My friends Jerry and Linda Mullane run a BBQ restaurant, Pig Daddy's in Drexel Hill, PA. While my opinion may be a little biased, I think their food is a lot better than this reviewer. Be sure to check them out.
After Chris broke his leg and the traveling soccer team was put on hold, they suddenly had their weekends free and were looking for something to fill the time. So the family answered an ad to train as volunteer judges in barbecue competitions. Chris' leg mended, but the 'cue became a calling.
Linda and Jerry Mullane are now on the board and are certified judging instructors of the Kansas City Barbecue Society. Just over two years ago, they opened Pig Daddy's BBQ in Drexel Hill.
Jerry Mullane is at the helm of Cindy LaPork (every cook gives his smoker a name), which is loaded with cherry or hickory wood. There's no temperature control, so he has to keep the smoke and heat constant. And when they say Pig Daddy's 'cue is long and slow, that can mean up to 14 hours for the brisket.
Bear in mind that the Mullanes are on the competition circuit. So, when they serve their 'cue, it's nearly "naked," which doesn't hide the quality of the meat in a barbecue sauce.
Linda Mullane explains: "It's a personal preference, but we like the meat to stand out and just use a small amount of homemade finishing sauce at the end. You can order extra sauce if you want more."
The meats cost $9.50 per pound, and you can figure on one-third to one-half pound per person. Platters will get you two sides, or you can order individual half-pints ($2) and full-pints ($4). Get there early on a weekend or you will miss out on the Dinosaur Bones - big beef ribs.
The Texas-style beef brisket rules with its smoky but beefy flavor and perfect texture. This is great 'cue.
I opted for the Carolina-style pulled pork sandwich over the Kansas City-style because I love the vinegary punch of Carolina pulled pork- although the debate over adding mustard to the sauce can be argued with as much conviction as the Sermon on the Mount.
The pulled pork was as smoky, tender and juicy as it should be. However, I prefer to have my pull on plain, old white store-bought sandwich bread to really do the sop job. A Kaiser roll is too East Coast for my tastes.
The pork spare ribs ($10 half-rack, $19 full) were excellent, accented with a terrific rub and time in the smoker.
I think I'd opt for extra sauce - just personal preference.
I also enjoyed the Texas Tommy ($6.95) that fits a Texas-size appetite. "P-Daddy" double-smokes a foot-long sausage and douses it in their own Hawg Wild Chili and Cheez Whiz, proving once and for all that there is a reason for Cheez Whiz in this world: It glues the chili beans on the steak roll. This is a delicious pig-out.
Pig Daddy's is good barbecue, obviously cooked long and slow the way only a self-respecting barbecuer can do it. Their dry rubs and sauces are clearly made in-house. And I like their choice of apple and hickory woods, which adds smoke but doesn't overwhelm the meat.
As far as the sides are concerned, there's a decent coleslaw, but I'd like a little more vinegar to offset the richness of the meat I'm eating. Skip the mac and cheese, which is too gunky on the palate to work with this food. You need a creamy mac and cheese with very little thickener to pair with a heavy barbecue.
Also skip the sweet potatoes, which are too much like canned pie filling.
The collard greens are unremarkable, and even most of a bottle of hot sauce at home didn't help.
I will give credit where credit is due, however. The baked beans are redolent with smoked pork and, even though they start with a canned product, these beans are a close second to my grandmother's made from scratch.
Their Mexican and Tex-Mex offerings are good enough, but I think the menu should be pared down. I'd rather see fewer extraneous choices and more attention paid to bringing the sides up to the quality of the barbecued meats. After all, if you are going to the altar of barbecue, you don't want someone preaching outside the faith.