Truth be told, I didn’t even really notice it was gone, but since I do know a number of hockey-adoring fans who missed their Canucks dearly, I’m happy it’s back. I even sought out a place in Richmond where they can watch the season’s first game and eat their body weight in smoked meat, if they wish. That place is Hog Shack.
Located on the main waterfront stretch of Steveston village, Hog Shack is Richmond’s only restaurant serving southern American-style BBQ, and one of only a few in the Lower Mainland.
They pair their meat with a thoughtful selection of craft beer (they’re in cahoots with BeerThirst, who co-hosted the dinner I attended at the Pumphouse Pub), so if you’re a beer nut, that might be reason alone to head there.
Friends don’t let friends BBQ alone, so yesterday my buddy Shane joined me for lunch and a pint in sunlit Steveston.
Hog Shack serves Kansas City-style BBQ, which they’ve adjusted over the years to the preferences of locals. I don’t know much about BBQ, so I did some research: according to seriouseats.com, Kansas City BBQ is generally known as “the melting pot of bbq” because you can get just about anything, from pulled pork and pork ribs to beef brisket, smoked mutton, and sliced turkey. The signature sauce is a “thick, sweet tomato and molasses-based concoction that has become an American standard.” That’s in contrast to styles such as Texas BBQ, which have much thinner and more vinegar-based sauces, and use them sparingly.
Hog Shack’s menu is meaty from the get-go, with pulled pork pancakes, chili cheese fries, and wings listed in the appetizer section. Their BBQ menu includes a variety of combos, each of which come with two or more sides, which include classics like coleslaw, baked beans, and cornbread, as well as a few less traditional options, like sautéed vegetables and Spanish rice pilaf.
The rest of Hog Shack’s offerings are salads, pasta, burgers, sandwiches, hot dogs, seafood and tacos. While there are a (very) few vegetarian possibilities scattered amongst its pages, this menu is laden with meat. It’s probably not the ideal place to meet your vegetarian friend for lunch, though I’m sure you’ve figured that out by now.
Shane and I had burnt ends as an appetizer ($12), which are another Kansas City-style treasure Hog Shack has become known for. After slabs of brisket are smoked, the ‘burnt’ ends are chopped off, smoked for another five hours, slathered in sauce, and served. They end up as these crazy tender, sweet/spicy/smoky “little nuggets of pure bbq gold.” They don’t always have them, but call ahead (like I did) to make sure you’re heading in on a Burnt End Day.
Our seriously meaty appetizer was followed by a seriously meaty main: the “Pigasus” platter ($21), which had St. Louis side ribs, and a mound of pulled pork. We chose coleslaw and cornbread as our sides.
This was a generous amount of meat, and it was excellent. The ribs were juicy and tender, with a blackened, sticky-sweet saucy topping that’s inevitably going to end up all over your hands and face. The individual loaves of cornbread were phenomenal – quite sweet, with a crunchy exterior and a coarse, bright yellow crumb. I liked pulled pork (which I ate with the cornbread), but Shane preferred the ribs.
Whether or not you head to Hog Shack tomorrow to watch the game, give it a try sometime if you fancy yourself some smokey, saucy, slow-cooked BBQ. For the full experience, I’d recommend going with a group and ordering a platter, so you can try each of their meats and plenty of sides. The atmosphere was friendly and casual – the kind that comes with checkered tablecloths – and I imagine it gets pretty lively in there on a game day.
Go Canucks! Or not. Whatever, your choice. Just go and get some burnt ends and/or cornbread!
Cash and cards accepted
A few vegetarian options!