Pig Pit – Cohoes, NY
People thought it was a little bold to include directions from Dinosaur BBQ in Troy to Pig Pit in Cohoes at the end of derryX Dines: Dinosaur BBQ – Troy, NY. They also thought I was a little over-emphatic about and unnecessarily critical of the parking situation there, but it’s come up enough in the past two weeks that I’ll need to talk about this another day.
I think it’s important to stand behind a business you believe in, and Pig Pit in Cohoes has been a restaurant that really has not led me wrong since I’ve been going there. I’ve sampled things all across their menu, but there’s been a hole in the way that I order there.
When organizing a get together for 2 Years of derryX, Pig Pit came to my mind as a perfect location to wrangle a fairly significant number of hungry people who wanted to talk shop with me. Now after the fact, I’m glad that I did go with this over my original idea, which only provided seating inside for 14 people (over 30 people showed up!). Pig Pit has an area inside that seats about 20, an area immediately outside that seats another 20, and a picnic area across the parking lot (that contains ample parking) that can seat at least 50 comfortably. We took over the pavilion, and it was great.
About this hole in the way I order.
I normally order a protein and a side dish. Sounds normal, right? Well, not really. I’ll get a ton of brisket and an order of fried green beans, or their smoked wings and sweet potato fries. I usually wind up spending too much money this way, because there are combination platters designed to provide normal portions. But I like to be difficult. I’ve never actually tried their ribs, so I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to do so, and also to try a few new sides that I never tried before.
I ordered the Rib dinner (Half rack of ribs, 6 bones. Includes a homemade corn muffin, coleslaw, and your choice of two fixins – $14.95); I chose fried okra and cole slaw as the sides.
To be sure I had something I knew I’d like, I got a small plate of brisket, which ran me about $6.
I knew I was in over my head. It was a party! I had to celebrate!
When served to me, everything about the rib dinner was too hot to eat except the cole slaw. That’s where I actually started.
They give a solid 8 oz of cole slaw [side note: every time I eat cole slaw, I think about my friend, Lisa Jane Persky, who has a line in Coneheads that she’ll make cole slaw to bring to a house warming party. It’s classic stuff!]. Pig Pit’s cole slaw does have flaws. It is terribly under seasoned. It also lacks a sour element and overall comes off bland. It isn’t runny and consists of very crispy cabbage and carrots, which are the two attributes that I love about cole slaw.
I took a few bites of the fried okra, a vegetable that I had not ever tried to this point.
I thought the coating on the okra was delicious. It was a mix between the coating on factory mozzarella sticks and corn dogs, and it was nicely seasoned and crisp. The okra itself was ok. I was aware that I should expect a slimy texture, and that was fine, but, honestly, it didn’t bring any flavor to the game. I guess that’s why they’re popular; it’s a deep fried vegetable that doesn’t taste like anything.
The corn muffin was good. It was a sweet corn muffin, and was warmed perfectly.
I then enjoyed my brisket. They add a decent amount of sauce and then leave you to your own devices to apply hot sauce or additional homemade BBQ sauce to it. I added neither. I prefer my brisket with as little sauce as possible, so the default amount is perfect. They trim the majority of the fat from the brisket prior to slicing. The slices are uniform, a sign that a slicing machine is used. I’m fine with this. In my experience, the briskets I haven’t liked had too much of the fat layer remaining and were sliced too thick. I’m sure there’s a thinness threshold, but the way Pig Pit gives the brisket, it’s not even close enough to approaching it.
The ribs were a bit of a roller coaster. There were highs and there were lows. With the dinner, they serve six meaty pork ribs (not baby back). The amount of smoke flavor is perfect. It appears that there’s some dry rub and possibly sauce that’s involved in the smoking process, but when plated, they add no sauce. This allows you to taste the smoky pork in all of its glory. Unfortunately, the ribs were a little tough. Smoked ribs aren’t exactly supposed to fall from the bone, contrary to popular opinion, but it’s not supposed to take as much effort to separate the meat from the bone as it did. They were very good, but not perfect. My guess is that I arrived too early; perhaps by 3 or 4 PM, after sitting in the smoker a few more hours, the meat would be a little chewier. Purely speculation.
As I was finishing up, MetalFrog arrived and got a platter of food. I have no idea what he ordered (although I know both were from the Mexican portion of the menu), but both portions looked exactly the same. I thought that was remarkable, and just wanted a picture of that in this post.
While it wasn’t perfect, I did enjoy my meal very much, and was glad that I picked such a great venue to house such a great event.
As a fun side note, hanging on the wall right where you walk in, they have displayed a decorated and framed rendition of a post from All Over Albany.
How cool is that?