The Pig–Chapel Hill
Some of you might be wondering if I ever cook anymore. The answer, unfortunately, is not so much. Cooking for this week consisted of one giant batch of pasta with mushrooms and broccoli which I’ve eaten at least one meal of a day for the last five days, and today, finally, I cooked something for the hell of it–another try at split pea soup (as if I didn’t have enough recipes for it already). Nothing fancy, for sure, and I’m itching to get back into the kitchen, but I’ve still a few hoops to jump through. Today was comps–four hours of essay writing (hey, I now know I can write 15 pages in 3 hours!)–and, assuming it went well, I’m one step closer to graduation. I’ve never heard of anyone failing, so *knock on wood* I should be ok.
G is out of town till Wednesday or something awful like that, so with time on my hands and soup on the stove, I finally created a Restaurant Review Index of all my restaurant reviews divvied up by city. It’s up there at the top of the site, so go ahead and check it out!
So this is my final Chapel Hill post. On our second trip down (this one in August), G & I didn’t have much time to hang out due to my thesis constraints. On Friday, April 8, we caught The Mountain Goats at Cat’s Cradle, but by afternoon on the 9th, we were home-bound. With Indian eats the night before and another round of Sunrise Biscuit Kitchen on Saturday morning (this time without the double order, thankfully), we did what every person ought to do when in Piedmont North Carolina: we got us some bar-b-q.
We didn’t eat any ol’ BBQ, though, we went with (dare I say it?) the best you can find in the area. Ok, ok, I don’t have any other joints to hold it up against, but I’m not sure you can ever beat sustainably-sourced pork with that crud from CAFOs. Yup, we went to The Pig. I found out about The Pig not through Yelp or through a local paper, but through Lantern’s website where the restaurant lists where former cooks/employees now work. When I read the note, “In Chapel Hill at The Pig, Sam Suchoff cooks whole hog pasture-raised BBQ and fries homemade bologna,” I was hooked–pasture raised BBQ in the heart of industrialized hog country?
Our timing couldn’t have been any more perfect that Saturday. When we walked into the restaurant around 4 pm, only one other table was occupied. After placing our order, every single table filled up and a line stretched out the door. Lucky us, the ones lazing with Bell’s in hand. The location of the restaurant is surprising–it’s not in Carborro or in the more downtown Chapel Hill area. Rather, it’s out on a suburban road nestled between upper middle class neighborhoods. I don’t know why chef Sam Suchoff chose to open there, but the location definitely isn’t a deterrent, if our Saturday visit was any indication.
Deciding what to order was near impossible. I’ll admit: I wanted that pork belly sandwich like no other. But I also wanted the in-house bologna, the pork plate, the shrimp and grits, and that oh-too-amazing sounding Country Fried Tofu. There was even a mushroom po’boy! In the end, we decided to split two things: the large pork plate with 2 sides and an in-house hot dog. For the pork plate we chose hushpuppies and the sprouts-n-shrooms, a heaping serving sauteed brussels sprouts and mushrooms. I could have eaten a bowl. I could have eaten a platter. I want to eat them every day! The hushpuppies were ok, but not stellar. But the pork? So tender, so juicy, so perfectly pork-tasting. The in-house vinegar and hot sauce was delicious on top, but the pork really didn’t even need those accouterments.
As for the hot dog…can I have another? When we ordered it, Sam asked what we wanted on it. I, being way too overwhelmed with the scope of the menu to start with, told him to put whatever is good on it. Result? In-house hot dog topped with coleslaw and mustard. Nom. The hot dogs itself is phenomenal–juicy with the perfect snap on the outside. I swear, if he’d had them for sale along with the bologna and other deli meats, I would have ordered all he had in stock. The coleslaw and mustard was perfect on top, so I’d recommend it if you order on of the ‘dogs.
All in all, a great place to stop and get some pasture-raised, hormone-free, craft whole hog BBQ. While I’m still a Memphis BBQ fan at heart, I could eat this pork any day of the week. It’s just another reason I’m so glad Chapel Hill is only 2.5 hours away, but, at the same time, so sad that it’s 2.5 hours away. They’re doing some good stuff down there and I know I’ve only just barely cracked the ice. Durham, Raleigh? Oh, I’ve still got to get to you!
630 Weaver Dairy Road
Chapel Hill, NC 27514
Monday-Saturday 11 am-9 pm