Pig Beach BBQ West Palm Beach Review

When Pig Beach co-founder Rob Shawger was pondering the names of his barbecue restaurant located along the banks of the Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn, he couldn’t help but conjure up images of the famous pig known for lounging in the crystal clear waters of the Exumas.

“We had found this spot along one of the dirtiest waterways in the world – basically a parking lot full of trash and abandoned cars – and I remember standing there trying to imagine a nicer view. “, said Shawger. new times.

Several months later, the longtime investor in some of New York’s most acclaimed fine dining restaurants, including Carbone, saw his vision come to life. That summer, Pig Beach BBQ drew crowds from all five boroughs, foodies eager to sample two well-known New York chefs’ take on traditional barbecue.

What started as a pop-up in 2015 quickly grew into a seasonal establishment and bar that transformed this neglected parking lot into one of the city’s most popular outdoor restaurants. It has since become a permanent, critically acclaimed spot loved by local barbecue fans, best known for brisket, pulled pork, prime rib and, unlike most barbecues, strong drinks.

After just one season, Shawger and his pitmaster partners — chefs Matt Abdoo and Shane McBride — took the leap of faith. Despite positions at the helm of some of Manhattan’s most prestigious kitchens, the team of two chefs risked everything to pursue a mastery of smoked meat.

“I remember thinking, ‘I’m leaving a $14 million kitchen to do this.’ But it was just something I had to do,” says McBride, who served as executive chef at Tom Colicchio’s for a long time. Artisanal steak and Keith McNally’s famous Soho Brewery Balthazar.

For Abdoo, who left Del Posto as head chef, a competitive barbecue team win alongside Shawger was enough to stoke the fires of inspiration. After their first place titles at the Memphis World Championship in May 2015 for poultry and second place for whole hog, he was hooked.

Luckily, it wasn’t a bad decision. These days, Pig Beach is in expansion mode after a second location in Queens, a third in South Florida and the fourth in Louisville, Kentucky by the end of the year.

Both Shawger and Abdoo are residents of Palm Beach County, which makes expanding south an easy choice. For Miamians, the Florida outpost is easily accessible – less than ten minutes from the heart of downtown West Palm Beach and the city’s Brightline station – offering the same wildly popular pork-centric signatures. meat served with a touch of the beach.

The three say they chose West Palm Beach’s booming restaurant row above Miami, converting a mechanic shop on the edge of the city’s NoRa neighborhood into a custom-designed 4,000-square-foot space that features an open-concept kitchen offering guests a taste of the meat-smoking action.

Two full bars — one outdoors and one indoors — provide a steady stream of great beer, fine wine, and quickly-made cocktails served in plastic cups. Strollers, parents and toddlers are everywhere.

The location is also home to two massive Ole Hickory Pits outdoor smokers who smoke the chefs’ signature meats – up to 120 racks of ribs – over cherry, walnut, oak and pecan woods.

At a recent dinner party, new times experimented with the Pig Beach BBQ which, for Abdoo, is more about nuance of technique, and less about being true to the regional style.

“Texas has chest. Memphis has ribs. In Kansas City, it’s burnt ends. And in Carolina, it’s all about mop sauce and pulled pork,” says Abdoo. “But, no matter where you go, everything tastes unique. This is what fascinates me about the barbecue. There are so many ways to do the same thing in salt, pepper, heat and smoke settings.”

Take the pork shoulder, smoked over hickory and cherry after a dry salted pepper brine. From there, it’s generously seasoned with Pig Beach BBQ Seasoning, garlic and onion before using a technique the chef calls “sous vide redneck” – the whole ordeal is packed. in plastic and aluminum foil to lock in moisture. The process produces the most tender, flavorful pulled pork you’ll find in this far south, served in bountiful tufts riddled with fat. You could say that Carolina mustard is detrimental to the experience.

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Pig Beach BBQ’s 3-hour brisket in West Palm Beach

Photo courtesy of Pig Beach BBQ

The ribs go the same way but are smoked exclusively with cherry wood. Halfway through, a glaze is slapped on both sides for a two-hour bake, while an apple cider vinegar and water spray is sprayed onto each slab every 15 minutes, infusing a smoky flavor as you go. of road.

A brisket platter starts with a marbled cut that is lightly trimmed to remove the wedge of fat between the tip and the flap. The top cap of fat remains, basting as it cooks over low, slow heat for 15 hours. A smear of yellow mustard acts as a glue for the salt and pepper, producing this crisp cake that locks in moisture.

It only comes out to be wrapped in butcher paper before returning to the smoking room, where it rests for up to two hours. This is the most important step, Abdoo shares, making a red-rimmed breast that’s equal parts crust, fat, juices and meat for the perfect bite.

And don’t miss the South Beach Wine & Food Festival Burger Bash’s championship double burger smash. It’s one of Pig Beach’s dormant menu items, a decadent pile of grilled meat and American cheese topped with grilled onions, dill pickles and the house’s secret sauce.

Other menu highlights include Florida favorites like house-smoked fish dip; a fried chicken sandwich; and a tropically inspired smoky jalapeño and pineapple salad. Traditional sides include tender cabbage leaves, addictive homemade quick pickles, chunky slices of cornbread, and tropical desserts like homemade key lime pie.

For Shawger, it’s all of these dishes and more that make Pig Beach the perfect way to spend your day. Treat yourself to very good food; drink of the day with a powerful cocktail or two; or watch a game with a cold beer and a burger, he says. In this space, you can easily do one – or all three – almost any day of the week.

“This area really lacked what our concept is – a barbecue restaurant-meet-sports bar-meet-relaxation place,” sums up Shawger. “We are thrilled to finally be here.”

Pork beach barbecue. 2400 S. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach; 561-803-0333; pigbeachnyc.com.

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