July 24, 2008
Wow. Just wow. It’s hard to feel any other emotion when a 35-45 pound pig smoked for 7-8 hours is placed directly in front of you with one purpose: Feeding twelve hungry carnivores. For $480 plus tax, Daisy May’s BBQ USA, on 11th Avenue and 46th Street, will provide you and eleven others with a smoked whole pig, cole slaw, buttered and grilled Texas Toast, 2 Fixins’, watermelon, and an experience you’ll never forget. Vegetarians beware.
It all started when Danny at Food In Mouth.com posted his Daisy May’s Half Pig Gig. King of Ketchup and I were amazed. Never had we seen so much delicious, glistening pork in one place. That was the only motivation KoK needed. He rounded up 11 friends and family members and before I knew it I was face to face with a smoked whole pig.
Daisy May’s Carolina sauce (pictured) was provided for the pork. A sauce of their creation mixed with honey, it’s what Daisy May’s pulled pork is typically drenched in. Sweet with a hint of vinegar, I didn’t love it, but it definitely enhanced the pork.
In addition to cole slaw, Daisy May’s website offers 2 Large Fixins’. If you request to get smaller servings of the fixins’, you can get three different ones. Before the pig came, I loaded up on sides. This was going to be a feast for the ages. Clockwise from left to right: Texas Toast, cole slaw, Cajun dirty rice and beans, baked beans with burnt ends, and mashed sweet potatoes with brown sugar.
- The airy, buttered and grilled Texas Toast came in handy when I had some over-sauced bites of pork.
- The cole slaw was tasty, striking a balance between sweet and tart. The Cajun dirty rice and beans, flavored with Cajun spices, pepper, onion, garlic and bacon were mediocre
- The baked beans with beef rib burnt ends were great.
- It was the sweet potatoes, however, which stole the show: Mashed sweet potato with brown sugar, banana, and some heavy cream. By far the best sweet potatoes I’ve ever had. They could be eaten on their own as dessert. Unreal. I’ll be picking some of these up to bring home for Thanksgiving.
But everything paled in comparison to the pig. After being sliced down the middle, the skin was sectioned and peeled back revealing the glory you see below:
Junior, the manager, broke down which part of the pig was which.
- The shoulder, aka the pork butt, is where pulled pork comes from.
- The ribs are in the middle, underneath the loin.
- The fatty meat on the sides of the pig is what eventually becomes bacon.
There’s only one way to get at all the goodness: Use your hands. Rubber gloves are provided but they don’t protect you from the burning hot pork, which was around 190 degrees when placed on the table. I went to grab a piece of skin but it was too leathery to eat.
I cleared some space on my plate and went right for the shoulder meat. It was hot, moist and tender. Unlike most barbecued pork, I didn’t really taste the smoke. Instead, you taste a hint of smoke and a lot of pork. It was an overwhelmingly meaty flavor. A little bit of sauce went a long way towards counteracting this, so be careful not to over sauce.
Once we cleared most of the pork from the easily accessible areas, we had the waiter slice the cheeks so we could get a taste of the moist, fatty pork inside. This wasn’t my favorite section of the pig so I moved onto the legs which were surprisingly as tender and flavorful as the shoulder.
I personally enjoyed the pork most when I mixed it with some sauce, a bite of the Texas Toast and then a little bit of the sweet potato; the confluence of sweet and savory was the best part of the meal. Most BBQ pork is smoked twice as long as Daisy May’s whole pig, so don’t go in expecting it to taste like BBQ you’ve had before. The best pork I’ve ever had came from Big Bob Gibson’s stand at the Big Apple BBQ Block Party. It was handed to me freshly pulled, 2 minutes out of the smoker, so I’m a little biased but you’ll see a difference in flavor between Daisy May’s whole pig and their standard pulled pork as well. The Big Pig Gig wins as far as experience but if you’re going for straight flavor and deliciousness, consider the $150+ tax Whole Pork Butt for up to 6 people.
In the end Daisy May’s Big Pig Gig was a delicious experience that I will never forget and I heartily recommend it to anyone who considers themselves a carnivore or a BBQ lover.