We appreciate visual arts, the craft of our culinary work, and have a great venue. We are only what BBQ is supposed to be – smoked the night before using only hardwoods and charcoal, which is superior to BBQ cooked over gas or electricity. As you can see in the attached videos of Franklin BBQ in Austin, TX, it is a place I admire as one of the best BBQ joints in the county. While we may not be the best in the U.S. for now, staying true to the art of smoked meat is who we also want to be. (For more information on what is the difference between true-cues vs. faux-cue joints across America can be read here – Thrillist.)
In our pursuit of being an authentic, classic BBQ joint, to reduce waste and offer the freshest product off the pit, our low & slow production of crafted meats overnight means we sell out of items like Ribs & Brisket sometimes. It’s the nature of authentic BBQ. We purchase beautiful meats. Brine them for sweetness & flavor. Season them. Start the fire. Then smoke them low & slow 16 hours before a consumer decides what to eat the next day. It is an unpredictable craft. Both Edley’s BBQ & Martin’s BBQ in Nashville usually sell-out of Brisket before noon-thirty. Franklin’s sells out of all food by 2pm. Being undiscovered, we at least last until 7 or 8pm and have expanded our menu with other great entree’s that can be cooked in just 15 minutes, and is complimentary very delicious, like our Shrimp & Grits, Crab Cakes, and Carne Asada or everyone’s new favorite, our Fried Catfish. Read here for more information why BBQ sells out. To stay true to making BBQ every day the way it is traditionally supposed to be, we will always sell-out to guarantee the quality we all deserve.
The astray journey of many BBQ establishments to use machines has further influenced many to buy cheaper cuts of meat that are graded USDA Select or less or have decided to purchase frozen meats so they can serve mass amount of meat for cheap. I have chosen a different direction. Due to the environmental impact of agricultural waste runoff into our drinking waters, I have chosen a more modest, quality focused path by purchasing higher quality meats graded USDA Choice and above, and whenever possible from farms designed after Temple Grandin’s work that reduces animal stress. Furthermore, I have chosen to serve Black Angus beef that is the more marbled resulting in our beef being Upper 2/3rds Choice grade near Prime – a very tender, flavorful cut. I seek only the highest quality pork for sweetness and tenderness and the chickens I provide are 100% All Natural & Antibiotic free. I also serve Organic Salad blends of spinach, leaf lettuces, and other greens rather than Iceberg lettuce that, while much less expensive, it lacks flavor or any nutritional value. Lately, after witnessing the amount trash we create as a busy restaurant, I have partnered with R-Cubed Recycling and have made the cognitive decision to only use bio-degradable To-Go containers and straws. It is my wish that other restaurants will follow to reduce the impact of Cancer affecting our families in the Upper Cumberland area.
In the end, what you experience here is my concern for doing things the right way – for our local ecological living resources, our community health, and my passion to focus on quality ingredients and cooking BBQ the traditional true-cue way.
So even after considering our focus on quality & clean environmental impact, what makes the Blue Pig unique from other True-cue joints across America? I am an Upper Cumberland native & resident from Jackson County, a graduate of Lipscomb University in Nashville and the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa. My career as a humanitarian aid-worker took me back to Africa a number of times, most recently to Burundi in Central Africa where I served as the managing director of a local bank before I embarked on my career as pitmaster. I traveled as an explorer and humanitarian aid worker to many parts of Latin America, the Far East, Africa, the Middle East, the South Pacific, and Europe, discovering, among other things, that nothing captures the culture of a place quite like its food. As always in my journeys, I found himself in the kitchen usually with a fine bourbon or glass(es) of wine enjoying great food with friends. I love BBQ and have always wanted to share with others my creations but the perfect blend of spices had to wait until all the missing spices, rubs, techniques fell into place. I had the Ribs & Brisket nailed but searched the world over for the perfect BBQ chicken recipe which took me the longest. See…BBQ is a story of heritage. Just as unique as any regional flare from Kansas City style, Carolina style, Texas style, Memphis style, or even Tompkinsville, KY style that I grew up on, the flavors of regional BBQ are as beautiful and unique to every location. The flavors experienced at The Blue Pig, however, will take you on an adventure to a unique, storied reflection of my journey in seeking the best BBQ. From learning culinary skills from Turkey’s Top Chef, learning and sharing recipes in rural African/Asian villages, sometimes avoiding gunfights, or just enjoying wine, it’s cheer, & great dinners with friends around the world. The BBQ spice blend and everything served at The Blue Pig are a direct result of my personal life experiences. In 2013, I started Bight of the Bend in Gainesboro, TN which eventually earned accolades from pit masters, judges, and local newspapers. Today, Bight of the Bend has morphed into The Blue Pig to embrace all the barbecue favorites with the addition of other great southern dishes. BBQ made the traditional way using only the highest quality ingredients whenever possible.