pigpintopenIf you’ve been watching construction at 3139 North State Street and wondering to yourself “what and when,” just know we’ve been right there with you. At least about the when part.

The ‘what’ is The Pig & Pint, a butcher shop and smokehouse meets authentic Mississippi barbecue joint. And the when? “Last April,” says consulting partner Scott Jackson, owner of Colony Wine Market in Madison. “Being naïve about construction, we thought, worst case, by June. But construction is taking a long time. We’re looking at October hopefully” (the restaurant actually just opened, March 26, 2014 after some delay.)

Jackson is taking barbecue lovers to school. “We’re trying to help people understand, Memphis stole barbecue from us. Like Elvis and the river,” he says with a chuckle. It seems The Pig & Pint hopes to help the Magnolia State reclaim some of its notoriety, at least when it comes to culinary pursuits.

Mississippi barbecue, Jackson explains, is pork dominant with pulled pork and ribs with other things on side. The sauce defines the state’s smoked meat flavor profile. It’s tomato based, sweeter in style, with lots of baking spice flavors like vanilla, nutmeg, allspice and cinnamon. “But,” Jackson says, “We’re going to show you some different things” (including a Carolina mustard sauce, a vinegar sauce and a hot sauce to round out their four proprietary blends).

And that’s not all: The Pig & Pint will smoke brisket, duck, shrimp and even oysters as a part of a growing slate of offerings. “I suspect as we get into the menu, it will evolve a lot,” Jackson says. “There may be sliders of the week – maybe duck, pork and chicken or something. We may do an Asian slider with Korean style sauce. Things will be moving and changing, but the core will always be Mississippi barbecue with a smattering of other things.”

Creative chefs will concoct a host of “new to the area” options. The Pig & Pint will be known for pickling, their charcuterie plate (still to come), house-made sausage, bacon and boudin with pickled fixings and a pork belly corn dog with dipping sauces. It’s a little more than traditional barbecue.

Lest you believe you’ve had The Pig & Pint if you’ve ventured out to their pop-ups at Livingston Market, Jackson is quick to set the record straight. “I don’t know if people can see our concept from Livingston,” he explains. “All we’re doing is giving people an idea of how good our core product can be.” He cites a party they recently catered using the traditional whole hog made into tacos with pickled fixings. “(Managing partner and chef) Grant (Hutcheson) wanted to wow them and he blew them away.”

The Pig and “Pint,” as the name proclaims, will not only be about the food, but the drink, too. “We just want beverages to compliment our food,” Jackson says. He and managing partner Chris Clark are certified Sommeliers, taking service and pairing very seriously. “We love to educate people on food and beverage that go well with certain dishes.” Clark is even pursuing his Cicerone (beer expert) certification. We’ll have an array of beers to compliment our cuisine and we’re excited to educate our diners.”

The Pig & Pint also hopes to take advantage of the state’s now year-old law that allows for the sell of higher by volume craft beers. “Well do growler refills,” Jackson says. “So you could call in and order party food for people coming to watch football and get your beer, too.”

Explosive Growth Is The Fondren Draw
Jackson, at one point in life a Memphian, came into the project, not set on a concept — or location. “We wanted a causal concept and Fondren reminded me of midtown Memphis,” he explains. “We found ourselves in midtown often, in neighborhoods like Cooper-Young, going to the funky and quirky restaurants. When we moved back, I said ‘Fondren is Midtown Memphis.’

Okay, then, Fondren it is. But what did Fondren need? “Barbecue,” Jackson says, “wasn’t the first thing we had in mind.” Enter Andy Cook (of former Parker House fame and a consultant on the project) and Hutcheson, both ranked number 7 in world as a Memphis in May barbecue team (with the trophies to prove it) and Jackson says it was obvious. “The light bulb went on. Barbecue! We’re filling a niche for Fondren.”

Find It In Fondrenâ„¢ has the exclusive first look at The Pig & Pint menu (latest menu | beer list):

– Mississippi traditional competition style pulled pork smoked over apple and pecan wood

– Ribs with a sweet & spicy Pepsi glaze

– House made smoked sausage

– Brisket

– Tamales w barbecue Creme Fraiche

– Boudin balls w pickled grapes, house made tomato ginger jam

– Boudin links with house made pickles creole mustard

– Pulled pork nachos

– Warm sausage salad with spinach, pickled red onions, cherry tomatoes, goat cheese and a warm sausage vinaigrette

– Smoked chicken salad on greens or Busy Bee white bread from Rainbow Co-Op

– Bacon melt — smoked tomato aioli, collard greens, yet-to-be-named cheese on Busy Bee bread

– Barbecued shrimp

– Sides: traditional offerings like beans and coleslaw along with seasonal greens, fried okra and cream corn

– Desserts: Bananas foster banana pudding with a white chocolate sauce

– Cranberry bread pudding with a cremon glaze

– Sweet potato beignets with a raspberry beer sauce and candied bacon