Saturday, April 20, 2013

Restaurant Review: Kickin' Pig Carolina Bar-B-Q, Rock Hill, SC


It was such a gorgeous day out today in North Carolina that I decided to go to South Carolina. Rock Hill, specifically, to try out Kickin' Pig Carolina Bar-B-Q. It's on US 21, Cherry Road in Rock Hill. It's one of three barbecue restaurants on Cherry Road - - there is a Sonny's, and also Burk's, which I reviewed here.

Kickin' Pig is a stand-alone restaurant right beside the highway. It's painted red out front and yellow, the color of South Carolina mustard-based barbecue sauce. It's a restaurant oriented toward the local biker and redneck community.

Inside the restaurant are a billiards table, a bar, four or five large-screen TV's with various sports shows playing, and a dozen or so tables. There's also a back porch with tables for dining outside. Classic rock plays on the PA system; live music is available a couple of times a week.

The barbecue is all cooked on outdoor smokers; must be a miserable job in the rain. They offer pork, ribs and chicken:

I tried ordering a combo plate of ribs and pork, but the barmaid/waitress (a cute brunette with cleavage and leather thigh boots) told me that they'd had a smoker accident and the pork burned up. I made do with an order of ribs, with hush puppies and corn fritters on the side. The plate also came with garlic Texas Toast:

Had to wait a good half hour for the food, and the place not overly busy in the 3 o'clock hour on a Saturday. I'd have said that South Carolinians run at a more leisurely pace but, having eaten at Burk's just down the road from Kickin' Pig, I knew that wasn't true; they were just slow.

You can see that they only gave me three ribs, which is a little stingy, I think. They made up for it with corn fritters (good), hush puppies (average, with onion) and the Texas Toast (flavorful but dead cold). The ribs themselves had a good smoky flavor but were a bit overcooked, slipping off the bone a little too easy. The barbecue at Kickin' Pig comes naked (unsauced) so you can add sauce as you like. They offer four sauces: mild, hot, really hot, and mustard-based (the other three are NC-style vinegar-based sauces). The mustard-based sauce went best with the ribs.

I'll give Kickin' Pig Carolina Bar-B-Q a 3 on my 5-scale of barbecue restaurants: 3 out of 5: average; reasonably good food, moderate effort by staff/management. I thought the wait for the food was a tad long, and I didn't get to try the pork because they burned it up. I'd go back to Kickin' Pig if I was in the mood to carouse on a weekend night, but if I was going to Rock Hill just for barbecue I'd go to the superior Burk's for that.

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