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Elsa's Eats: The Hog Pit Smokehouse Bar and Grill - A Pig Pen?

Apparently, Elsa really will do anything for good barbecue, including enduring the wholly uncharming Hog Pit

My intrepid lunchtime companion and I paid a visit to the Hog Pit on 6910 E. Tanque Verde, formerly known as Taco Bron. Who doesn’t love good BBQ?

It’s important to note that this a biker bar that serves food, not a restaurant. It still retains the vestiges Taco Bron's decor, and is Chuy’s-like in atmosphere. Four big screen TVs pulsate various sports. It would probably be okay if you wanted to bring the kids to run around in this roadhouse, but the largest table only seats four. The Hog Pit also has a Facebook page in which it announces upcoming “Hog” (Harley Davidson motorcycle) events .

When we walked in, there was a group of about 20 Davis Monthan flyboys celebrating on one side of the room, and a half dozen or so rough-trade types drinking beer at noon at the bar. A bartender appearing to wear a Kleenex for a skirt signalled for us to seat ourselves.

After rejecting four dirty tables, and being leered at while doing so, we finally found a quiet one in the back. We sat for about 15 minutes before anyone acknowledged us.

I will wait for good BBQ. Undaunted, we waited a couple more minutes when a trainee waitress took our beverage order. Her mentor then appeared and took our food order and kind of snarled at us because we now needed it to go.

I ordered the sliced beef brisket sandwich with the medium sauce. BBQ sauces are offered in mild, medium or hot. My lunch companion ordered “The John Wayne Dog,” which was a huge hot dog wrapped in bacon and cheese, baked beans and crushed potato chips. We both ordered sweet potato fries as our sides.

As we had about 15 minutes left in which to eat, we returned to our office and unwrapped our lunches. My beef brisket sandwich turned out to be pulled pork sans sauce. What’s BBQ without sauce? My sandwich was also soggy and greasy.

My friend’s hot dog was messy and delicious and the smattering of BBQ sauce I could taste was really good. It had the right amount of sweet, smoke and tang. Had we been able to eat the sweet potato fries while hot, I think they would have been very good.

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Other menu items include ribs, smoked sausage coleslaw and the “Best Cornbread in the World” with entrees and sandwiches priced between $9 and $15. I was curious about a dessert menu item that I had seen at a state fair once: Deep Fried Oreo. Sounds gross and decadent all at once. Didn’t have time to try it at this visit.

I have eaten some of the best food in dive bars. If you can stomach the rowdy roadhouse atmosphere and surly service, the Hog Pit may delight BBQ lovers. I may try them again when I have a BBQ jones, but this time I’ll call ahead and order takeout. That way I can have my BBQ and not endure loud drunks and loud sports.

Elsa Cook is a local foodie returning to writing after an absence. She was the Tucson Weekly’s food critic in the 1980s.

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2 comments on this story

Apr 5, 2010, 7:14 pm
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Thank you for your comment Jerry. I completely agree. For a chain, Texas Roadhouse is a good value and I have never had a bad meal there. Love the ribs!

Apr 5, 2010, 6:21 pm
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My wife and I visited this pit once soon after it opened. We love good BBQ but will never return. The food was horrible and over priced. The service was terrible and the place was uncomfortable. I’d rather get my BBQ fix at The Texas Roadhouse.

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If you go

  • The Hog Pit, 6910 E. Tanque Verde Rd. 722-4302
  • Hours Sun./Mon 11 a.m.-Midnight, Tues.-Thurs. 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Fri/Sat. 11 a.m.-1 a.m.