Excellent | Worth a Detour
Smokey Bear’s BBQ | Pig Paradise in Corbin, Kentucky
Review by: Michael Stern
Law and Porker
Pigs frequently serve as mascots for BBQ parlors, but in this case, Smokey Bear makes sense. Barry Mays, who started the business (along with his wife, Leanne) in 2010, used to be a law enforcement officer. In CB radio-inspired slang, that made him a Smokey Bear. Still, in this pig paradise, you’ll find plenty of oinky images on walls and shelves. The more anthropomorphic ones wear peaked police caps.
Many listings on the menu have names that reference the boss’s tenure as a LEO: the Outlaw Burger, the Prosecutor Burger, the Prison Yard Salad. Accompanying dishes earn the label “Side Arms and Appitasers.” In fact, cops especially like this place. When I came for lunch, I spotted four squad cars in the parking lot.
Fun stuff, but does the food measure up? I’ve yet to try the hamburgers, which come highly recommended. But I can say that the barbecue goes beyond simply delicious. It’s beautiful! The kitchen staff pulls pork into huge flavorful strips. Many of these ribbons of meat sport broad sections that are blackened, vividly seasoned bark. Tender, sweet, woodsy meat hugs the bark. Enter this place and you know you have found pig paradise, home of meat smoke-cooked just the way it’s supposed to be.
Of course, you can eat a simple pork sandwich, regular or jumbo size. You can substitute garlic toast for a bun. I relish one deluxe variation known as the Spicy Jailbreaker. That’s a buttered and toasted Kaiser roll loaded with pork, bacon, fried onion tangles, BBQ sauce, and house-made ranch dressing, plus a scattering of jalapeno chips.
The Pig Tator
A dish called the Pig Tator wins the prize for size as well as visual excitement. They make this one using pretty much the same things that go into Jailbreaker, but on a bed of French fries or Tator Tots instead of in a bun. A jumbo Pig Tator will sate the most ravenous appetite.
Note: Culinary pop-culture historians know Corbin, Kentucky as the home of the original KFC Cafe.
Directions & Hours
|Credit Cards Accepted