A few weeks ago we tried The Pig, appropriately named, in Chapel Hill. This is a new restaurant which opened up in the space which used to be the Barbecue Joint. The menu focuses on all things pig, including sandwiches of smoked pork, barbecue, headcheese all the way to pork tamales. The pigs (and most everything they serve for that matter) are local and pasture-raised and most of the various pork products are made in house such as bacon and bologna.
The space is very simple and with a few tables and counter service. But, this isn’t the kind of place you go for the atmosphere and decor. It is all about the food! We analyzed the menu for a long time and finally decided to try the headcheese appetizer, the fried chicken sandwich and the pork tamale. I typically shy away from things like headcheese but G wanted to try it and it got rave reviews from the couple behind us in line. It was wonderful! It was perfectly composed with different textures and nice salty, vinegary tang. My only complaint was that it was a huge serving for an appetizer. The chicken sandwich was very good. Perfectly crispy chicken with a nice white bun. The highlight was the pork tamale. The pork was succulent and simply seasoned so not to overpower the sweet masa. Additionally, the pork to masa ratio was perfect, providing enough pork for each bite of masa. The salsa it was served with used roasted tomatoes which gave it a nice smoky flavor.
The food was perfect, simple and prepared with a true understanding of how to highlight the meat! We will have to return to try the barbecue and more.
630 Weaver Dairy Road, Suite 101
Chapel Hill, NC 27514
The Pit might be the area’s most famous barbeque place. The chef, Ed Mitchell, is an ambassador for this southern food specialty with appearances on the Bobby Flay’s Throwdown (he won), the Today show and numerous articles in the likes of the New York Times and Gourmet. He is also an advocate for traditional methods and process with his work through the Southern Foodways Alliance. As is often the case with celebrity chefs, there is disagreement on how good the food is. Some argue that The Pit is the best barbeque in the area. Others argue that it is not authentic and too catered to the tourist. With all of this controversy and press we just had to try it.
A couple of our friends were throwing a surprise 40th anniversary party for their parents this past weekend in Western, Mass. One of our friends is Filipino and seems to have grown up on pork products and cannott resist anything pig. Since he was in charge of the menu he catered with a whole smoked pig! I got roped into helping out with decorations and set-up but I didn’t mind as I got to take part in my first smoked whole pig.
The event was catered by B.T. Smokehouse out of Brimfield, MA. Brian Treitman is the chef and owner who started this smokehouse after realizing barbeque was his passion. He arrived around 7:30am with the 72 lb pig, smoker and entire set up! Once he set up the smoker he had enough down time to chat with me so I learnt how Brian ended up with a smokehouse. Brian trained at the Culinary Institute of America and worked at many of the big name restaurants in Napa, CA, Washington State, and here in Boston, MA. He always had passion for barbeque, cooking for his friends even after the long hours at the restaurants. One day while bartending, he happened upon a few lucky Home Depot gift cards and found himself the proud owner of a smoker! He came to realize that the big city restaurants were not what he wanted and his true passion is barbeque. So, he headed west and opened up the B.T. Smokehouse (it didn’t hurt that he could be closer to his wife and soon to be new baby!).