For our 400th barbecue restaurant writeup, I wanted to go someplace where I was assured of a good meal. So we drove a couple of hours northwest to Nashville and were not disappointed.
The original plan had been to visit three or maybe four new places in the Music City for our blog, but we scaled everything down and just had a simple family trip, starting with lunch, continuing with some window shopping, and then visiting our friend Tory for several hours before a quick dinner with her at an old favorite, Pied Piper Eatery. We’ll have to make time and set aside the budget down the road for a longer eating adventure with lots of new content!
But we started off with a very nice lunch at a very popular restaurant. Carey Bringle opened his place three years back and many, many hobbyists have buzzed about the place ever since. He seems to be one of the few in middle Tennessee to smoke whole hog – Martin’s in Nolensville is another – and he’s very, very outspoken about the quality of his meat and the very hard work he puts into it. We didn’t get to meet Bringle, but I really love his attitude. He’s taken to Facebook on a couple of occasions to fire back at a couple of issues: in May 2014 after “armchair BBQ critics” got aggrieved that a Nashville restaurant beat out any place in Memphis in a TripAdvisor list, and again in October 2015 in the middle of that True ‘Cue drama about whether joints should use gas to assist their smoking.
I think that even if he didn’t actually own a restaurant, I’d pay attention to what Bringle has to say, because I do love well-written articles about my favorite food, especially when the writer can back up his opinions with family history and competition circuit awards. Bringle knows his stuff, and that’s what brought me to his place. So how did we like the food?
Marie ordered the ribs and I ordered the pulled pork and we got four sides between us: baked beans, cole slaw, potato salad, and fries. The pork was certainly good. It was smoky and didn’t really need the sauce. Although the hot sauce was certainly very good, it actually worked better for me as a fry dip, because the meat didn’t need it. This wasn’t a really complex flavor. It was just simple, unfussy, solid pulled pork, very similar to what they offer at, say, Fox Bros in Atlanta or Southern Soul on Saint Simons Island. I liked it just fine and the sides were all pretty good, too, especially the slaw.
These ribs, however, are out of this world. The restaurant has counter service, and the fellow at the register was emphatic that we needed to order the ribs. He was right. These are served with a dry rub – in his 2014 post, Bringle credited their origin to Rendezvous in Memphis – which Marie said was right at the upper limit of her spice tolerance. So they have a little bite to them, but I think they’re completely worth it. I definitely had menu envy here, and when we return one of these days, we’re just having ribs. Very few places we’ve visited have ribs anywhere near this good, frankly.
So that’s our 400th barbecue restaurant. I’m glad we picked a really good one. I wonder whether we’ll find another 400 to write about. I sure hope so!
Here’s a quick pro tip about parking: Peg Leg Porker is located in “the Gulch” just south of downtown and parking is very limited. Make the effort to circle the restaurant and see if you can’t find a place on the street before you give up and use a pay lot, though. We foolishly used Waze and it took us to the lot on 8th and Drexel across from the Cannery Row development. We paid six bucks, totally unnecessarily, because there were plenty of spaces on Gleaves we could have taken. So I didn’t buy a book that I wanted at McKay a little later. Darn it.
Peg Leg Porker
903 Gleaves St
Nashville, TN 37203
Other blog posts about Peg Leg Porker:
You can see all the restaurants that we have visited for our blog on this map, with links back to the original blog posts. It’s a terrific resource for anybody planning a road trip through the southeast!