If you cook a piece of pork meat slowly over low heat it will end up being tender and juicy. But smoke and seasoning are the additional elements that define great barbecue. After I tried the impressive ribs at Back Yard Bar-Be-Que on Old Hickory last month I wrote about how consistently good all the barbecue I've tried in Jackson has been. I attributed it to all the area's barbecue joints being independently run by locals and aimed at local repeat customers. I also mentioned that I ended up at Backyard because the first place I tried to stop that day, the Pig House Bar-B-Que, was still closed for the July 4 holiday at the time.
On Wednesday the Pig House was open so I picked up a pulled pork plate. The Pig House is a little drive-thru-only place on Campbell just a few blocks from Back Yard Bar-Be-Que. It is just five miles from Latham's Meat Company and four miles from the Reggi's by Pringles Park. I assumed any barbecue joint sitting off the main road and flanked by competition like that was going to be top notch.
Everything seemed promising when I pulled up. The man taking my owner was extremely friendly and the prices were cheap. A pulled pork dinner was $7 and some change and it included potato salad along with the meat, beans and slaw. Since it was a rare August day with a high of just 87 degrees despite plenty of sunshine I found a picnic table in the shade at a nearby location to enjoy my meal and the weather together.
The barbecue sauce was really good. It had a nice spicy kick and vinegar bite to it. But even using all the sauce provided wasn't enough to make the meat seem flavorful. It was tender but it just tasted like pork. There was no additional flavor.
Looking at it more closely I could find portions that looked like they had come from the outer edge of the shoulder based on changes in texture and color. But there wasn't any crusty bark or smoke coloration. There also wasn't any indication of any rub or sauce being used during the cooking process. It didn't taste bad. It just tasted like what you would get if you slow roasted an unseasoned pork shoulder in an electric over.
The mustardy potato salad was the best of the three sides. The slaw was a little too sweet and didn't have any vegetable ingredients besides the shredded cabbage. At first I assumed the ketchupy beans were from a can but I found some bacon and onion pieces in them as I ate them. With its low prices and quick drive-thru service the Pig House offers a fast food rendition of barbecue similar to Baby Jack's BBQ in the Memphis suburb of Bartlett.