Restaurant: Hog Shack Cook House
Last visited: February 18, 2011
Location: Richmond, BC (Steveston Village)
Address: 160-3900 Bayview Street
Price Range: $10-20
1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: Tres Excellent!!
Food: n/a (didn’t try enough)
- Hog Shack Cook House – Visit 2/Update
- Only BBQ in Richmond
- Popular to locals
- Line ups for dinner on weekends
- Home made sauces/rubs/desserts
- Home made sides/made daily
- Focus on ribs
- Some Greek & schnitzel options
- Better for group dining
- Family friendly
- Kid friendly
- Sports bar area
- Selection of beers
- Lunch and dinner
- Open 7 days 11am
If you’re on Twitter, it’s obvious that I frequently tweet with the owners of Hog Shack Cook House. It all started when they tried recruiting me for their Flat Liner Burger Challenge (a massive double patty burger sandwiched between grilled cheese sandwiches). Don’t deny it guys, I know you’re reading this! I have never met them before until this visit but they’re enthusiasm for social media definitely caught my attention. They’re also just nice people, and funny too.
On this occasion I came with Tourism Richmond and our original plan was to pay a visit to Tapenade Bistro also in Steveston Village. However with some early hunger pains, and a kind invitation from the guys at Hog Shack Cook House, we decided to have what we thought would be a small snack… which sure enough ended up to be a massive lunch. Having stated all my biases, I feel much better and I will still be honest with my thoughts on the food.
Photo from the Hog Shack Cook House website.
BBQ in Richmond? Unless you’re referring to Chinese BBQ or Robata, Richmond is not the city that comes to mind when I think of BBQ. Hog Shack Cook House is pretty much the only American style BBQ House in Richmond, and the chef and owners behind it are Asian! WHAT?! And I say that like Lil’ John too! Yup! This is an American/Southern style BBQ house in the hands of the unexpected. I hope that’s not inappropriate, but too late now…
Anyways I wouldn’t say it only “wins” on the grounds of having no competition, because the line ups of locals on the weekends and the food I tried was actually pretty good. The flavour of their home made sauces, rubs, and freshness of ingredients was convincing enough to show that these guys started Hog Shack Cook House with more than just a business in mind. However I didn’t make a big enough dent in the menu to actually see what they could do, but I am curious enough to go back for round two… oh look that rhymes!
Barbeque is a culture and type of cuisine. It varies throughout regions of North America from the type of meats, rubs, sauces, spices, smoking and grilling techniques. I’ve had my fair share of BBQ research in some of the best places in Texas including Rudy’s, The Salt Lick Bar-B-Que, Smitty’s Market, and Smoky Mo’s BBQ. I can’t really compare Hog Shack Cook House to those though because the style is very different. However I could tell their offerings were inspired by Texan BBQ culture, especially with their focus on ribs and beef brisket. Texas is all about beef brisket. I should add that they also offer pulled pork, a Northern Carolina specialty, which happens to be one of my favourites… so I’ll have to go back to check that out.
The menu items speak of Texas, but the execution doesn’t really. The execution was a fusion of Southeastern State and Western State BBQ. They used a combination of dry rub as well as sauce in the preparation of meats, usually in the South all BBQ sauce is served on the side. I didn’t mind though because I like saucy BBQ… I could write an essay on BBQ culture, but I think I’ll just stop here before I lose you.
I wish the menu was a bit more focused because it does have a few random Greek selections, schnitzels, and steaks that seem out of place, but who knows, they could be better than the BBQ… ? I got the feeling the owners from the last restaurant still had some influence on the menu and it looked like a “keep the favourites” kind of thing. And just for the record… I was SO RIGHT! With all due respect, I do think they should just commit and go completely out with the old and in with the new though.
From what I tried, the items that impressed me most was the Burnt Ends, which is a special menu item they have limited quantities of. These Burnt Ends are some of the most delicious pieces of BBQ meat ever. I would recommend dining in a group though because I’m not a fan of their menu set up. Unless you’re sticking to their burgers and sandwiches, the BBQ plates are are pretty big for one person so it’s not really appropriate for individual dining. So hopefully you have some friends… and if you don’t, I’m sorry… but introduce anyone to these secret “Burnt Ends” and anyone will be your #1 fan… unless they’re vegetarian.
On the table:
- 2 lbs smoked beef ribs $21 (Includes 2 sides)
- Was it worth it?! YES! Could it feed 2 people? EASILY. But I still had room for dessert of course.
- There’s a pretty good selection of sides that come with the meal. I can’t wait for the summer when they start bringing in CORN ON THE COB *hint hint*… I really hope that they do that.
- These ribs were monstrous and full of meat. I was very surprised because usually beef ribs don’t have as much meat on them.
- When I think beef ribs, I automatically think back to the best beef ribs I’ve had, which are from Salt Lick Bar-B-Que (see here), but these ones from Hog Shack were totally different in style. They’re not authentic Southern BBQ beef ribs of course, but they were still excellent with West Coast style.
- Okay now if I don’t draw comparisons, these ones were still incredibly delicious and meaty. You could definitely tell it was slow cooked and was covered in a dry rub before being grilled.
- The dry rub was definitely smoky with some cumin and what I think was celery salt and maybe some paprika and a bit of chili flakes. It wasn’t spicy as much as it was smoky, with a mild heat.
- The only thing is, is that the meat isn’t necessarily juicy. It’s not dry, but it’s not juicy.
- The exterior was nicely coated and browned with a nice layer of dry rub and then it was probably basted at least twice on both sides with a thick glaze of rich barbeque sauce. It created that outer layer of baked on saucy bark which is delicious. It didn’t have that intense open fire charcoal caramelized crust though.
- The ribs pulled away easily from the bone, but the connective tissue between the meat and bone was still rather chewy and not tender, which bothered me. It would be great if that had melted away and broken down.
- The flavour is intense, but it was coming a lot from the sauce too.
- The BBQ sauce is my kind of sauce. It’s incredibly tangy and sharp with a heavy vinegar base rather than ketchup or tomato base, a very North Carolina sauce. I think there’s some whole grain mustard used, but mustard wasn’t the first flavour that I was hit with.
- I love tangy BBQ sauce with a kick and some sweetness, and it wasn’t as sweet as it was tangy, but it did have an obvious Worcestershire kick to follow.
- I would have liked it thicker (the bottle of BBQ sauce served on the table is thin, but the stuff on the meat isn’t) and I wouldn’t have minded it a bit more sweet and a little less tang, but it’s definitely a BBQ sauce for grown ups!
- I don’t think it’s honey based and I’m pretty sure the vinegar was apple cider vinegar with some brown sugar which brought out that sweetness.
- This was lick my fingers sauce and I think I could have been more impressed with the spice rub and barbeque sauce more so than the cooking technique for the ribs.
- The meat didn’t go unnoticed and it was still good, tender, and falling off the bone, but it lacked the moisture of pure beef juice.
- $5 if ordered separately and you get 3-4 pieces (which I think is a bit weird that it’s not just a standard amount)
- If you order fries, yam fries or rice as your other side, then you only get one corn bread. Any other sides you will receive 2.
- The cornbread here are like mini loaves. They’re actually quite large and I prefer the corn bread muffins just because I love the muffin tops and they don’t have to cook as long and have lighter texture.
- I’m super picky on my corn bread because I’ve eaten a lot of them. My favourite are still the ones from Boonie’s Southern Soul Restaurant, which used to be located in Metro Vancouver’s “Texas” also known as Langley, and before that its location was in Cloverdale.
- The one here had a crispy exterior and it wasn’t dry, but it wasn’t exactly as moist either. I’m used to them being much more buttery and almost fluffy and light.
- They’re made in house and they’re baked fresh daily, and most people would probably like them unless they’ve had better.
- I really think they should make them into muffins and pan fry the muffin tops in a skillet of butter and honey until extra crispy. I suggested it to Boonies before and I’m doing it again here! They do that in the South and nobody has done it in Metro Vancouver yet. Hmm will I get royalties if they go forth with the idea… ? Either way you heard it here first!
- $5 if ordered separately and it will be bigger portion.
- It was good crunchy cole slaw and it’s made fresh daily, but it was also kind of boring.
- The cole slaws in Texas can get pretty creative so I just wanted more.
- It wasn’t gloppy with mayo and it was lightly dressed with a dressing that almost tasted like Ranch salad dressing. It wasn’t as tangy as a standard cole slaw vinaigrette, but almost mildly cheesy in flavour.
- I needed some whole grain mustard or something more sophisticated, especially since their BBQ ribs were already at that level.
- $15.95 + 2 sides
- Holy crap. These were amazing. The only thing is that it’s a special menu item that they have limited quantities of. You pretty much have to either call them or follow them on Twitter for when they have them available. But trust me, they’re worth the extra effort.
- You pop them whole like popcorn and then hold them in your mouth because you don’t want the moment to end! Texas has nothing on us after they try these! DROOL! Oh my god… little bites of heaven!
- Let me explain how good these little cubes of indulgent meat bites were…
I could have used a fork… but why?!?! Do you use your fork for chicken nuggets? Anyways how freaking delicious does that look?! Just look at the thin threads holding together the tender shreds of falling apart meat. It tastes as good as it looks!
- They were melt in your mouth, super tender cubes of rib ends, which seemed like beef brisket (well technically they are the tips or “ends” of beef brisket) and they had a sweet and charred smoky crust drenched in a beautiful glaze of tangy rich BBQ sauce.
- They were intensely glazed and smothered with sauce and even smokier in flavour than the BBQ Dinosaur Ribs.
- I think they could have added some liquid smoke which just infused into the meat, as it was very obviously smoky. Since the surface area was smaller and the meat was softer and more tender it easily absorbed the smokiness and flavours of the rub and sauce.
- It was smoky, tangy, slightly sweet, and still had quite the kick from Worcestershire and tangy sharpness from their home made BBQ sauce.
- The only only thing is that not all the pieces were exactly juicy. The ribs with a bit more fat were actually fairly juicy and melt in your mouth tender without the gelatinous quality, but some other pieces were relying on the sauce a bit. Regardless, this plate of rib ends is something you don’t want to share.
Pulled Pork Pancakes: Bacon and corn pancakes, with maple bacon butter and maple Jack syrup $13
What a surprise this was! I was so embarrassed… actually who am I kidding? I wasn’t that embarrassed that the guys knew how much I liked dessert, but I was embarrassed with the generous platter they brought out for us to try! (Probably due to the fact that they know just how much I really like dessert). No store bought stuff here, it’s all home made desserts! I’m not too sure about the Pecan Pie though. The portions of dessert were really generous with great prices too.
At first glace I saw “Ek Mek” offered as a dessert and my first thought was “what the heck is Ek Mek doing on here?”… and then I said that it was probably something from the old owners and that I bet it was the recipe of the lady serving us… and guess what?! I was SO right! Yes! A Follow Me Foodie pat on the back! I nailed that one! I even pointed at the server and said “her recipe” without even knowing she was the previous owner. I’m sorry, but that is damn good! *Victory dance*
- Please ask your server for our freshest creation $7
- This was amazing. It was like a peach cobbler meets bread pudding.
- It’s definitely not a traditional cobbler, but it was still delicious.
- The bread pudding part was super moist and made out of corn meal so it was pretty much moist pieces of what seemed like half baked corn bread interwoven with peaches. It was sweet and honey like in flavour but not overly sweet.
- I think there was some apple sauce in it too and it was just one of those comfort desserts that you can’t really go wrong with.
- It’s served warm, and literally on top of that corn bread pudding batter of amazingness was a scoop of vanilla ice cream which of course I am a sucker for.
- The only thing to make this better would be to actually add some type of buttery pastry layer so it was more like a cobbler, and also to use seasonal fruit instead of canned peaches. For $7, it can be done.
- A crust bottom layered with custard and amaretto topped with toasted almonds $6
- This is one of the favourites from the previous restaurant, so they decided to keep it on the menu.
- Ek Mek is a traditional Greek dessert and this recipe was a casual home made version, but it’s not the best I’ve had. The best I’ve had to date is from Pasparos in North Vancouver. However for a BBQ house, this one was still very enjoyable and one of the better Ek Mek’s I’ve had.
- It’s pretty much a Greek style trifle or custard/pudding and the base is usually made with Kataifi, which is the real authentic version.
- Instead of traditional Kataifi, the bottom layer was made with sugar and cinnamon syrup soaked bread and some nut pieces, which is often the quick alternative.
- The next layer is a custard which was more like a jelly rice pudding or firm curd in this case. I actually think the custard had curdled so it made it seem like rice pudding. It wasn’t really creamy but more solidified.
- The top layer is whipping cream, but this one was very light, frothy and almost airy and I actually really enjoyed it.
- Lastly it’s covered with a generous amount of toasted almonds and walnuts with cinnamon and sugar.
- It was sweet, but not overly sweet and very honey like and incredibly nutty in flavour with a creamy texture and crunchiness from the nuts. It was the right amount of cinnamon and still nice and light, yet satisfying for a dessert.
- It was incredibly moist and quite well balanced, but I did wish for a creamier non curdled custard and perhaps a little more representation from the bottom “Kataifi” layer.
- Fresh lemon infused cream cheese with a graham cracker crust $7
- With a name like that I was expecting a half pie and half ice cream dessert, but instead it was more like a basic heavy New York style unbaked lemon cheesecake.
- I’m not a fan of heavy New York style cheesecakes or cheesecakes in general, so I’m biased. The ones I like are light and moussey and closer in style to a Tiramisu.
- Even for a cheese cake the execution could have been improved.
- The crust varied in thickness and it was a bit soft and overly moist so it wasn’t holding up as a crust at all. I’m quite sure it was unbaked.
- I could definitely taste the lemon zest and tangy cream cheese, and it wasn’t too sweet, but overall it was much too thick, creamy and rich for me. I kind of felt like I was eating a block of pure whipped up cream cheese so I didn’t dig it. It was more stick to your throat than melt in your mouth in consistency and texture.
- It was topped with whipped cream and I don’t know if whipping the cream into the cake would have been better instead.
- If I didn’t end on this note, which I didn’t, (I ended on the cobbler) then I was a happy girl.