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Evansville's Smokin Pig BBQ is back in business, for awhile

Evansville Courier & Press logo Evansville Courier & Press 10/20/2021 Aimee Blume, Evansville Courier & Press
A large order of rib tips from the Smokin Pig BBQ on Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021. The house mild sauce is light and sweet and doesn't overwhelm the tender meat. © Aimee Blume / Courier & Press A large order of rib tips from the Smokin Pig BBQ on Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021. The house mild sauce is light and sweet and doesn't overwhelm the tender meat.

EVANSVILLE, Ind. – Move quick. The Smokin Pig BBQ on Lincoln Avenue near Downtown is open once more, but only until winter blows in.

Le’Shaunte LeFlore is the owner. He’s a career military man who recently retired and is living in Houston, Texas, but his mom, Lois, and the rest of the local LeFlore clan are bringing back Smokin Pig's scrumptious barbecue pork, fried catfish, chicken and more.

“We’ve been shut down for more than three years and Le’Shaunte has been trying to sell the place, but it was sitting here and we decided to open it back up this fall with the rest of the family,” said Lois LeFlore, the daily manager of the business.

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The Smokin Pig is a tiny, carry-out-only spot and has been open Thursday through Saturday for a few weeks, but people are already discussing the good food on social media, and a constant stream of diners is trickling in and out of the blue building, grabbing brown paper bags full of lunch or dinner to go.

The effort is 100% LeFlore. All the workers are in the family.

Lawrence LeFlore chops barbecued rib tips at Smokin Pig BBQ on Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021. © Aimee Blume / Courier & Press Lawrence LeFlore chops barbecued rib tips at Smokin Pig BBQ on Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021.

“You can’t afford to hire anybody outside the family right now, so I’m here all day every day that we’re open and we have my other son and daughters and the grandkids here, cousins and everybody comes in to help. My cousin Ezekiel is running the pit today. It’s always someone in the family.”

The pit is a point of pride for Lois. Unlike more modern smokers, it’s not hooked up to electricity, doesn’t have any kind of burner or use wood pellets or any of those conveniences. In the bottom there’s a pile of charcoal briquettes and a big chunk of tree slowly burning away with small clear flames, not clouds of smoke. Hickory is the preferred wood, but other hardwoods might find their way in now and then.

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“You could sit the pit in the middle of Garvin Park and run it as long as you have charcoal and wood,” she said. “A pit you can’t leave alone, so we have to have people in here all day. We couldn’t open for more than three days a week, because it would tire everybody out.”

The business is seasonal and will be open only until sometime in December. If you’re in a hurry, it helps to call orders in ahead, as fried items are hand-breaded and fried to order.

Lois LeFlore readies an order of fried chicken for a customer inside Smokin Pig BBQ on Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021. © Aimee Blume / Courier & Press Lois LeFlore readies an order of fried chicken for a customer inside Smokin Pig BBQ on Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021.

On the menu

First on the menu, barbecue pork. You’ll find spareribs, chopped rib tips and pulled pork. We tried the rib tips and they were just right, tender without being too soft and not overly fatty. The mild sauce was light and sweet and did not completely coat or overwhelm the meat. Each morsel begged to be picked up and gnawed off the nubbins of bones. There is also a spicy house sauce.

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A large order of tips is served atop a pile of fries with two slices of white bread, pickles and sliced onions, and is plenty to serve two for $16. Smaller portions, tips by the bucket and tub, and combo meals are also offered.

If you’d rather have something crispy, go for fried chicken or fish. The breading is seasoned with a house spice mix and everything is cooked to order, so remember that larger pieces of chicken will spend around 15 minutes in the fryer. It's a small place, and if there are people ahead of you it can take a while. Calling to order ahead will keep things going smoothly.

Sandwiches include an Italian beef, Italian sausage, hot links and pork chops.

Meals are served with fries. Other sides include slaw, baked beans, mac and cheese, and spaghetti.

Kendrick Smith turns rib tips on the pit inside the Smokin Pig BBQ on Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021. © Aimee Blume / Courier & Press Kendrick Smith turns rib tips on the pit inside the Smokin Pig BBQ on Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021.

Location: 773 Lincoln Ave.

Phone: 812-893-7232

Hours:

Thursday-Saturday, noon-8 p.m.

Contact Aimee Blume at aimee.blume@courierpress.com.

This article originally appeared on Evansville Courier & Press: Evansville's Smokin Pig BBQ is back in business, for awhile

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