BBQ on the menu at Smoking Hog
Within the first week of 2008, Smokin Hog BBQ will open its doors, and owner Reah Griffin suggest that residents of Greencastle look for smoke signals.
Griffin is not new to barbeque, she got her start seven years ago slinging pulled pork and slaw at biker rallies across Indiana, and says that the road warriors know good barbeque. If you can make it there, you can make it anywhere.
From there she opened up shop in New Palestine and the Greenfield, and in 2008 she will christen a new smoker in Greencastle.
"People constantly tell me this is the best barbeque they've ever eaten," said Griffin, though she was careful to add that she knows people are particular about their meat.
Barbeque, to some, is as American as apple pie and the Statue of Liberty. Those who have dedicated themselves to the culinary art say that the first barbeque cooked in North America was collaboration between Indians and the Spanish Conquistadores nearly 500 years ago. The Spanish supplied the pigs, the first ever seen on the continent, and the Indians contributed the art of slow cooking with smoke.
In the centuries that followed, American barbeque evolved, influenced by German and Irish immigrants, and spread north and west from its home in the Carolinas. But according to Griffin, and other masters of the craft, there are strict rules to cooking good barbeque. The first two rules: The secret is in the smoke, and you can't rush it.
According to the owner, Smokin Hog BBQ smokes every piece of meat for no less than 13 hours. Griffin scoffs at the idea of using woodchips to season her barbeque, her massive rotisserie smoker burns logs of hard-wood - fruitwood, when it's available, for the added flavor.
Griffin says she rarely advertises. When the kitchen is running the restaurant will send the aroma of her barbeque through the whole neighborhood, like smoke signals. She anticipates becoming a local Pied Piper of sorts, luring people to Smokin Hog with the sweet smell of slow-cooked meat.
"I can stop traffic with it," she said.
The menu of Smokin Hog offers quintessential Southern barbeque, which according to the South Carolina Barbeque Association, can only be pork. However, for the Midwestern palate, the menu also includes barbequed ribs, chicken, beef tips and beef brisket.
In the true Southern style, the homemade secret sauce is always served on the side. The meat can stand on its own, Griffin says. Every piece is coated in a dry rub containing nine secret ingredients.
The homemade barbeque sauce and rub are available for sale, and Griffin says that in the summertime Smokin Hog sells them by the gallon.
The side dishes at Smokin Hog also meet Southern barbeque requirements. Cornbread, baked fresh daily, skin-on red potato salad, green beans seasoned with beef tips, pulled pork and beans, baked macaroni and cheese, all manner of pasta salad and even cottage cheese. But according Griffin, her cole slaw is the coup de gras.
"That old slaw that comes in the container is awful," she said. "Our slaw is not marinated, it needs a crunch to it. The only way to get that crunch is to make it fresh every morning."
From the sweet tea to the slow smoke, Smokin Hog seems well schooled on the rules of Southern barbeque. Soon, it will be up to the barbeque lovers of Greencastle to decide. Smokin Hog BBQ, located at 424 Bloomington St., will open its doors in the first week of 2008. Watch for signs of smoke.
For information about catering call 653-3232.