Hand Cut Pimento Cheese Fries with Cheek Bacon
All Dark Meat Fried Chicken with Pickles, Hush Puppies, and Slaw
Hickory Smoked Whole-Hog BBQ, Roughly Chopped and seasoned by Cider Vinegar Sauce with Pickles, Hush Puppies, and Slaw
Sweet Potato Bread Pudding
Targeted as our final meal in the state of North Carolina, a post-game destination after watching Roy Williams run the 4-Corners in honor of Dean Smith against Wake Forrest in the dome bearing his legendary name, it was just moments prior to 3:00pm that we entered The Pig and with a sign at the door proudly promoting the use of locally-raised hormone and antibiotic-free pork the barbeque that followed was the very definition of ‘saving the best for last.’
Perhaps a bit more hip and trendy than traditionalists looking for a spot like Ole Time or Allen & Son would prefer, but at the same time offering all the essentials plus some whimsical specials in a space far less commercial than The Pit, it was only after standing back perusing the laminated menu and chalkboards that an order was placed, the $45 tab after tax and tip speaking to higher ingredient quality while the décor was mostly wood, tile, and Formica with a few swine-centric ornaments strewn about.
Waiting only ten minutes while a few more parties sporting Tar Heel Blue filed in, it was with both appetizers and mains served simultaneously that we sat impressed by the portions and uncertain of where to start a mixed tasting would ensue, first bites of the crispy hand-cut potatoes beneath spicy pimento cheese and briny cheek bacon proving far better than later bites after the oil set in while both the slaw and hushpuppies were as good as we found during our trip, the later rich with herbs beneath a particularly crisp shell.
Focusing next on the “Carolina Classics,” though here served as separate plates as opposed to in combo form, the question of whether the brined bird or cracklin’ studded pork was better is truly a matter of taste because no matter how you rate it they both were reference standard, the former just short of Beasley’s for best in The Triangle while the later was even more succulent than that at Ayden’s Skylight Inn, a tremendous amount of smoke proving an adept balance acid and salt.
Not exactly a spot for sweets, but trying far harder than many mom n’ pop houses of ‘cue, it was a menu of four specials that we were left to navigate and with the banana pudding an obvious choice my personal preferences also saw a bowl of steamy bread pudding arrive alongside, the former nothing to write home about compared to those at Mandolin, The Pit, or others while the sweet potato pie-meets-flan concoction was surprisingly mild, the tuber’s natural starches providing most of the flavor alongside milky tones with whipped cream added for sweetness as well as to lighten the load, each bite still stick-a-spoon-up-straight thick.