The Seneca BBQ data collection continued last weekend when I made the decision to try Heavenly Hog. Turns out it happens to be the closest BBQ joint to my home. The outside looked promising; a stand alone building kind of out in the middle of nowhere, screened in smoke room built on to the side, some pig silhouettes on the front of the building, and customers at 11:15.
The inside gave some indication the original look was a good old cinderblock building. The inside block walls are painted a dark color with heavy wood furniture, plastic table cloths and a kind of divey décor. There were a few people eating and another waiting to get a carry out order. So far, so good. Judging by the menu boards they seemed like more of a diner that featured BBQ rather than a straight up BBQ joint. They were really showing off the meat & two options. Well I came for the BBQ and that’s what I got. From the friendly staff I used the same logic as Black’s and got 2 plates to go so I could sample and split. I got the BBQ sandwich plate and a 1/2 rack plate.
They had a decent number of side options and I went with some southern staples to go with the sandwich and ribs. Initial impressions were mixed. The little containers they put the sides in made the portions seem a bit skimpy except for the okra which was plentiful. The BBQ in the sandwich and the rib portion I thought was good for the money. The sauces, both mild and hot, looked kind of ketchupy so I wasn’t overly excited. The proof would be in the pudding, or in this case the pulled pork. I made my sampler plate and plated the rest for future meals.
Let’s get the sides out of the way first. Fried okra competently done and plentiful, number 2 out of the 4. The green beans were right of the can and no seasoning, I think they may even have been the low sodium canned variety. Definitely bottom of the heap, which made me sad because I love green beans. Mac and cheese was again OK, better than Black’s but nothing to get excited about. Number 3 on the side parade. The sweet potato soufflé was by far the standout in this quartet. Nice sweet potato flavor, the brown sugar was prominent but not dominant and the nuts were just the right amount. On to the BBQ.
The pulled pork in the sandwich was, as I mentioned, a decent portion of lightly seasoned and smoked meat. OK by itself but definitely benefitting from sauce. The hot sauce was at best medium and almost a mild spice level to me. It was a little sweeter and tangier than ketchup so the initial impression was overcome a bit. The mild sauce just had no spiciness at all and should just have been called plain.
The ribs had possibility but by the pale look I knew I was going to be disappointed. I do feel like the portion I got for the price paid was more than competitive to other places I’ve been. The meat pulled away from the bone but in the way that seemed to indicate they’d been boiled first before going on the smoker to tender them up. That would have been ok but they weren’t on the smoker long enough to get a really good smoked flavor. The rub was good but if you didn’t get a piece with a fair bit of rub on it the whole thing felt kind of washed out. Dredging it through the sauce helped and on the whole it filled me up.
I think I will go back and try one of their meat & two options because I liked the atmosphere and I want to like the place. Overall though of the 3 local BBQ spots tried so far they are number 3 for BBQ for me.
I think one more new spot and I will have the majority of the Seneca spots covered for BBQ.