Impulse Turn #2 almost gave us whiplash the first time we saw the sign. There, right on Route 611 in Pipersville. “Oink Johnson’s Southern BBQ?”
It took some time for us to get back but last Sunday we did. And we are very happy to have this new addition to the Bucks County food scene. Especially since its on the way to Lake Nockamixon, and conveniently near Chubby’s Dairy Barn (dessert!).
In order to get a representative sample of the goods, as they say, I ordered two platters – one with ribs ($10), the other with pulled pork ($8). Both come with two sides and freshly baked cornbread.
First, the ribs. They were meaty, smokey, with just enough spice, and a juicy combination of meat and fat. Four ribs come with the platter, but when I told the proprietor that I was bringing them to a hungry sailor, he immediately threw in the fifth without a thought.
Second, the pulled pork. Moist, subtle and flavorful. The spices used were pleasant but didn’t overpower, a problem with many barbecue places. I ordered it with the sauce on the side, so I could taste it first.
Now the sides. Green beans & potatoes with ham hocks. Green beans, cooked Southern, but with a twist. Small potatoes, pieces of pork and some herb I’m still trying to identify.
Yes, herb. What we both noticed about the whole meal was that there was uniqueness and subtlety in each dish. “Subtle” is not a word that comes to mind when describing barbecue, particularly in what passes for it here in the northeastern US. Too many barbecue places over-spice, over-smoke and over-sauce, thinking more is better. Too often everything tastes the same. All the meat has similar seasoning. The baked beans kind of taste like the sauce. Also, at many barbecue places, you get the impression that the side dishes are an afterthought.
Not so at Oink Johnson’s. Even other traditional sides – cole slaw and baked beans – were distinctive. “Sonia’s Slaw” (“Jack’s mom’s recipe”) – was creamy with big pieces of cabbage and a hint of onion. I loved it – and I am very loyal to my mother’s cole slaw. Then there was “Miss Shelley’s Baked Beans” with just the right balance of spice and sweetness. The cornbread was fresh, moist and chewy, just the way I like it.
The smoked pulled beef brisket will have to wait for another trip, and we’ll pick up some ribs by the rack or half-rack to bring home. You can also order any of the meats in a sandwich, in a platter like we did, or by the pound. The ribs are smoked and barbecued daily, and the sides are freshly homemade, and also available by the pint or half-pint.
One more thing. Don’t be put off by the fact that Oink Johnson’s BBQ sits right in front of “Jack’s Dog Farm,” a well-known landmark in this part of Bucks. Jack is the cheerful cook and proprietor, and the stand sits right by the statue of a black dog – who now has a little golden pig sitting on his head.
Oink Johnson’s BBQ, 215-518-2056, or 215-766-8840. Open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays only. On Route 611 in Pipersville, just north of Plumsteadville.