Archive for the 'Food' Category

01
Oct
17

MOJO’S TOUR DE BBQ: THE PROPER PIG

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Every once in a great while you have a meal that transcends existence; a plate of food that becomes a religious experience and suddenly life has meaning.

Today, at lunch in Ohio, I found god in some beef brisket.

Just outside Cleveland resides a modest, mid-sized vegetarian restaurant called “Cleveland Vegan.”  I’ve never eaten there and certainly never met the owner, yet I can imagine (with great accuracy, I presume) his thoughts and feelings when, a few doors down, opened a new, modest, mid-sized restaurant.

But this wasn’t just close-quarters competition for local dining dollars – this was practically a declaration of war on their very souls; a restaurant that would fly in the face of vegan values and not just serve meat, but only meat.

It was a BBQ restaurant called “The Proper Pig” and it lead me to wonder – if vegansim is considered to be a pure diet for the enlightened, where does that leave meat?  Is it devil food for the unholy?  If that’s the case then forgive me father, for I have sinned and visited the pit of hell!

And it’s a delicious BBQ pit.

My usual, go-to satanic meal is ribs and pulled pork, but I noticed the menu steered heavily towards smoked meats like brisket, sausage and even turkey.  I generally ignore beef BBQ, but then I watched the chef pull a new hunk of brisket out of the smoker and perform a miracle:  he reached in and removed the center bone with two fingers.  And I don’t mean his thumb and forefinger (which gives you plenty of grabbing power) no, it was between his index and middle finger and was removed more easily than panties from a prom queen.

So I got the brisket and figured I’d try the smoked turkey for something new.

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Can I say “holy smokes!” without being too ironic?  This wasn’t beef, it was candy.  Protein should not taste so decadent. The brisket was easily cut with a plastic fork and tasted like… there really is nothing in my realm of culinary experience to compare it to. It was simply unbelievable. It was like sweet, salty, spicy beef from a magic cow. A magic baby cow. The owner revealed it’s slow cooked for sixteen hours and has a special, secret dry rub.  My guess is it’s rubbed up against Scarlett Johansson.

Now let’s talk turkey.

I’ve never had smoked turkey before and it’s a pretty rare item in the BBQ underworld.  However, after the revelation of Proper Pig brisket, my faith was unshakable.  As soon as the fork made contact with the bird, the meat simply broke apart; it was so supple and moist the fork simply couldn’t grab hold!  With little choice,  I was forced to eat like a heathen and use my hands.  But was it good?

I may never make it to heaven, but now I know what Thanksgiving with God must taste like.  It was as if the turkey had grown up in New Orleans, playing smooth jazz and reciting poetry before volunteering itself for cooking because it knew it would taste so damn good.

Rounding out the perfect meal was their home made banana pudding with crushed vanilla wafers.  Sin in a cup, basically.  I took a pound of brisket back to the hotel to save for later, only to discover that evening that there was no microwave on site!  But it didn’t matter.  Slice by slice, I devoured my decadent treat, savoring each bite like it was the last piece of chocolate on earth.

I can’t recall the last time I went to church but, after a visit to the Proper Pig, I felt as if not just my stomach, but my soul had been nourished.  It is indeed holy ground.

If you’re within a tank of gas of Lakewood, Ohio, just go.

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