin, rather than scrape them clean into the trash.

                                            5 Replies
                                            1. re: mpjmph

                                              I was under the impression that The Pig was a counter service restaurant, meaning the diners would bus their own tables. I've always ordered at the counter though.

                                              1. re: Tom from Raleigh

                                                Your impression is correct - but for some reason 1/2 the people in the restaurant didn't get it.

                                              2. re: mpjmph

                                                mpjmph - we were there at the exact same time! It was last Saturday evening, Jan 29, and there were two big tables (well, it was one group but sitting at two sets of little tables pushed together). The group was there in 2 buses, right? We thought our order would take forever, but it didn't - in fact, we were served quite promptly - and it was so good! We were gone before the larger group left, so I didn't observe their failure to clean their tables.

                                                1. re: wintersummer

                                                  Yep, very same group! I saw the buses in the parking lot, but didn't connect them with the large group before. Makes me wonder if they had a special arrangement with the restaurant?

                                                  Our orders didn't take very long, just longer than I expected based on some of the prior comments on this thread. I'm definitely not holding it against the staff. I loved every bit of the food, and the leftovers were just as good the next day. You know greens are good when the pot liquor congeals in the fridge.

                                                2. re: mpjmph

                                                  I also got to The Pig for the first time, and after one late lunch have to give the restaurant a thumbs up. We ordered Pork Belly Sandwich (awesome), sweet PLT (inventive and tasty), Brisket (good - well done but not too dry and nicely smokey), Mac & Cheese (house smoked cheddar and panko), Collards (not cooked to death and utterly delicious, if in an abundance of liquid), Fried Green Tomatoes and Squash (both good), house pickles (sweet and tasty) and Beignets (a little bland and a bit underdone, but light and airy). While waiting for the beignets at the counter, we were offered a taste of their barbecue. This was a nice gesture and they are sourcing local pigs, although the version I tried was average. There were a ton of other things I wanted to order that will have to wait for my next trip.

                                                  Although we arrived well after the lunch rush, the dining room and bathrooms were clean. As far as any griping about the prices, they are listed on a board right in front of you as you order. There should be no surprises when they tally up your bill. Local pork belly sandwich with homemade pickles and slaw was $6. This strikes me as a very good deal, as is the rest of their menu.

                                                3. BBQJew interviews the chef at The Pig.

                                                  http://bbqjew.files.wordpress.com/201...

                                                  27 Replies
                                                  1. re: bbqme

                                                    I liked how traditional pits are assigned an "imaginative function" by the proprietor, who feels that there is little to no taste difference between wood and electric/gas cooked barbecue.

                                                    Uh-huh.

                                                    1. re: Naco

                                                      BBQ was never the strong point of The Barbeque Joint, and I think the current proprietor is doing it much in the same way. It was basically roasted pork with a pepper/vinegar sauce. Really, it was all about the sides and desserts.

                                                      There's a reason my car always turned right toward Allen&Son instead of left towards this place when I wanted 'cue. No difference, huh?

                                                      1. re: Naco

                                                        Well I do think that wood cooked que is romanticized and I hink that's what he means by Imaginative function. And frankly, based on memory, I don't think there was much difference for me b/w, say, Lex #1 and Barbeque' Joint's barbeque taste-wise-- texturally, yes, there is some difference. That's why I like Allen & Son's barbeque so much-- the smoke flavor really comes through and sets it apart from other NC barbeque I've eaten.

                                                        Given The Pig's location I think the best answer he could have given was, "I don't have the space to cook a pig over wood."

                                                        1. re: bbqme

                                                          It is romanticized by some to be sure, but that doesn't mean that there is no difference in flavor. Barbecue, both wood/charcoal cooked and gas/electric cooked, has been a go-to casual food for me for my entire life, and there is a big difference in flavor. Suchoff is kidding himself if he thinks the only difference between gas cooked barbecue and Pete Jones is some corny nostalgia.

                                                          1. re: Naco

                                                            I had a conversation with the pitmaster at Murray's on Poole Rd, about 8 years ago. He said the hogs were so lean these days that he added a whole tub of margarine to the meat to combat the dryness of the meat. It's possible that using only sustainably raised hogs makes as big a difference as whether or not one's a log burner or not.

                                                            1. re: Tom from Raleigh

                                                              I don't think so. I would think it would go without saying that employing different cooking methods is going to result in a different flavor. Would you expect a pork shoulder that you cooked in your oven to taste the same as one you cooked on your grill? Do you expect a fried fish to taste the same as a broiled one?

                                                              Also, The Pit uses non-CAFO hogs, and I don't find a terrible lot of difference in the taste of their barbecue as compared to Pete Jones, Grady's, or Blackbeard's. It's a very solid entry in that group, but there's nothing especially different about it.

                                                          2. re: bbqme

                                                            Cooking over wood is romanticized, but that might be because it's rare and becoming more so. And as it fades out, you lose a lot of the regional character of barbeque.

                                                            You can put a gas smoker in a suburban shopping mall chain. I've eaten at a lot of places like that, as well as restaurants claiming to the highest standards and none of them have compared to the product of a wood-fired pit, regardless of the style the restaurant was serving. Especially given how little is done to the meat with Carolina style, shouldn't there be more gas-smoked places receiving the same kinds of accolades as the traditional pit restaurants? The wood really does make a difference.

                                                            1. re: Bricoleur

                                                              If you branch out to barbeque outside of NC, there are a bunch of places that have received accolades that don't cook over wood.

                                                              1. re: bbqme

                                                                And that may work fine for styles that use heavily spiced rubs and/or lots of thick, tomatoey sauces. But NC barbecue is just pork and a bit of vinegar and pepper and salt. The extra flavoring from live coals is easily noticeable- and I would argue, necessary.

                                                                1. re: Naco

                                                                  I agree we will just have to agree to disagree that cooking over wood necessarily provides extra flavor. Texturally, there is definitely a difference.

                                                                  1. re: bbqme

                                                                    Yes, I think our positions are about opposite. The textural differences will have more to do with how the barbecue is chopped and what parts of the hog are used than the fuel. Cooking methods too, although these should be roughly the same, save for the fuel. As for flavor, I don't see how one can deny that cooking with solid fuel, which produces smoke containing the essence of the fuel, is going to fail to produce a difference vis a vis electricity or gas, which rely on tasteless heating elements. This is such a basic thing that I am surprised anyone whose livelihood doesn't depend on it would deny it. Smoke flavors things; it's pretty simple.

                                                                    1. re: Naco

                                                                      I'm in your camp on this, Naco. Out here in California, a bunch of people cook pork over gas. As far as I'm concerned, there's a huge difference between roasted pork and smoked pork. If it were as simple as texture, I wouldn't have had to resort to having BBQ from NC smoked over hickory coals and shipped to me.

                                                                      1. re: mikeh

                                                                        Let me start by saying the best versions of ENC barbecue I've tasted have all been cooked over coals In fact the best versions of barbecue I've had from any appropriate area have been cooked over coals. That being said, smoking does not have to happen over coals. Cold smoked fish, like salmon, is not smoked over coals. When I've cold smoked fish, the heat source is irrelevant. The idea is introducing smoke without heat. When done perfectly, it produces the greatest smoked fish to be tasted.

                                                                        Sous vide cooking is a current hot technique that is very similar in it's attempt to perfect how you run heat and flavor through a protein (or veg or starch or whatever). The idea is to transform some relatively inedible item to a perfect edible item, cooked at a temperature and nature that transforms it into something great. An electric hot smoker is intriguing in it's ability to perfect cooking temps while introducing smoke flavor. I have yet to taste barbecue made using these technological advantages that rivals the great traditional versions, but it is not far away. If you could cook pig perfectly with the help of precise temperature, and add smoke that equals the flavor of cooking over coals, the result should be top notch.

                                                                        1. re: veganhater

                                                                          I'll agree that it *ought* to be possible, but the proof is in the pudding. The thing that gets me about gas/electric cooked barbecue is not just that it's inferior to the traditionally cooked stuff- it's that you can barely distinguish one iteration from another. There is next to no differentiation.

                                                                          Wake me when someone uses an electric or gas smoker to do barbecue that's equal to Pete Jones or Blackbeard's.

                                                                          1. re: Naco

                                                                            I've been known to drive around a building in search of a wood pile prior to eating at a place. Its my experience in cooking and eating that 'que cooked over wood is better.

                                                                        2. re: mikeh

                                                                          Smoking pork does not require wood. When using gas to barbeque wood pellets or chips are added to produce smoke. If anything, this alternative can create a smokier barbeque than that cooked over embers.

                                                                          I disagree with Naco that the textural difference is due to the way barbeque is chopped. Cooking with gas produces a moist heat whereas cooking with wood produces a dry heat. Dry heat creates a crispier, more interesting bark than gas cooked barbeque does.

                                                                          1. re: bbqme

                                                                            Perhaps it *can*- but does it? Ever?

                                                                            As for moist vs. dry heat- I don't know that that's true. How does a burner on a gas cooker create moisture? But even accepting that for the sake of argument, I can only see that being a difference with Lexington style barbecue. As eastern style is whole hog with the skin on, there is no "bark" or "outside brown", as the skin is covering the meat. Any differences in how the skin turns out would be irrelevant, as I've never run across a gas/electric place that actually puts the skin in.

                                                                            1. re: Naco

                                                                              Sure does. For example, the gas and pellet cooked barbeque at The Q Shack in Durham is a lot smokier than the wood cooked barbeque at Lexington #1.

                                                                              A gas cooker creates moise because one of the byproducts of gas combustion is water vapor. It is for this reason that bakers prefer gas over electric ovens, because the moisture produced helps keep their baked goods from drying out.

                                                                              -----
                                                                              Q Shack
                                                                              2510 University Dr, Durham, NC 27707

                                                          3. re: bbqme

                                                            BBQJew, do you know where Damon Lapas is working? What a great cook he was when he was working at the BBQ Joint.

                                                            1. re: Jim DuPree

                                                              I am not sure what Damon Lapas is up to these days. I know the Barbecue Joint still exists as a catering company, last I heard, but not sure if it was Damon or his business partner or both running it. As for cooking over wood, I do believe there is a real taste difference versus electric. Not a hit you over the head difference but a subtle one. And NC BBQ is subtle stuff. That said, I see where Sam of The Pig is coming from in terms of memory and context playing a big role in taste for BBQ (and to an extent for all foods).

                                                              -----
                                                              The Barbecue Joint
                                                              630 Weaver Dairy Rd Ste 101, Chapel Hill, NC 27514

                                                              1. re: Porky LeSwine

                                                                Porky, thanks for your reply.
                                                                "I am not sure what Damon Lapas is up to these days.--"

                                                              2. re: Jim DuPree

                                                                Hey Jim, Damon parted ways with the Barbecue Joint.
                                                                He's currently working with us at Vimala's Curryblossom Cafe in the Courtyard. He's indeed a great cook, and a lot of fun to work with.
                                                                On the topic of smoking pig, Damon smokes ours for us.

                                                                -----
                                                                Vimala's Curryblossom Cafe
                                                                431 W Franklin St, Chapel Hill, NC 27516

                                                                1. re: rajeevofcarrboro

                                                                  Thanks rajeevofcarrboro, I will try Vimala's Curryblossom Cafe the next time that I'm in Chapel Hill. It's great to learn that Damon is still cooking.
                                                                  I'll see you folks soon at Vimala's Curryblossom Cafe.

                                                                  Thanks for the reply.

                                                                  -----
                                                                  Vimala's Curryblossom Cafe
                                                                  431 W Franklin St, Chapel Hill, NC 27516

                                                                  1. re: Jim DuPree

                                                                    The first few times we went to Vimala's I avoided the BBQ. I thought it was a "husband dish", meaning it was there so some non-adventurous eater would have a safe dish. On one visit, Vimala gave us a sample and it was a really good version of 'que.

                                                                  2. re: rajeevofcarrboro

                                                                    Ah hah, that would explain the oddity (but a good one) on the menu!

                                                                    1. re: rajeevofcarrboro

                                                                      I think he may also be associated with a couple of places in Saxapahaw - the General Store and the Eddy Pub.

                                                                      -----
                                                                      General Store Cafe
                                                                      39 West St, Pittsboro, NC 27312

                                                                      1. re: suse

                                                                        true! you're quite well informed, suse, this is a relatively recent development.

                                                                2. Personally, I think if it is going to be called The Pig it should feature 1 of 3 things.. bbq, a buffet (or both) or snout to tail eating... just basing on name alone.

                                                                  16 Replies
                                                                  1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                                                                    The Pig does 1 and 3.

                                                                    1. re: bbqme

                                                                      fyi in that tiny mall is a new Persian tearoom; if you want something different for tea & dessert after your que

                                                                      1. re: Rory

                                                                        Ooooh, thanks for the heads up. We are huge tea drinkers in our household-- even the kids. We just got in about $60 worth of tea from our favorite tea vendor in Philly. Will that stop me from checking this place out? No! I'll report as soon as I visit.

                                                                      2. re: bbqme

                                                                        Yes the owners of the person tea place own the veggie restaurant next to Subway. I didn't realize that The Pig did snout to tail dining. As far as featuring BBQ, I don't think that ist he case since most people seem to agree that the other offerings are much better. I meant that the BBQ takes top billing.

                                                                        1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                                                                          I think they do a much better job with snout to tail than with BBQ. My favorite of their snout to tail methods is their collards - they smoke the tails and feet from the pigs they butcher, then boil them in beer, and use the smoke/pork infused beer to cook the collards. There's so much collagen in the collards, they set up like a jello mold in the fridge.

                                                                          1. re: mpjmph

                                                                            I guess I didn't think that classifies as snout to tail. Maybe it does, but I'm thinking where you are actually eating the products not using them to flavor a broth.

                                                                            See Resto's Large Format or

                                                                            http://newyork.seriouseats.com/2009/0...

                                                                            Actually it would be cool if you could go to a restaurant and have a pig pickin their. Like call it in and go the next day and there at your table is a pig thats waiting to be pulled apart.. (I'm sure it exists but not around here that I know of)

                                                                            1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                                                                              I ate at a place in Colorado that did this one night a week. I'd bet that many BBQ places would be willing to play along if the price were right.

                                                                              1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                                                                                It doesn't just flavor the broth, you eat the meat at well. Usually the smoked hog jowl, feet, etc., is removed, the meat is pulled off the bones, chopped, and then added back in with the collards.

                                                                            2. re: burgeoningfoodie

                                                                              In the interview he says that he is most proud of his barbecue. To him the barbecue is the top billing.

                                                                              1. re: bbqme

                                                                                @BF is that place Pomegranate Kitchen? I'm dying to try their food.
                                                                                @bbqme what kind of teas? I tend to drink my tea, British style strong with milk & sugar or Indian chai masala

                                                                                1. re: Rory

                                                                                  That ain't British style that's Indian style too. Anything the Brits do with tea they learned from us and the Chinese. I too like strong black teas: favorites are Earl Grey, English breakfast, and lychee scented kongou. We also like green tea, regular and scented with jasmine. The mail order company I use is www.troisgtea.com.

                                                                                  P.S. Pomegranate Kitchen is next to New Hope Commons so I don't think so.

                                                                                  1. re: bbqme

                                                                                    Heh, thanks bbqme for the lesson;-). I love Earl Grey too & English Breakfast, less green tea, and I'm checking the tea link, many thanks

                                                                                    arg, PK- that's a bit far to go, I wish they were closer.

                                                                                    1. re: Rory

                                                                                      What is Pomegranate Kitchen? Something new? I've somehow not heard a peep about this place.

                                                                                      1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                        http://carpedurham.com/2011/02/20/pom...

                                                                                        1. re: ToothTooth

                                                                                          Thanks toothtooth!

                                                                                      2. re: Rory

                                                                                        Rory, it turns out I may have my facts wrong after all. After further research, I found out that the Brits actually engaged in a big marketing campaign to get Indians to drink more tea. So you were right and I stand corrected. Let me know if you try troisgtea and if you like it.

                                                                          2. These are good reviews and so helpful. You all have not convinced me that I should try this place after several bad experiences at the former place. Why go for second best when you can go to Allen's for the optimal BBQ.
                                                                            If you go to South Carolina make your way to the very ultimate - Scotts in Hemingway. Rodney Scott was in Chapel Hill this week and cooked for an event at 3-Cups. Now that was the real deal!

                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                            1. re: LindyD

                                                                              So after trying The Pig yesterday, I think this conclusion might be an incorrect notion. There are two important reasons why everyone should go to The Pig - 1) Allen&Son is not open every day of the week; 2) you get amazing (I mean, brilliant and world-changing) sides and snout-to-tail eating at The Pig that you can't find anywhere else in the Triangle.

                                                                              Owner has done an incredible job with this place. He's cleaned it up, made the decor a lot brighter, airy, organized, and comfortable, and has made the food significantly better than it was at The Barbecue Joint. First of all, the barbecue itself is the best non-pit-cooked bbq I have had. Sure, it doesn't quite stand up to an Allen&Son or Blackbeard's (see my separate review), but his whole hog approach has allowed the meat to have a very complex flavor and mix of textures to it. There was even carmelization and outside char/brown (see photo below). My wife, who in days past refused to even touch The Barbecue Joint's bbq, said that this would be her default bbq on days that Allen&Son is closed or if she wanted some southern side dishes, either on their own as a veggie plate or with bbq. I rank the bbq itself above some Triangle places that use a more traditional method, like The Pit or Backyard BBQ. I'd say it's even better than A&M Grill in Mebane.

                                                                              The side dishes were absolutely inspired. He took a side like collards that had already been done very well at The Barbeque Joint, and added a twist. In this case, I believe it was cumin. The texture was so velvety and the potlikker is some of the best I've had in the state. We actually saved the pork-infused potlikker and will use it for cooking throughout the week.

                                                                              The brussels sprouts and shrooms were amazing. Render some pork/drippings/fatback, carmelize the sprouts and shrooms with a balsamic reduction, and you get one of the best veggie sides I've had anywhere, and I don't even like brussels sprouts.

                                                                              What I like about what he's doing generally is how he's pushing the envelope. Along the front bar he has various pig pickings, cheeses, and fats that you can eat there or buy in bulk. Call it Southern charcuterie. His homemade hot dogs, which I did not have a chance to try, are apparently creating quite a buzz. They're about to begin selling them in packs for people to take home.

                                                                              To summarize - there's nowhere better to get Southern-style veggie sides in Chapel Hill/Durham. There are few places in the Triangle that do better bbq than here. For gas/electric bbq, this is as good as it gets. If I still lived in the area, both Allen&Son and The Pig would be fixtures in my weekly restaurant rotation. Having tried Blackbeard's and The Pig for the first time this past weekend, I'd have to say that The Pig was the more impressive find. I was not expecting that.

                                                                               
                                                                               
                                                                               
                                                                              1. re: mikeh

                                                                                What sets this apart from other gas/electric barbecue? I'm definitely surprised to see you rank it higher than The Pit's. For all my problems with that place, the barbecue is some of the best around.

                                                                                I'm curious to see your Blackbeard's review.

                                                                                1. re: mikeh

                                                                                  I agree with you. Blackbeard's barbecue is better and their sides are good, but the Pig's dishes other than barbecue are outstanding and imaginative. It goes back to previous posts, in that I don't consider The Pig a barbecue joint. I'd also like to see your report on Blackbeards, as it's a family favorite of ours.

                                                                              2. The Pig's facebook page has a picture of a 600-day aged Cane Creek country ham they're selling. Has anyone had any?

                                                                                4 Replies
                                                                                1. re: brokegradstudent

                                                                                  That ham looks great! It would be served along with bacony devlied eggs.

                                                                                  I may have to get over there for lunch today

                                                                                  1. re: brokegradstudent

                                                                                    Has anyone tried the new place in Hillsboroug - The Hillsborough BBQ Company?

                                                                                    1. re: LindyD

                                                                                      Yes:

                                                                                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/776425
                                                                                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/814559

                                                                                      1. re: LindyD

                                                                                        didn't like it, tho hushpuppies were best i've ever had!