Pig Out BBQ is located on Eden Avenue, a mere half block from Main Street and amid the Southington “BBQ Triangle” that also includes Henhouse BBQ (right around the corner) and Smokin’ With Chris (a few blocks away). There’s plenty of parking and a noticeable emphasis on the bar. In fact, on both of my visits, the main dining room was dark and closed, with service only in the bar area. Outfitted with three TVs and a waitstaff that—though ‘cue-challenged—aims to please, Pig Out is a comfortable environment that struck me as somewhat of a throwback to the 1960s.
The ribs are spares, offered as a half rack a la carte, as a four rib dinner with two sides and a salad, and as part of the barbecue sampler that includes 2 ribs, a mini pulled pork sandwich, two sides and chili. Sandwiches, available in “Wimpy” and “Gut Buster” sizes, include pulled pork (regular or jerk) and Texas smoked beef.
The way the menu is constructed, it’s fairly obvious that Pig Out BBQ is one of those joints that’s attempting to have something for everyone, with more of its focus outside the barbecue realm. There’s a southwestern feel, several varieties of burritos, quesadillas, enchiladas and chili (including a chili martini). Sandwiches include a few different wraps, burgers, smoked pork loin and three kinds of chicken. Entrees include a flat iron steak, shrimp, scallops and more southwestern spins on chicken. There are eight different salads.
My first visit was for drinks and a couple of appetizers with my wife prior to a dinner around the block at Smokin’ With Chris. I returned several months later with a longtime friend with barbecue acumen to sample their ribs and pork.
On the first visit, we tried a small basket of the garlic salt and pepper chicken wings, whole wings served without sauce. These were tender and somewhat tasty, though I’m, not sure they were the “succulent” the menu promised. More up our alley were the Fire Starters, a crisp fried dumpling stuffed with cream cheese, smoked jalapenos, olives and cilantro atop a mildly spicy dipping sauce. Despite an assurance that everything on the menu was home made, the dish had that pre-fab feel, but it was still very enjoyable, especially with the cold beer on a hot afternoon.
The spare ribs arrived on their sides, fanned out on the plate with a light dab of barbecue sauce on top and a pool of sauce underneath for dipping. As the plate lowered to the table, we got a waft of smoke, but after that we didn’t notice any smoky aroma or taste. The meaty ribs were tender and slightly pink, with a light infusion of a flavor as if brined. The outside was browned but not what I’d call bark.
The pulled pork sandwich was served on a sub roll, with a mix of light and dark meat but no bark. In addition to a drizzle of what seemed to be the same barbecue sauce, the pork was topped with roasted red peppers. This pork was dry and could have used some more sauce. Although it wasn’t hard core barbecue, we still enjoyed the ribs, but the pork was a little tough to swallow.
It was hard to tell whether the meats were smoked. I didn't think they were, but we asked our waitress and she stuck to the story on the menu and said that they were.
No sauce is available on the table, but the ribs were presented with enough sauce as is. Under the half rack of ribs was a pool of sauce that was a KC/Carolina fusion that was a thinned down tomato-based sauce with vinegar and pepper to give it some balance and a refreshing tang. Dipping the pork in it helped.
Cole slaw was crisp, thinly cut cabbage in an incredibly sweet dressing, partially cut by fresh herbs. Baked beans were a homemade rendition of a commercial-style recipe, served in a very thick sauce with tiny bits of meat. Cornbread was dense and sweet.
The Bottom Line
If Richard Dawson woke me up in the middle of the night and said, "Name a Connecticut joint that's the epitome of true barbecue!" I surely wouldn't list Pig Out BBQ. But for what it is, it's not so bad.