... and a few other lip-smacking sins
By Maren Tarro
Guy Nix may very well be the devil. Hell, he even has his own fiery pit. But instead of tortured souls and brimstone, his is brimming with blazing barbecue that sends wafts of smoky temptation through a modest dining room on Juan Tabo.
Nestled in a corner between a tanning salon and a dog groomer, Porky’s Pride Real Pit BBQ smokes and sauces mounds of meat in a style reminiscent of the Midwest— specifically Missouri.
Nix prefers this style of barbecue because he says “It’s not too much smoke or sauce; just enough.”
Ordering is done in typical smokehouse fashion—by the meat. Choose from pork, chicken or beef, pulled and piled on a plate (platters cost $9.75 to $15.75) or bun (“meatwiches” range from $6.75 to $7.75), in a sausage or on the bone. Then add on a side or two, grab some extra napkins and settle into a vinyl chair.
Spicy smoked sausage, or hot link, comes stuffed in a natural casing that makes a satisfying "pop" when you sink your teeth into it. With a manly amount of hickory flavor, you’ll want to keep every thick slice of these bad boys all to your greedy self.
Pulled chicken is no less brawny. Conveniently shredded from the bone (à la pulled pork), the light and dark meat appeals to the sloth in us all. Here, it's a tender canvas for bright, peppery seasonings, and an occasional charred piece changes up the texture just enough to keep things from getting boring.
Beef brisket turns out so tender and full-flavored that diners may be moved to erect a golden calf in its honor. Pleasantly absent from this idolatry-inspiring bliss are the expected hunks of chewy fat, making the pound of shredded flesh a somewhat guiltless indulgence.
Nix’ ribs just might tickle yours. St. Louis-cut spareribs get the same treatment as all the other meat but somehow come out of the fire a cut above the rest of the menu. Muscle barely clings to bones, and Nix’ smoky spice blend creates a rack that’ll have you lusting after porcine anatomy in a most unholy way.
While saying "pulled pork" in mixed company usually elicits at least a giggle, eating Nix’ causes a slightly more subdued response. This little piggy is nearly divine in consistency but falls flat on the taste buds. An extra slathering of the piquant tomato-based barbecue sauce lands it squarely in limbo.
Fret not, fellow gluttons. Porky’s brings more to the table than protein. All entrées come with a side (available à la carte, $1.75 to $2.25 a pint). Potato salad weighs in as an affable starchy contender. Thick, creamy and full of surprises like green olives and bacon, you won’t find this wicked concoction at any church potluck. Triple baked beans mix things up by combining navy, kidney and lima beans in savory sauce with bacon and little bits of ground beef. According to Nix, “It’s the only way to eat lima beans.”
The kid’s meal ($4.25) is designed to lead the little lambs astray. Meat (of course) is matched with fried mac and cheese, coleslaw or french fries and is devilishly good. A side of quarters to play the claw-machine really brings them over to the dark side.
And you’ll definitely want to get your just desserts. The pecan pie ($2.50) is homemade, but I would consider signing away my soul for Nix’ brick-sized Rice Krispy and Cocoa Pebble treats ($2). Gooey and crunchy with a hint of chocolate, sin never tasted so damn good. And they’re also available with Fruity Pebbles.
While Porky’s may be a pig's vision of hell, it’s a heavenly hole-in-the-wall for us unapologetic carnivores. The reasonable prices are so forgiving, you have nothing to lose from a little diet disobedience.
The Alibi recommends:
• Combo "meatwich"
• Rib dinner
• Extra sides of triple baked beans
• Nix' Rice Krispy treat
Porky’s Pride Real Pit BBQ, 2906 Juan Tabo NE, 292-RIBS (7427). Hours: Every day 10:30 a.m.-9 p.m. Price range: inexpensive. Credit cards, large parties, drive-thru, catering.
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