Since the President recently visited Franklin, I thought it would be appropriate to bring back my Franklin BBQ post for TBT..
The next stop on the Barbecue Rankings Tour is Big Al’s BBQ. As anyone who has done the North Carolina barbecue trail knows,...
Name: The Pit
Location: 328 W. Davie St., Raleigh, NC
Order: Appetizer: Sampler plate with chopped pork, pulled pork, baby back ribs, spare ribs, beef brisket, barbecue chicken, mac & cheese, collards, hush puppies, biscuits. Main course: Family style meal with fried green tomatoes, BBQ soul rolls, chopped pork, baby back ribs, sweet potato fries, black eyed peas, and some sort of dessert (link to menu)
Speedy: As Monk mentioned in the previous post, we were in Raleigh for the weekend, so of course we had to stop by The Pit for lunch. I feel like the first thing I need to do is explain the order, as we ate A LOT of food. Well, here’s how that went down:
We were joined by our buddies Sus (who previously ate with us when we reviewed Mac’s Speed Shop and Bill Spoon’s) and J-Twice (who accompanied me on my visit to Smoke on the Water). As we like to do, Monk and I took control of the order, telling the waiter we wanted to sample a bunch of different types of meats. He told us he could put together a sampler platter, even though it wasn’t on the lunch menu, allowing us to try everything we really needed to sample. Now the sampler had a good amount of food, but not enough for four grown ass men to feel satisfied, so when we finished that, our other waiter (The Pit serves tables in teams) told us about the family style option - which, for $20 per person, gives the table two appetizers, three sides, desserts for everyone, and an unlimited amount of two meats. This caused my jaw to drop and to say, “Woah woah woah! Why didn’t anyone tell us about this earlier? DON’T YOU KNOW WHO WE ARE? WE’RE THE BARBECUE BROS!” (OK, I didn’t say that last part.) Well, the waiter then said the best thing anyone has ever said to me by telling us that he would just consider our sampler as part of family style meal.
Rudy: I feel like this lack of attention to detail should be a knock against them. How do you later say “oh yeah, if you wanted we could have given you as much meat as you could shove down your throats… if you would be interested in that at all.”
Monk: Talk about coming through in the clutch. Clearly, we would have gone family style if we knew that was an option. Once the family style portions came out, we dug into the unlimited pork and baby back ribs. The pork was whole hog, eastern NC style and was definitely above average. The ribs were probably the favorite at the table (or maybe it was just J-Twice, who was a fiend for these guys), but overall I preferred the pork.
Speedy: I actually also thought the brisket was very good, and was disappointed that we couldn’t have a third meat for family style. It was a good mix of lean and fatty, sliced just right, tender, and flavorful. No sauce required for this meat - as the tangy flavor rose from within. The chicken was fine, but I wouldn’t ever order it here - there’s just too many better options.
Rudy: I see this alot here in Texas, where places offer chicken. I like barbecued chicken just fine, but rarely would I ever ever order it at a barbecue restaurant. I feel like it is a waste of an item. I pretty much rule that out as soon as I see it on the menu.
Monk: I’m not sure I even tried the chicken. One great thing about family style at The Pit is unlimited hush puppies and biscuits (though I didn’t try the biscuits either). Our three sides were heirloom cabbage collards, black eyed peas, and sweet potato fries. The collards were really quite good but I didn’t really partake of the others. If you are noticing a trend here, it’s that we ordered a crap ton of food and by the end I was super stuffed. OH, and I haven’t even mentioned the appetizers we got as part of the family style deal! One of which was fried green tomatoes served with goat cheese and a red pepper vinaigrette. These guys were legit, but I’m of the mindset that there’s not too much that goat cheese can’t improve.
Speedy: There’s one more thing I really need to talk about here: the BBQ Soul Rolls. Basically, what these are are oversized egg rolls stuffed with chopped pork, collards, and candied carrots and they are AMONG THE BEST THINGS I HAVE EVER PUT IN MY MOUTH.
Monk: *resisting urge to make the easy joke*
Speedy: Seriously - these Soul Rolls are not invented by man - they are invented by God through man. If you go to The Pit and don’t order the Soul Rolls, not only are you missing out on a little piece of heaven, you’re kind of dumb.
Rudy: I have never heard of anything like this, but I am automatically jealous. It sounds amazing.
Monk: The Pit is part of the Empire Eats restaurant group in Raleigh, and for that reason is frankly a little swanky for a barbecue spot. It is located in a huge, modern space in an old warehouse that has several large dining areas as well as a bar upfront. We got there a little early for lunch on Saturday, and by the time we left the place was pretty packed. In any case, my first trip to The Pit was a great success. Although they no longer have the famed original pitmaster Ed Mitchell (they parted ways in early 2011), they still cook pretty legit eastern NC style ‘cue.
Speedy: Overall, I really enjoyed my trip to The Pit - a place I hadn’t been to in over a year. I loved being to sample such a variety of food and I LOVE the family style option. If I lived in Raleigh, I think this would be my go-to barbecue place. My only regret was that I didn’t have room in my stomach to eat more.
Atmosphere/Ambiance – 3.5 hogs
Pork - 4 hogs
Ribs - 3 hogs
Brisket - 3.5 hogs
Chicken - 2 hogs
Sides – 3 hogs
BBQ Soul Rolls - 5 hogs
Overall – 4 hogs