BIG AND TASTY: A pulled pork sandwich with slaw hits the spot at Whole Hog Cafe
Lord, forgive me for my sins...but I'm just not that into barbecue. I don't hate it, and I can certainly see why it evokes such passion from its fans, but it's just never been a style of food that I've craved. I know that makes me a wretched Southerner, and a piss-poor Arkansan, but it's the truth and I've got to tell it.
Every once in awhile, though, the wife will get a hankering for ribs, so we'll pack up and go to a barbecue joint — generally whatever place is closest to where we are. Last week we were in West Little Rock when the craving hit, so we went over to Whole Hog Cafe off Bowman — reluctantly, in my case.
My last experience with a Whole Hog location was in Bryant, and I recall being rather unimpressed with the food. The sandwich I got at the Bowman location defied that memory, though, because it was pretty good — moist, smoky pork that fell apart in tender shreds, tangy slaw, and a helping of some really fantastic barbecue beans. I slathered on a touch of spicy sauce and went to work.
As for the wife's ribs, she enjoyed them, and the taste I had was decent, if not mind-blowing. I'm very picky about my ribs, though, having been spoiled by family and friends who know how to do them right. In Whole Hog's case, their ribs had been sitting around for awhile, and although they were still good, they had begun to get a little dry.
So I don't know, maybe I was just extra hungry that day, or maybe there's a barbecue lover buried deep inside me just dying to get out. All I can say is that the pulled pork really hit the spot, and made me temper my opinion of Whole Hog just a little. I'm still not to the point where I'll agree with many of our readers who constantly vote the place "Best Barbecue," but I can at least see where y'all are coming from.