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What's on Tap

Restaurant review: The Pig

Posted April 10, 2012

As a North Carolina native, I am a sucker for all things pig – bacon, belly, cracklin's and chops. I'm pretty sure BBQ is in my DNA, which is why I find myself regularly drawn to the restaurant in Chapel Hill simply called The Pig.

Owned by former Lantern/Neal's Deli employee and UNC alum Sam Suchoff, The Pig is dedicated to local sourcing and whole hog barbecue. This isn't your average bbq joint. In addition to their many artisanal meat offerings, The Pig has a wide selection of vegetarian options and innovative side dishes. I think their website says it best:


"Working with the NC Natural Hog Grower's Association and their antibiotic and hormone-free, pasture-raised piggies to bring regional flavors and local ingredients to the party in your tummy."

The Location: Next to Bagels on the Hill on Weaver Dairy Road, there is a fun metal pig sculpture in front of The Pig. The interior is bare bones with bright yellow laminate tables and not much else. It's counter service with an ever-changing chalkboard menu. There is a cooler with a decent selection of bottle beers. 

the pig

The Meal:
For this review, I went with a classic bbq sandwich which came with housemade slaw and sweet pickles. The classic shredded pork was richly smoked, studded with bits of that beloved and much-coveted crispy edge and perfect when topped off with a splash of the Pig's housemade vinegar sauce.

I also ordered a side of okra. I consider myself to be somewhat of an okra devotee with pretty high standards. When it comes to the Southern staple, The Pig's okra wowed me. It is a large sharable bowl filled with perfectly fried okra that has been tossed with (I'm guessing) the same spicy sweet rub Suchoff uses on his meats.

the pig

I was also able to sample The Pig's collards (rich with a deep potlicker juice and shards of shredded pork), the sprouts and shrooms (caramelized, crispy brussel sprouts and button mushrooms) and the mashed potatoes (skin-on, creamy potatoes topped with a spicy cream gravy). All were excellent.

A popular choice on The Pig's menu is the Carolina Po-Boy, which is a genius combination of bbq pork, pimento cheese and collards on a hoagie roll. It's huge and on my list of must-eats in Chapel Hill.

The Pig's dessert menu has Southern classics like banana pudding, red velvet cake, coconut cake and an intriguing fried moon pie.

The Service: Casual, friendly counter service that matches the laid back décor of The Pig.

The Bill: A pork sandwich with an added okra side and tea was just over $10.

The Verdict: The Pig is a refreshing take on the traditional NC BBQ joint with innovative twists on classic offerings and a dedication to local, sustainable sourcing and the craft of smoked meat.

Chris Rhyne Reid is a North Carolina native with a degree in journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. A copywriter by day, she pursues her love of all things edible in her spare time. She writes for Durham-based food blog Carpe Durham.


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  • DawgDue Apr 11, 2012

    @WhyYes: I think the point that sel0912 was trying to make was that folks were saying that I would spend more in gas driving to Wilson rather than Chapel Hill to get barbecue, to save money on the barbecue I would be buying.

    For me, Chapel Hill is roughly 30 minutes away & Wilson is roughly 45 minutes away from me. The point of my original post was that if I'm going to drive somewhere to get barbecue, I'd rather drive 15 minutes further and pay less for my food and get nearly twice the amount.

    For heavenly hogs sake, I could go to Smithfield's and get a sandwich, hushpuppies, & a tea for $5. I don't go there often, its just a fact.

    As for "keep it local"...well when Chapel Hill is 30 minutes away & and Wilson is 45 minutes away, neither are really that "local." They're just as local to me as the other. Drop a Wilber's, Parker's, B's, ect in the middle of Raleigh and that would be keeping it local.

    Find me a true NC bbq establishment that charges $10 for a sandwich, side, & tea.

  • living the dream Apr 11, 2012

    Now I'm hungry!

  • Bewitched Apr 11, 2012

    "...Chapel Hill is 30 minutes from Raleigh...sel0912"

    Well, it depends on where you live in Raleigh. I Mapquested it and from my house it'd be a 45 minute drive. No thanks, too pricy, I'll stick with Cookout. :)

  • heelhopper13 Apr 11, 2012

    I love BBQ, I love Chapel Hill and I love the entrepreneurial efforts of The Pig's owners to bring this joint to the Hill. The BBQ is good, not great. The service was terrible when I was there, the banana pudding tasted fake, and the general ambiance - poor seating, small space and no mood-setting feel - is nothing to write home about especially considering you can travel 10 minutes up the road to Allen and Son, 20 minutes into Durham to visit Parker's and an hour or so West or East to taste real Eastern/Western Style BBQ in Raleigh, Lexington and/or Greenville. The Pig will be even more successful if they work harder to make their product better and not rest on the fame that begot them post-NY Times-write up. I will be pulling for them!

  • ncsulilwolf Apr 11, 2012

    "A popular choice on The Pig's menu is the Carolina Po-Boy, which is a genius combination of bbq pork, pimento cheese and collards on a hoagie roll. It's huge and on my list of must-eats in Chapel Hill." - back when I wasn't a vegetarian, that would've been a must-eat on my list! A little sad that I missed out ;-)

  • sel0912 Apr 11, 2012

    DawgDue - Any (perceived)savings driving to Parker's would be lost in fuel cost. Keep it local...

    Chapel Hill is 30 minutes from Raleigh. Wilson is 45 minutes..not much difference in fuel cost there, being that there is only a 15 minute difference.

    And I don't know what you are considering "local" but I'm pretty sure if Chapel Hill is considered local, so is Wilson.

    I think the point DawgDue was trying to make is that Parker's offers a better bang for your buck in the bbq department :)

  • Bewitched Apr 11, 2012

    I looked at the online menu, sounds great but waayyyy too pricy, and I'm in Raleigh so that's a drive too (add in the pricy gasoline). I'll stick to "Cookout", which is a block from our house, locally owned, great food (my favorite is the excellent BBQ plate with a heaping pile of BBQ pork, slaw, hushpuppies, for $4 and an iced tea $1) plus they have excellent milkshakes.

  • twoods7 Apr 11, 2012

    DawgDue - Any (perceived)savings driving to Parker's would be lost in fuel cost. Keep it local...

  • RaleighRocks Apr 10, 2012

    I tried some of their fare at a food fair in chapel hill last year, and it was darn good. Not good enough to drive from Raleigh, but darn good. If I am in the area I will def stop in. Hope they do well.

  • turkeydance Apr 10, 2012

    yeah. i live in Chapel Thrill. it costs lots to do 'justaboutanything' here. parking/taxes/whatever...
    but people just keep on coming. if it's stupid,
    but it works, it ain't stupid.