Whole Hog Cafe – Cherry Hill, NJ
The influx of BBQ restaurants in the Philadelphia/South Jersey this past year was phenounal. It was a long time coming, and the region finally seems to have embraced it.
Whole Hog Cafe (WHC) comes to Cherry Hill, New Jersey by way of Little Rock, Arkansas. Coming along with them is a spotlight on competition BBQ style of cooking. They came to Jersey on a mission to compete and accomplished a huge one by taking first place in the pork division outshining all other competitors at the New Jersey Championship BBQ 2013 Event held in Wildwood, NJ. Not a bad way to say hello to bbq enthusiasts and to those of us around the area not familiar with them. With their focus on competitive cooking, the restaurant features the most poplar competitive meat categories to chose from being pulled pork, pork ribs, pulled chicken, and beef brisket. With a huge sign profiling the wonders of their pulled pork sandwich as soon as you walk in the door of WHC, I decided to go with that for my order.
I went with the jumbo sandwich which serves 7 ounces of pulled pork on a bun, one of their many sauce options to choose from, and coleslaw all included. My sauce of choice would be their traditional which along with the coleslaw I asked for on the side. The sauce was very good. Not too thick and not too thin, while having a nice flavor that was robust, but not overpowering the smoked meat flavor. The meat was cooked to perfection and I can see why they have won so many awards for their pulled pork. They season it beautifully, while the meat is nice and juicy throughout and not the slightest hint of being chewy at all. Even after adding the sauce to top the sandwich, the bun held up admirably without falling apart at all. WHC knows what they are doing and their finished product is proof enough.
As great of an experience that I had at WHC, the only thing that gives me concern is that somehow they are not getting others to join in on the fun. I arrived slightly past noon which is normally a busy time for a lunch crowd at any restaurant, but sadly I was the only diner at WHC during my stay. I even had a sampling of WHC’s ribs which I thought were fantastic as well, but only a sample as that is why I did not review them. Even with just a sample though, WHC has made me believe they have a superior rib offering to accompany their award winning pork and I would gladly grab an order of ribs next time I am there. If WHC can get the word out, they have plenty of parking available, a gorgeous large room perfect for private parties and events, friendly staff, great competitive style bbq menu, and a location that is easy and accessible to get to from most major roadways. I am sure WHC is used to the ups and downs of the bbq world being competitors and shown they can win the big one. So here is hoping for them to keep on swinging and possibly come out on top in the South Jersey bbq restaurant market as well.
Four and One-Fourths out of Five Stars