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bearded pig barbecue

went today, they opened Monday. Drove past it the first time. They are indeed next to Dosa Temple a bit west down somerville ave. past the Market Basket. No sign at the top of the building. so easy to miss...we were told they still need permission from the city...a banner sign hanging below the window blocked by parked cars but their logoed van was out front.

we tried the pulled pork with vinegar slaw and bearded baked beans. We like the pork a lot....low on the smoke a bit ..... hot sauce very good...he doesn't have the NC vinegar sauce yet but the "original" sauce very good as well. We can always doctor it up with more vinegar. Bearded baked beans excellent...at least four kinds of beans with a nice kicky sauce. We liked the NC vinegar slaw as well...nice and crunchy, no mayo, lots of black pepper...I would have prefer a bit more vinegar but I'm from NC and more vinegar is a big change for most...I do dislike creamy cole slaw and this is a healthy alternative.

We'll be back...they have banana pudding which we didn't try, want to try the ribs, etc. and some other sides. Nice set up for eat in. Great addition to Somerville! Prefer it to Redbones by far!

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  1. We had a great take out meal from there last night. We are hard core former Southerners, so we have high standards when it comes to BBQ. Pulled pork was declared delicious by all. The baked beans were a nice combo of various beans in a light vinegard based dressing. A new take on them that I loved. The mac & cheese was also delicious- I am a fan of gooey over creamy, and this was a another nice surprise. Both the vinegar and creamy slaws were well received, mainly because they were light on the dressing, which might not be to everyone's taste, but we enjoyed it. The one low light was the pulled chicken, which didn't really look like chicken (disconcerting) and didn't taste like much. It was the loser by far. That said, we were all nicely surprised & loved the hospitality on the phone and in the store (including not assembling sandwiches until we arrived so that they don't get soggy). Worth a try- and next time we'll get the pudding.

    1. We have a winner! Just had a brisket sandwich, vinegar slaw, and beans. All excellent.

      Brisket was a little on the tough and gristly side, and i discarded some unchewable bits, but I'll take that any day if it comes with great dry smokey bbq flavor. (Heck, my late jewish grandmother, NOT known for her cooking, made super tender brisket that tasted like water.) I tried both the traditional and hot and spicy bbq sauces. Both were brown tomato+vinegar sauces, tarter than the standard KC style but still a little sweet, very tasty.

      Vinegar slaw was very tasty, looked like some quick pickled onions in there, celery seed, etc. Like Madrid, I'd vote for a little more vinegar and a little less sweet, but that may not please the crowd.

      Beans were a nice surprise, not quite sure how to describe them. They were not cooked beyond recognition a la "boston" baked beans. Each bean remained distinct in the liquidy broth. Several different kinds of beans, large green ones, midsized white ones, tiny brown ones, all very flavorful. Quite substantial but lighter than most baked beans.

      Standard issue fountain sodas are the only beverage options. I hope they add some good ice tea and lemonade soon.

      1. Hit it up for lunch. Wasn't my favorite in the greater area (including BTs even though that's off topic for this board) but was generally pretty good and right down the street from me which is a plus.

        I liked the meats - had the pulled pork, brisket & ribs. The pork was fantastic. Brisket had a good flavor but was a bit dry & tough. The ribs had a good rub on them but were dry in some spots. One negative was that all of the meats could use more smoke IMO, but I like smokey Q.

        Tried all of the sauces and enjoyed them all. The mustard sauce was fantastic w/ the pork. I liked the sweet the most w/ the brisket. The ribs tasted good w/ all 4. I'd like to see a true vinegar sauce for the pork. All of htem had good flavor though.

        Sides: The vinegar slaw could use more vinegar as others said. The beans were fantastic as others said - the sauce it was in, hard to believe they were vegetarian. I liked the texture of the Mac & Cheese, she thought it lacked flavor.

        Oh yeah, Mr Pibb on the fountain!

        Personally I'd prefer to eat at Blackstrap, but Blackstrap is out in Winthrop. This blows Redbones out of the water and is better than Blue Ribbon - I'll take it.

        1. Mixed bag for me. Like others, loved the beans. They more reminded me of a three (five?) bean salad than normal baked beans. Creamy coleslaw was light and flavorful, though I did add some more vinegar. Enjoyed the collard greens. Unfortunately they gave me more beans instead of the mac and cheese I ordered, so didn't get to try that (though worked out for my partner--he loved the beans he got by accident).

          Brisket was kind of tough and way too fatty--couldn't eat at least 1/4 of it. I prefer more smoke taste in my meat as well. Maybe it just needs to cook longer? I didn't try the ribs, but my partner said they were just okay and also wondered if they would benefit from a longer cooking time.

          Service was enthusiastic and friendly. We both agreed we'll try again in a month or so to see if our experiences reflect opening-week kinks to work out or if its just not for us.

          2 Replies
          1. re: LeoLioness

            I'm hoping he'll read these comments and cook longer. I put some of the leftover pulled pork in the microwave and it crisped up nicely and some of the fat cooked off. Nothing like burnt ends, but just a bit more cooking made it better for us, even without more smoke.

            We were the only people ordering when we were there and the nice young woman next to the guy heard everything we said, but still managed to give us the creamy cole slaw instead of vinegar. The guy took one look at the plate and said, not that, the vinegar. So I wonder if there are some kinks to work out and better listening.

            Also he did say he would get the NC vinegar sauce "soon." I almost said, let me bring you some. It's so easy to make and I love Chris S's Thrill of the Grill recipe...it's so simple and so good.

            1. re: LeoLioness

              See I thought the brisket needed more fat. Granted I prefer fatty brisket (anyone who disagrees is dumb!!!!!!!!!) but mine was nearly devoid of fat.

            2. Stopped in tonight. Got a 1/4 rack and Mac n cheese. Took it home to gnaw in private. I like the ribs and his original sauce has a nice cumin accent that people will love or hate. The ribs had good chew and pull. Not falling off the bone which is legit. Mac n cheese is good not great. Didn't make me tear my blouse off but satisfied enough to try again. Super nice folks too who apologized for the line and reminded me to take sauce to go. They know they have some process issues to iron out and I just reminded the sweet chef/owner to breathe!

              1. We tried the Bearded Pig for the first time last night. I am born and raised in Boston with a 3 yr stint in Texas and 10 yrs in North Carolina, while my husband was born and raised in Southern Georgia along the Alabama border. He has some very specific requirements of barbeque and does some really fabulous smoking of meats at home.

                As you can imagine, our reactions to the Bearded Pig were a bit different. We ordered a lot of food so that we could try as much as possible. On our trays we had brisket, pulled pork, vinegar cole slaw, baked beans, collard greens, mac & cheese and a bunch of ribs. [The lack of iced tea was painful. Never eaten these foods without it before!]

                Our first impression was "sweet." Not wildly sweet, but sweet undertones but we quickly moved past that. The pulled pork was the winner by far. Our portion included some nice crispy bits and there was a nice moisture level. The brisket was quite dry with a nice fat cap, but this was not Texas brisket by any means. Any moisture was going to come from a sauce. The ribs were actually decent! Not overcooked, good flavor, though a little dull without sauce. We are accustomed to a bit more flavor in the dry rub. So the sauces. We tried three of the sauces- Original, Hot and Sweet, Mustard. The Hot And Sweet was just sweet and of no interest to us. The original has a very nice cumin flavor with some underpinnings of a pepper, with a touch of sweetness and finally, the mustard tasted like mustard. We ended up mixing the mustard and original into a container to get some more bite and to approximate Georgia mustard BBQ which we both really like. Overall, I thought the sauces need some more personality and a lot less sugar.

                The sides were interesting. I really liked the beans once I got past the sweetness level. The vinegar slaw was very good though the addition of slivered green peppers was a negative. The mac & cheese was not bad, but I like what I make more. And finally, my husband just couldn't eat those collards. He is used to greens cooked with a bunch of fat back, with much less vinegar and cooked to death, while I, who generally hate Southern collards enjoyed them tremendously. Vegetarian collard greens actually taste like a vegetable! [Who knew?]

                Though we ordered platters, folks that ordered sandwiches were given a slightly smaller portion of meat with a room temperature, commercial hamburger bun on the side. For those that just want a smaller meat portion, this would be a perfect option if you hold the bun.

                The Bearded Pig is right in my neighborhood so I wish it hit a few more of my boxes. But if we didn't already cook this style of food at home, we would eat there frequently. Would love it if they started to sell that pulled pork by the pound and of course, offer some home-brewed iced tea.

                9 Replies
                1. re: smtucker

                  p.s. Had the leftover brisket and ribs for lunch today. We made a sauce of original, mustard, and some kick-ass inner beauty sauce, served with fresh green beans, sliced garden tomato and some home cured pickles. Now this was good!

                  1. re: smtucker

                    wouldn't it be nice if there were also some housemade pickles? I OD'ed on sweet iced tea growing up in NC but I do understand the need for iced tea with barbecue.

                    I'm afraid I offended him the last time I was in...I was going in just to get three sides and he asked if I wanted the veg plate with three sides plus cornbread. I asked if the cornbread was yankee or southern, he said southern. I asked if it had sugar and he said of course, sugar and honey. I know there is lots of controversy on cornbread but I'm in the camp of southern cornbread is one of the only things southerners cook that doesn't have sugar. He looked at me as if I were green and said he's from northern Florida and there there is always sugar.

                    He is a sweet and earnest and hardworking guy and I want to support this place. Maybe I'll take him some cornbread without sugar so he knows it exists. I'm sure it wouldn't sell here, but I like having people try new things. And it's awesome straight out of the cast iron skillet with butter!

                    1. re: Madrid

                      Oh that cornbread is clearly a sweetened version. Nothing Southern about it, unless they add some sugar in Florida? I have never had BBQ in Jacksonville. I ate the cornbread, but Mr. Southern wasn't even interested in taking off his plastic wrap.

                      And yes to house-made pickles. I can't even imagine a pulled pork sandwich without it!

                      My husband is fighting the urge to take down some of our "house" sauce for ribs. He really wants this guy to succeed. Actually the term used was "school him." Amazing how passionate people are about their regional version of BBQ!

                      1. re: Madrid

                        Sorry, but that Southern / Northern cornbread thing is hooey. I've had sweet cornbread in a dozen places south of the Mason-Dixon line.

                        1. re: StriperGuy

                          then maybe it's a north carolina thing.

                        2. re: Madrid

                          We acquired what is now our family recipe from the cook at a Bed and Breakfast in New Orleans. It is sweet, baked in an iron frypan and has a nice crust.

                        3. re: smtucker

                          sm, gotta ask you about that 'inner beauty hot sauce' you added. There is a CH on this board who has mentioned multiple times that he bemoans that ECGrill doesn't bottle it/sell it anymore, though it is offered as a bowl condiment on the ECG Bloody Mary bar iirc. But maybe that's not true and they're bottling it again? Where did you get yours? (or maybe it's leftover from the past; it prob has a 'forever' shelflife?)

                          1. re: opinionatedchef

                            When we pulled the last bottle of Inner Beauty sauce that we owned off the pantry shelf, I decided that we had to figure out how to make our own. It took three of us, two days to recreate the sauce. We tasted the bottled and then what we had created until we came very close.

                            Generally, I make three gallons of the sauce in September when the local farms are willing to practically give me fresh habaneros. I then distribute the results to friends who don't think they can get through a winter without some. I posted the recipe on the Home Cooking board once, but would certainly be happy to post again if you would like.

                            1. re: smtucker

                              Folks, if you are interested in this recipe, please join the discussion (with smtucker's version) here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/842778