The Porkapolypse has officially taken over the downtown core. It’s mesmerizing. Yesterday, I was able to navigate the crowds with ease; as dark clouds shook an angry fist at the potential spoils of drowning in hog heaven. Today, with the sun shining, thousands of downtown workers had overtaken the Sparks Street area, making it difficult to wiggle through from booth to booth.
Naturally, I walked the complete stretch, eyeballing everyone’s menu in the hopes something special would call to me. Between you and I, brisket would have been amazing. Burnt ends would have been better. Alas, my want went unfulfilled, but it’s hard to be angry when you’ve got so many ribs sizzling away, under a blanket of smoke from fresh fruit woods.
Given that I’d walked the distance, I figured I’d give Bone Daddy’s a try – situated all the way down at the corner of Sparks and Lyon. Given they’d won “Best Sauce” last year, they were certainly worth a flyer.
It took about 10 minutes to get to the front of the line, and I was happy to order the ribs and pulled pork combo, this time with a heaping slice of cornbread for an extra $3.
The rib portion was not as generous as some of the other competitors on the circuit, but still came with a great pink smoke ring around the outside. The ribs were average in size, leaning towards the small side, but the big plus was that there was no sign of membrane – hallelujah! Given my lack of desire to eat undigestible slabs of shoe leather, I cannot praise this enough.
The pulled pork was the star of the platter, as mounds of chunky pork butt were piled high on a cornmeal roll. It was “pulled” traditionally, with uneven sized pieces throughout the sandwich, and then given a good soaking in sauce. I got lots of quality bark pieces, and the gelatinous fat had been picked through or rendered out. Quality work here.
Their sauce is excellent. It’s got a much stronger vinegar base than I was expecting, which was a great thing. They’ve also added some slight heat to go along with the molasses, making it exceptionally well balanced all told.
The cornbread was very sweet, and almost cake-like. While it toed the line between meal accompaniment and dessert, I used it to mop up the sauce and it did its job. I’ve still got tons leftover, as $3 buys you a hunk the size of former prime-minster Brian Mulrooney’s jaw. Heck of a bargain.
If you’re in the mood for pulled pork, these guys are a good bet, and worth the extra walk.
Address: Sparks and Lyon (June 22-26, 2016)