Pigs are the usual mascot 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, which in CB radio-inspired slang, is a Smokey Bear. Still, there are plenty of pig images inside the restaurant; the more anthropomorphic ones are wearing peaked police caps.
Many listings on the menu have names that reference the boss’s tenure as an LEO: the Outlaw Burger, the Prosecutor Burger, the Prison Yard Salad. Accompanying dishes are labled “side arms and appitasers.” In fact, the place appears to be very popular among cops. When I came for lunch, there were four squad cars in the parking lot.
Fun stuff, but how’s the food? I’ve yet to try the hamburgers, which are a big deal here, but I can say that the barbecue is delicious as well as especially beautiful. Pork is pulled into huge flavorful strips, many of which have broad sections that are blackened, vividly seasoned bark. The meat is tender, sweet, woodsy: smoke-cooked pork just the way it’s supposed to be.
Of course, there are simple pork sandwiches, regular and jumbo size, as well as sandwiches made on garlic toast rather than a bun. I am fond of one deluxe variation known as the Spicy Jailbreaker: 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.
An even bigger hodgepodge is billed as the Pig Tator. That’s 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.