Pig Daddy’s BBQ, Drexel Hill

I was close enough to Drexel Hill recently to make a slight barbecue detour and visit Pig Daddy’s, the winners of Philadelphia Magazine’s “Best of Philly” Barbecue in 2008.

When I first got there, I opened a menu and was immediately confused. Was this a BBQ joint or a Mexican foodery? Or was their specialty Cajun cuisine? The menu is one of the most extensive I’ve seen, especially considering the place is not much larger than my kitchen. It features a full barbecue menu (KC or Carolina pork, pork AND beef ribs, Texas-style brisket, chicken, turkey, sausage and more), a full Mexican AND a Tex-Mex menu, Cajun-style fried fish platters and po’ boys, 9 different burgers, and plenty of other seemingly random inclusions like the Cuban sandwich or the BBQ cheese steak. How could a tiny corner take-out store execute this many dishes, let alone execute them well?

I was there for ‘cue, so I ordered the pulled pork platter — which inexplicably came with a side of chips and salsa, btw. I chose the platter for two reasons — firstly, because the sandwich came on a Kaiser roll, a roll that is simply not meant for barbecue. A good barbecue roll should be soft and weak, to better soak up the sauce and juice and meld into the meat as you eat it. A Kaiser has a tough, sometimes even hard outer crust that is far too chewy to match with barbecue. The second reason I ordered the platter was to try a few sides, a less important but still essential part of any ‘cue joint’s pedigree.

The meat itself was quite disappointing. It was flavorful, but had no smoke flavor at all. It tasted more like crock-pot pork than smoked pork. The Carolina-style sauce had a nice mixture of spices, but the signature vinegar tang of the region’s best was also completely missing. The sides were also disappointing. Though cole slaw is rarely transcendent and should simply serve as a foil to the meat, this slaw was bland and offered little added value. The beans were also banal, as if they were served out of a supermarket can.

Pig Daddy’s has been around quite a while, and piled up more than their fair share of accolades — aside from the “Best of Philly” win, the Inquirer, Daily News, City Paper and MyFoxPhilly have all heaped praise on the food (mostly the ‘cue). So what is my problem? Did I catch them on an off day? Should I have ordered the Buffalo Chicken Burrito (a.k.a. the Buffarita) instead?

Would love to know what others think — feel free to comment below. But if you are, like me, always on the lookout for great ‘cue, unfortunately I can’t recommend going out of your way to try Pig Daddy’s.

The platter (moved to a plate)
The platter (moved to a plate)

The sandwich I made with a proper bun
The sandwich I made with a proper bun

7 thoughts on “Pig Daddy’s BBQ, Drexel Hill”

  1. Also it isn’t the mainline and I am glad they aren’t because the main line is filled with rich snobs that believe what they here and don’t know a hole in the wall. Pds bbq is one of the best places in the northeast so alll you people get your facts straight and go and get some real que there. I’ve gotten to know the owners from my weekly trips there and they are certified kcbs judges. . And they actually run the judging classes and also orginize contests in he northeast. They know what there doing!!! And if there food wasn’t good they would of been closed by now because anyone that has been there knows its a small shop and has been there for 7 years now so go pds keep making great food. Thanks

  2. I’m actually going to try this place tonight. It was nice to read the reviews but I’m a firm believer in trying things for myself especially when it comes to food. Everyone is different and no everyone like the same things so I look forward to trying it! I’ve heard all good things from people I know

  3. Thank you. I too went to the award winning Pig Daddy’s and was shaking my head at the end of meal. The ribs fell of the bone like they were steamed. The pulled pork on a kaiser was too tough (the roll)to bite through. AND there was very little smoke flavor on anything.
    I didn’t understand how this could be the best of anything. Sorry.
    There are other choices for Q in the area.

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