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This hog's still smokin

Hillcrest BBQ spot showing promise, despite inconsistencies

Where there's smoke there's hog. - Image by Andy Boyd
Where there's smoke there's hog.

I visited The Smok'd Hog a couple of years ago when it soft-opened as The Whole Hog. Back then I had a mixed experience at the little BBQ spot at the three-way intersection of Park and Robinson (and Indiana). I praised its smoked pork preparation and flavorful sauces, but complained about the quantity of each. I also hoped the new restaurant would step up its sides game.

Place

Smok'd Hog

3749 Park Boulevard, San Diego

The Smok'd Hog, formerly The Whole Hog.

As Smok'd Hog, I consider its game raised. The already solid coleslaw gets an optional upgrade to a blue cheese and bacon Coleslaw Royale. Instead of the thin, dried out mac served to me before, they dish up a warm, cheesy cardboard tub of comfort. And the collard greens, stewed with chunks of pork, are the best I've had in San Diego, the bitterness of the greens subsumed by the savory juices. It's a perfect vegetable dish for carnivores.

Clockwise from bottom: ribs, coleslaw, pork belly Reuben, mac'n'cheese, and collard greens.

My favorite addition has been the pork belly Rueben: Braised hunks of belly with sauerkraut and swiss on marble rye. A Portland shop called Bunk Sandwiches offered something similar on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives in 2009, and the idea carries well here for $11.

Hog sauce: tangy, spicy, and sweet.

The Hog only serves ribs on the weekends, and that's where I ran into trouble. When I thought to get some at 1 p.m. on a Saturday, the $13 half rack of St. Louis-cut ribs were tough to chew off the bone. The house "Hog sauce" showed a wonderful balance between tangy, spicy, and sweet, but the meat wanted more time than it got in the smoker.

Sandwich options (when not out) include a Smok'd salmon BLT, pork belly Reuben, chicken torta, and a meatloaf sandwich.
Smok'd sandwiches run from $9.50-$12.50.

If ribs are your thing, these would be pretty dang good if/when they dial in the fall-off-the-bone tenderness that make ribs worth the effort. Maybe wait until evening hours and hope everything is cooked slow and low all day. Failing that, I'm confident in getting a good meal by loading up on $3-4 sides and hedging my bets with the more reliable sandwich options.

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Where there's smoke there's hog. - Image by Andy Boyd
Where there's smoke there's hog.

I visited The Smok'd Hog a couple of years ago when it soft-opened as The Whole Hog. Back then I had a mixed experience at the little BBQ spot at the three-way intersection of Park and Robinson (and Indiana). I praised its smoked pork preparation and flavorful sauces, but complained about the quantity of each. I also hoped the new restaurant would step up its sides game.

Place

Smok'd Hog

3749 Park Boulevard, San Diego

The Smok'd Hog, formerly The Whole Hog.

As Smok'd Hog, I consider its game raised. The already solid coleslaw gets an optional upgrade to a blue cheese and bacon Coleslaw Royale. Instead of the thin, dried out mac served to me before, they dish up a warm, cheesy cardboard tub of comfort. And the collard greens, stewed with chunks of pork, are the best I've had in San Diego, the bitterness of the greens subsumed by the savory juices. It's a perfect vegetable dish for carnivores.

Clockwise from bottom: ribs, coleslaw, pork belly Reuben, mac'n'cheese, and collard greens.

My favorite addition has been the pork belly Rueben: Braised hunks of belly with sauerkraut and swiss on marble rye. A Portland shop called Bunk Sandwiches offered something similar on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives in 2009, and the idea carries well here for $11.

Hog sauce: tangy, spicy, and sweet.

The Hog only serves ribs on the weekends, and that's where I ran into trouble. When I thought to get some at 1 p.m. on a Saturday, the $13 half rack of St. Louis-cut ribs were tough to chew off the bone. The house "Hog sauce" showed a wonderful balance between tangy, spicy, and sweet, but the meat wanted more time than it got in the smoker.

Sandwich options (when not out) include a Smok'd salmon BLT, pork belly Reuben, chicken torta, and a meatloaf sandwich.
Smok'd sandwiches run from $9.50-$12.50.

If ribs are your thing, these would be pretty dang good if/when they dial in the fall-off-the-bone tenderness that make ribs worth the effort. Maybe wait until evening hours and hope everything is cooked slow and low all day. Failing that, I'm confident in getting a good meal by loading up on $3-4 sides and hedging my bets with the more reliable sandwich options.

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Comments
2

Hi I am the owner at The Smok'd Hog. I want to to say thank you for your kind words on the food that you enjoyed, and as for the constructive criticism I also want to let you know it is much appreciated. I have been wrestling with the decision of only serving the ribs at dinner time on Saturday and Sunday for quite a while now. Taking your feed back into consideration, I have confidence that only doing ribs at night is the right decision. Once agin thank you for visiting The Smok'd Hog and providing us with honest feed back, I hope next time you're in you will see even more growth in our product.

Feb. 21, 2017

Good for you, being a gentleman about anything less than categorically glowing praise. Restaurateurs these days are spoiled by the super soft touch of overly friendly press, and they tend to get completely butthurt if anybody says anything other than "OMG so superlative five stars i love it!" A little humility goes a long way, and you'll probably run a better shop for it, too. Warms my heart.

Feb. 23, 2017

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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