Thursday, April 7, 2016
Round 2: Hog Heaven (Nashville, TN)
Apparently I'm five years old, because one of my coworkers insisted on setting up a play-date with me and one of her friends. Sigh. Knowing my affinity for smoked meat, she decided that barbecue would be the best ice breaker. It was hard to argue with that. Hog Heaven is easily the closest barbecue joint to our office building, and even though I wasn't exceptionally impressed with it on my first encounter, I'm always willing to give places a second chance.
Despite its prime real estate next to Centennial Park and being a mere hop-skip-and-a-jump from Vanderbilt University, Hog Heaven is quite literally a barbecue shack. There isn't really any way for them to spruce things up at all either, unless they could somehow manage to hang pictures on a porch screen. That's ok, I came here for the food and the company more so than the ambiance (which is good, because there isn't any).
Having been disappointed by the spare ribs during my initial Hog Heaven visit, I thought it best to try a Pulled Pork Plate this time. Since I already was mixing things up meat-wise, I decided to opt for some different sides as well. I picked their BBQ Beans and Mac and Cheese, along with the mandatory cornbread pancake. Patrons are also presented with their choice of sauces. Here, I stood firm with the tasty white barbecue sauce that I had sampled before, on the side of course.
Last time 'round I received a mediocre, dry cornbread pancake with my meal. This time was no different. Maybe it needs more butter, I don't know. The beans had an interesting flavor. I found them slightly spicy, but the base was far too viscous for my liking. They could have used a little more salt as well. As expected, the macaroni and cheese was gooey and comforting. It was tasty enough for a quick lunch, but nothing to get overly excited about.
As for the pork, color me disappointed yet again. I struggled to find the taste of delicious smoke, but came up empty. The pork was also somewhat waterlogged, which was odd but probably indicates that it was left to steam itself inside of a large container prior to serving. There was no discernible salt or other seasonings, even on the few pieces of bark that I received. The one saving grace was their homemade white barbecue sauce, which added a depth of flavor and spiciness to the void. As I recall, this was the only thing that halfway salvaged the subpar ribs on my first trip here.
The adage "three strikes, you're out" comes to mind, but this ain't baseball. Two unsatisfying meals at Hog Heaven are about all that I can endure. Oh well, at least the company and the conversation were enjoyable.
115 27th Ave N
Nashville, TN 37203