Restaurants & Bars

Georgia Pig -- Ft. Lauderdale/Plantation border BBQ

s.m. koppelman | Jan 29, 200310:35 PM     2

With all the chitchat about the Ft. Lauderdale barbecue spots that sprang up in the last few years like Tom Jenkins and Jack's Smokehouse, the oldtimers have been neglected a bit on this board.

First among them is the Georgia Pig, on the west side of 441 just south of Davie Blvd. Now in its 50th year, and it looks it.. a wood-paneled shack from the small-town South, because that's what the area was like back when they opened, and as far as I can tell, all they've done is reupholster the booths and replace the tables and chairs once or twice since. The place is no secret. It was the perennial best of its kind in the area probably for decades before Tom Jenkins opened up shop in a hipper part of town. This place is in one of those run-down stretches lined with muffler shops, used-tire places, pawnshops and plexiglas-windowed chow-mein takeouts.

Coming from a different era and place culturally, the Georgia Pig is Old South, from the customers to the staff. They've got table service and a counter with stools, too, which is nice, and ample parking in back where I'd imagine they probably used to have picnic tables. I should ask. It doesn't look like it's really changed hands over the years.

And the food? The real thing. A real smoker out back making everything smell yummy for a couple of blocks in every direction, stacks of wood in the parking lot, and my new favorite chopped pork sandwich in town. The meat was a perfect mix of tender pink smoky morsels and crunchy bits from the outside. Unusual for around here, you can actually pick up the sandwich and eat it with your hands--stuff falls out, but it is designed to be picked up.

There's only one barbecue sauce, the light-colored mustardy kind, which is in a bottle on the side if you eat in, and squirted on for you if you get takeout. It's mild but extremely well-suited to the meat and if you want it hot, there's Crystal and squeeze bottles of what I guess is Red Devil on the tables. Worked well. Highly recommended. I haven't tried the ribs yet, but I will. It might take me a while to get to the beef, though.

The rest of the menu is a bit different from what dominates around here. This isn't a soul-food place. No collards or yams or black-eyed peas (at least not regularly); even baked beans are a once-a-week thing. The basic sides are a sweet, creamy slaw and disappointing everyday coffee-shop fries. Other sides rotate in and out.. today I could have gotten sliced tomatoes, or potato or macaroni salad. They also make Brunswick Stew (this being a place called the Goergia Pig and all) which I'll need to try. No sweet tea, alas. Sigh.

I didn't have room for dessert. Unfortunately for me, I said to the waitress, "You don't make the pies here, do you?"

The owner chimed in: "we sure DO! and the coconut, chocolate and pecan just came out fresh!"

So for the good of science, I had a slice of the chocolate cream pie. A total throwback to childhood, the filling was that kinda-lumpy chocolate pudding that'll take you back decades, and the whipped cream on top was real. And fresh. I don't dare imagine the pie crusts were also homemade, but it was kind of uneven around the edges and reet flaky, so maybe it was. Not gourmet by any stretch of the imagination, the pie was home cooking from the early days of pudding mixes, when maybe it wasn't "real" anymore but it also wasn't the ultra-stabilized super-fudgy high-tech pudding of today. I'll bet the pecan pie and fruit pies are fine things indeed. Science will require return visits.

A few hours later I was in the gym doing penance.


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