The last thing in the world I was expecting to see in New Hampshire was a sign for BBQ. I think of Memphis, Kansas City, or the entire state of Texas not The Granite State. Sure enough driving north out of North Conway a big BBQ sign at the top of the hill beckoning me to try a slab of pork ribs, The Hill’s Top BBQ, Home of the Wicked Pig.
Yes, real BBQ. Pulled pork and dry seasoned ribs, complete with coldslaw, Texas Toast, and baked beans. Several sauces caddied in old six-pack cardboard from spicy mustard to sweet BBQ sauce adorned the table. I had a preference for the “Smokey” and “Medium” sauces. Under normal circumstances, I would have ordered a cold one, but with a hike right after this heart-stopping lunch, I thought it best just to order water.
The pulled pork was succulent, well separated from the fatty pork shoulder. I mean really good stuff here. Shaharazade wasn’t as lucky with her pulled pork sandwich, she felt there was a bit too much fat. I didn’t give a full inspection of her sandwich, but they may have had some extra fat in between that Texas Toast. The sauce on the pork was mild, classic BBQ sauce. Not spicy or overly sweet. I like scoops of shredded pork with my slaw. Slaw on its own can have a bit too much mayonnaise for my taste. The coldslaw was cold and crispy, but I still added a bit of extra sauce to the mix.
The real star of the show was ribs. I believe ribs are the real test of any pit master, other than whole hog of course. The ribs were meaty, tender, and dry style seasoned with a bit of moisture on the outside, perhaps after a brief brushing of sauce before service. What elevated these ribs to professional grade, the removal of the membrane connective tissue on the back side of the ribs. When the tissue is removed, the eater doesn’t have to fight to get to morsels of meat and more seasoning will penetrate the rib. Besides, the membrane is inedible and won’t cook down.
An extremely satisfying lunch in the most unexpected of places. The taste of pork was with both of us for the entire 5+ hour walk up and down one of the New Hampshire’s 4000 foot peaks, Mt. Jackson. And The Cured Ham really loves their weather vane.