Pig out

Thank heavens, there’s still room in this world for beans and ribs.

Thank heavens, there’s still room in this world for beans and ribs.

Photo By Nick Higman

Barb’s Big Pig Smokehouse

1999 Selmi Dr.
Reno, NV 89512

(775) 324-1001

When I lived in the North Valleys, I drove by Barb’s Big Pig Smokehouse daily. Just the sight of a barbecue restaurant always piques my hunger. Fiending for meat last Fourth of July, my wife, Kat, my brother Eric and I stopped in at the Big Pig.

It’s located at the northwest corner of Selmi Drive and Clear Acre Lane, one block north of North McCarran Boulevard. The restaurant is pretty Spartan inside, aside from heaps of Texas and pig flair. And but for the unhappy-looking man working the place when we walked in, around 4 p.m., it was completely empty. It was also void of the wonderful smells you envision when meat smokes, cornbread bakes, and beans simmer.

Kat and Eric ordered the first dinner special ($9.99): two pork ribs, a quarter chicken, two sides, and bread. For sides, they chose potato salad, green beans with pork, barbecue baked beans and macaroni salad. I ordered the bar-burrito ($5.99) and cornbread ($1). The cook/server put our food together very quickly and set us up with all the extras for the meal. A side of sauce goes well with the bar-burrito. Portions are generous at the Big Pig Smokehouse. Kat and Eric both received more than two ribs. And while the rib meat doesn’t fall off the bone without some tugging, it has a good flavor. A chunk of that flavor comes from the sauce completely covering the ribs, which is sweet, with a nice thickness and flavor. However, a disclaimer on the sauce—my wife, who favors mild sauce, mistakenly ate half of Eric’s “hot” ribs and didn’t even flinch.

We finished all the ribs but didn’t eat much of the chicken. The breast and wing combo was quite tender but strangely flavorless and without the crunchy skin I crave. The bean sides were a little weak. The green beans were soggy and overly salted and the baked beans looked like they had been knocked around a little bit, and needed a stronger spice mixture.

However, I will eat here again because the macaroni salad, potato salad and bar-burrito were fantastic. The potato salad had a wonderful salty-but-sweet flavor, crunchy celery in every bite and black olives. The macaroni salad was one of the best I have ever eaten. It tasted fresh, creamy and peppery.

The bar-burrito is a tortilla stuffed with baked beans, barbecue sauce and pulled pork. The tortilla is a great choice for this dish—the pork and beans taste better not surrounded by thick bread. The bar-burrito is a great deal for both your stomach and wallet but could do well with some crunchy coleslaw.

The Big Pig Smokehouse was not the smoky, meat-being-chopped-up-and-plated-before-your-eyes affair I imagined. However, it is a lot of pretty good food at a solid price. While there, I saw a brisk take-out service and took note that they have daily smoked meat lunch specials for only $5. The restaurant can also handle your barbecue catering needs.

One thing I would appreciate seeing after eating a pile of meat is a recycle bin for plastic cups and bottles and aluminum cans. You shouldn’t have to throw that kind of stuff away along with your Styrofoam plates and balled-up paper towels.