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Peg Leg Porker's, Nashville

Friday 15 November 2013

I know, I know. All I've done recently is write about pork. But I've just come back from Nashville, where pork features on almost every plate. In fact, I uttered the words 

"I'll have the fried chicken and waffles please... with a side of bacon"

I regret nothing. 

I think it's fair to say I've fallen head over heels in love with Nashville. And not just because of the pork - but that's where I'll start. 

Peg Leg Porker's is in The Gulch, an industrial chic type area just a mile or so from downtown. It's hipster central - beards are mandatory, and you'll also find Third Man Records, the dwelling of Jack White. 

We drove around for a few minutes, trying to find this newly opened BBQ joint. I was excited to the point of giddy in the back. I tried to get a chant started of "BBQ! BBQ!" but no one was joining in. I was getting pretty feral, especially when the smokey smells of BBQ filtered in through the window. The whole block smelt so good I wanted to lick the walls. But luckily, it soon appeared. Like a porky mirage.  

Inside, meaty customers gather around simple tables, tucking into trays of pork and brisket. I had to resist the strong urge to lean over and grab something from their plates to tide me over til mine arrived. I did pretty well, though I did practically jog to the line.

We started with some pimento cheese, AKA "caviar of the South" which I'd never had before. But it's one of those American things that most people have heard of, but put into a "what is it?" category. It was good. One of those things that it's best not to look at the ingredients of - mostly cheese, soft cheese, mayo and spice. Hmm. 

They also had "Memphis Sushi" which was met with a snort of derision from the Memphis gal to my right. Basically, it's a platter of sausage and cheese. 

But all I wanted was my pork. The BBQ platter is simple - choose from pulled pork or brisket, and a couple of sides, for $9.99. Two sides, alas, weren't enough for me. So I got an additional one. 

The pork at Peg Leg's is smoked for around 14 hours, til it falls apart and into my mouth. They sell their secret spice blend, and I bought it. Their sauce, too. 

It was beautiful (though, I admit, doesn't photograph great). Smokey, spicy, tender and just delicious. I went a bit piggy with my sides (ha!) with macaroni cheese, fries and proper baked beans. Holy Mackerel, it was good. You haven't lived til you've dipped pulled pork into Mac n Cheese.

When we drove past the next day, I almost did a tuck and roll out of the car. 

There's an interesting story behind the name of the restaurant, which is explained best by the man himself - 

"At age 17 my life changed. I was diagnosed with Osteogenic Sarcoma an aggressive bone cancer. I went through 8 months of intensive Chemo Therapy and lost my right leg. After winning a hard-fought battle with the overwhelming support of my friends and family, I emerged with a more positive outlook on life, realizing that every day brought a new adventure, opportunity for new experiences, and—most importantly—a chance to eat more great food. It is this zest for life, positive attitude and sense of humor that I share with you in my signature “Peg Leg Porker” brand of sauces and rubs."

Peg Leg Porker's
903 Gleaves Street, Nashville 
TN 37203
Tel: 615 829 6023

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