The Smokey Pig in Ashland, VA, just up I-95 from us Richmonders, had been recommended highly by many people as having outstanding BBQ. With my Hound of Chow brother coming down in a few weeks who'd requested that we take him to a good Q joint, the husband and I decided to take a test lunch run up to the Pig.
It's nice enough, and easy to find. We ordered an basket of onion rings, a sliced pork platter with beans and slaw for me, and ribs, beans and slaw for the husband. The onion rings, admittedly, were excellent--beer-battered and practically greaseless. Little did we know that would be the highlight of the meal. The food wasn't horrible, mind you. Just ... bland. The pork was tender, but had no smoke flavoring whatsoever. The sauce tasted like watered-down ketchup with no spices (thank Dog for Texas Pete). The slaw and beans were okay, but nothing spectacular. The ribs looked great, but were tough and greasy--the husband could get very little meat off of them. I gave him about half my pork so he wouldn't starve. Then, because we were still hungry, we ordered dessert--apple pie for him, strawberry shortcake for me. The shortcake was two big tough flavorless biscuity pieces DROWNED in frozen strawberries and sugar syrup, with the tiniest dome of--horrors!--Cool Whip on top. The husband's pie was about 75 percent cardboard-like pastry and 25% sugary apple filling. The prices weren't bad--$30 for the two of us--but we could not understand the raves for this place.
There's nothing worse than traveling for some ostensibly good chow, only to be "rewarded" with mediocre food. That, alas, is what happened to us today. I hate when that happens ...
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