Big Pig BBQ, Stoney Creek, Virginia

I was driving south on I-95 through Southside Virginia, through the flat peanut country down in Sussex County. I’d driven that stretch I don’t know how many times before when I saw smoke curling up from that former ice cream stand on the side of the road — you’ve passed it — that has a Big Pig BBQ sign! I’d passed that point a gazillion times but I’d never seen smoke. I was awful close to the exit, but I deftly managed to move from the left lane to the exit. In fact, my driving skills were captured on video (click here) that has gone viral. I got a quick paint job and switched tags with another car, and then eased up the road to the Big Pig to see if they cooked exclusively with wood and wood coals. If so, I was prepared to certify it on behalf of the Campaign for Real Barbecue.

I parked way off to the right hand side and sauntered casually around to the back. A fence blocked my view of the cooker, so I ambled casually around front to the other side. What to my wondering eyes should appear but a jury-rigged cooker pouring forth fragrant smoke. I edged closer and, alas, saw a tube leading from the cooker to … the dread propane tank (not pictured). Fie!

All of that clandestine surveillance had awakened my appetite, so I decided to try a sandwich and to chat with the folks there. It turns out that they cook the meat weekly over wood, using the propane only to start the fire. They chop the cooked meat, mix it with their sauce, and heat and serve it for the rest of the week. That’s too long a slip twixt the pit and the lip for the Big Pig to qualify for Campaign for Real Barbecue certification, but there I was with the sandwich.

It was drizzling so I took the sandwich back to my car to eat. Can you see that we got new car seat covers? You eventually have to do that if someone eats barbecue on the front seat. I noticed how new and clean the seat covers were and quickly — but oh, so carefully — took the sandwich back out onto the hood of our car and ate it there.

As you can see, the pork had a pretty fine chop, and it was mixed with a good South Side Virginia sauce, a mix of vinegar, ketchup, and mustard, with touches of red and black pepper, and a little sugar.  I’m really getting to like that style of sauce. The pork was good, but with a good bit of sauce mixed in, the smoke flavor was somewhat muted. Still, the sandwich was very tasty and well worth the eating. And very well worth the price, which I think was under $5.

The Big Pig appears somewhat more focused on fried chicken than barbecue. They also offer fried whiting and catfish, and there are burgers and such. Oh, and breakfast sandwiches. Even better, the Big Pig honors its ice cream stand heritage with cones, cups, sundaes, and milkshakes. When was the last time you had a milkshake? I’m not ready to put the Big Pig on my highly acclaimed curated list of the Best Places to Eat Near I-95 from Washington to Florida and on to Key West right now, but maybe I’ll stop and get a milkshake and try a thigh or two one day. And some sides when I have the time. The Southern vegetables sound really good. You should keep the Big Pig in mind. You’ll love the prices.


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