Thursday, October 01, 2009

The Great LA Pulled Pork Face-Off

I love pulled pork. Really, I seriously fucking love pulled pork. It's the coming together of my favorite meat, the fatty delicious pig, and my favorite cooking technique, slow-roasting. The added practice of pulling the meat off the bone in delicious, fatty tendrils of gooey transcendent tastycakes is merely a bonus.

I had the pleasure of sampling a few different LA pulled porks recently. A critique:

The Oinkster: A super meaty style. Thin shreds of pork with minimal embellishment on a nicely baked bun. At the Oinkster they hedge their bets by having all the sauces available on the side instead of committing to dosing the meat in just one sauce. The price can't be beat and the meat is of excellent quality. That's right, I used beat and meat in the same four word phrase. The Oinkster's fries with aioli rock, too.

Lou: Killer fatty Niman Ranch pork with cabbage slaw on, again, a great bun. Lou opted for a heavier dose of sweat and spicy sauce than at the Oinkster. That's not a bad thing. I'm a firm believer in a chef not being afraid to lay on the sauce as long as its good and adds to the quality of the dish. The Lou pulled pork fits that bill.

The Park: This wasn't a pulled pork sandwich, but rather a pile of pulled pork with cabbage slaw and a sweet corn pudding. The Park uses fattier Kurobuta pork and it's not a waste. Their pulled pork has a richer, fattier quality to it. The slaw, using Napa cabbage, was very nice.

So in the end? I still really like the pulled pork sandwich at T-Rex in Berkeley in terms of quality for the price. Lou's sandwich was delicious but not much more so than the one from The Oinkster and The Oinskter's sandwich is half the price. The Park's corn pudding rocks but I can't really compare that one to the others since it's not a sandwich.

The Oinkster is the closest to real Carolina pulled pork that I've had and, as long as you're willing the go nuts with the a la carte sauce, you're in good shape. Go for it.

The Oinkster

Lou On Vine

The Park Restaurant

1 comment:

Nora said...

Being from Eastern North Carolina, the inventor of the "Carolina Pulled Pork Sandwich", I think the most authentic sandwich in Los Angeles is Zek's Carolina Pulled Port Sandwich. However the best california twist on the classic is from Skratch in Culver City. Their braised pork sandwich comes on a thick homemade bun which will never get soggy. What's inside the sandwich? Get this: fig & white grape compote, green apples, baby greens, goat cheese, and topped with a fig & truffle oil vinaigrette.
Keep tasting...