Saturday, July 28, 2018
Pig In! Pig Out! BBQ (Wichita, KS)
My original plan for Wichita was to stop at Bite Me BBQ, which was supposed to have some of the best 'que in that part of Kansas. But then I pulled up their website and was aghast at the prominent "fine print" rules:
- All kids must stay seated with an adult at all times.
- No unattended kids at the condiment table.
- If you ask for extra of something you'll be charged extra.
- No ordering off of the catering menu for dine-in customers.
- If you get a catering order you can't eat any of it inside the restaurant.
- $2.00 upcharge to share a plate with someone.
- Menu prices may be changed without notice.
All of these strict, librarian-esque rules were a real turnoff, even though none of them applied to me today. Barbecue is supposed to embody a relaxed "low and slow" attitude, and relaxed this place is not. So forget that crap, I decided to try my luck at the nearby Pig In! Pig Out! BBQ instead.
This joint is a little skimpy in the decor department, unless you count awards, in which case they're loaded up. Pig In! Pig Out! is altogether quiet and unassuming, with few frills of any kind. The lunch run had long since ended, so I pretty much had the place to myself. But I actually appreciated the peacefulness of it after being on the road for a few hours.
I ordered up a 4 Meat Sampler Dinner to try as much of their food as possible. Brisket, pulled pork, hot links, and ribs would do nicely for the meats, and I picked pasta salad and peach cobbler as my two sides. Dessert for a side? Because I could, that's why.
The pasta salad was fairly heavy on the mayo, to the extent that I couldn't really taste much else. Tri-color rotini pasta was a nice choice though, as were the black olives.
My brisket didn't look all that spectacular, with the bark pretty well removed. The thick, lean slices crumbled at each prod, but upon closer inspection they weren't really overcooked, so I'm not sure what the issue was exactly. I found the beef to be pleasantly smoky and rather tender, it just wasn't my style, as I prefer fatty bark-laden brisket.
Conversely, the pork looked much more inviting than the brisket, and it was tastier, too. There were certainly plenty of smoke-colored pieces to go around, although not much bark here either. Most of the pork was tender and juicy, but a few bites were drier than others. I tasted a moderate amount of smoke and little seasoning other than some salt, which was just fine by me.
The hot link's red casing matched its fiery interior perfectly. The casing was crisp with a good snap, and the coarse-ground meat inside had plenty of pepper throughout. I didn't purchase a drink to go with my meal, but the heat level at play here made me wish that I had. To be honest, I couldn't taste much more than heat, though perhaps that's the point of a hot link.
While the rest of my plate ranged from passable to mediocre, the ribs were really, really good. The salt and spices of the crust hit me right away, followed by a lingering smokiness. Juicy and succulent pork came away cleanly from the bone with each bite. The smoke ring didn't extend much below the crust, but I'll take flavor over appearance any day.
The cobbler was a bit doughy and chewy for my liking. On the plus side, the peaches were nice and sweet, and I always love the combination of fruit and brown sugar. I think some more cinnamon would have been nice though, as would a crunchy streusel topping.
Your best bet at Pig In! Pig Out! BBQ is to just get a rack of ribs and be done with it.
1003 E 13th St N
Wichita, KS 67214