New Pit Master and Award-Winning Grub at the Hog Pit Smokehouse

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The Hog Pit Smokehouse Bar and Grill brought home a first-place trophy this month for their brisket, which was sort of a high point in a period that’s included some big changes for the restaurant.

Chef and kitchen manager Charles Kidd says he and the crew earned the trophy at the Golden Acorn Barbecue competition near San Diego. The restaurant was also named ninth best overall, quite an accolade considering top competitors from across the country attended.

Kidd attributes a good portion of that success to the restaurant’s new pit master, Mark Smith. With him came new recipes, a new approach to barbecue and, apparently, some award-winning grub.

“I’ve worked with Albert Hall and I worked under the tutelage of Emeril Lagasse, but I had my wings clipped from gourmet to blue-collar when I came here,” says Kidd, adding that Smith was instrumental in that transformation.

“This is a barbeque house, this is a smokehouse. We don’t have to worry about seven kinds of cheese on our macaroni. People want a cold beverage and good barbeque for under $10, and that’s what they get.”

Stopping short of divulging any recipes, Kidd says they use a dry rub on ribs, brisket and other meats and slow-smoke them over pecan wood for 12 to 17 hours. He’s sort of a barbeque historian as well, and one can tell quickly that he takes his job very seriously.

“A lot of people like to add things to their meat like phosphates, we don’t do that,” says Kidd. “I say, ‘Throw some wood on a fire, put your meat in the smoker and put some seasonings on it that you like, and it’s yours.”

Kidd says the bar has also been spruced inside and out, and now has a full NFL package, karaoke and live music on some nights. You can check in over here for more information.

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