As the die hard BBQ eaters continue to wage war on what style BBQ is the best, Tyson Ho, owner/pitmaster at Arrogant Swine, brings us some Carolina style whole hog BBQ to add to the pit. In the semi-desolate, industrial neighborhood of, you guessed it, all the cool kids are there, Bushwick, it’s a short-ish walk from the train. As you approach the destination, it gives you time to wonder how good your swine will have to be to make up for the trek. If you are a cool kid and live in the hood, you will find yourself lucky to have this joint close by.
The graffiti style mural, painted by the Brooklyn Collective, is the first thing to catch your eye, offering a hovering pig that looks down upon the picnic tables and heat lamps that are set up in the 3000 ft outdoor space that hides the smokers all the way in the back inside bright red converted shipping containers.
Inside, the sparsely decorated open space with more splashes of red, houses a long bar leading you to a back counter where you order food yourself and it gets delivered to you when it’s ready. They call themselves an American Beer Hall, and do have a mighty selection of both bottles and draft to choose from, but don’t expect the prices to be cheap just because you are near the middle of almost nowhere (this holds true for the pretty much standard priced food as well, when comparing to other BBQ places around). The staff is friendly, but once you have an adult beverage, all you really want to do is taste the pig.
We recommend bringing along a few friends (not just so you won’t have to walk back to the train alone) but there is no reason that you shouldn’t order one of everything from the menu! It is not very extensive and worth trying all of your options. You can choose from spare ribs with a Carolina honey glaze, outside brown (which is the outermost layer of the hog in direct heat) that has a delicious texture and smoke to it, some of the most scrumptious pork belly (maybe only rivaled by Fette Sau), homemade sausage rings, or the much talked about: whole hog. The whole hog is a combination of all parts of the pig and even combines some crispy skin to add a nice crunch. Nothing is dressed too much and everything comes with different sauces including a tangy mustard or a vinegar base BBQ to dip your meat in. The sides are interesting mainly because of the mac n’ cheese waffle, but the coleslaws, sweet potato, or corn waffles definitely take a back seat to the pork.
The music is loud and rockin’, the heaters are on outside, making it comfortable to enjoy the outdoors as we ease into cooler weather, and the food will warm your bellies and fatten you up with BBQ for the winter. Make your way out here and let us know what you think!
David is the resident nerd around these parts. Running a popular tech blog (TheUnlockr.com) for the past 6 years, he’s taken his over-analytical mind and made the transition to food.