Hog Shack Cook House – **Updated

Restaurant: Hog Shack Cook House - **Updated
Cuisine: BBQ/Western/Southern/American
Last visited: March 30, 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: 3.5-4
Service: n/a
Ambiance: 3.5
Overall: n/a
Additional comments:

  • Hog Shack Cook House – Visit 1
  • 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
  • Affordable/Casual
  • Better for group dining
  • Family friendly
  • Kid friendly
  • Sports bar area
  • Selection of beers
  • Lunch and dinner
  • Open 7 days 11am

**Recommendations: Dinosaur Bones, Burnt Ends, Baked Beans, Pulled Pork Pancakes, Cobbler of the Day

It wasn’t too long ago that I visited Hog Shack Cook House for the first time – see here. The dent I made in the menu was quite limited, but I was keen on trying other things at my next visit. Little did I know that the revisit would be sooner than I thought.

Tourism Richmond invited me to tour Richmond’s hidden gems and Hog Shack Cook House was on the list. For me, I wouldn’t call it a “hidden gem” since I frequent the area of Steveston Village, however to anyone unfamiliar to the area it could be considered one. I was quite pleased to hear it was on the list and I was looking forward to the Burnt Ends, which I just knew would be on the table.

Photo from the Hog Shack Cook House website.

John and Allan are the owners of Hog Shack and we do communicate fairly often in the realms of social media. I admit it’s a bit nerve racking going into a place where I have friendly associations with the owners because it means there will be biases. However I like to think there’s a mutual respect in situations like these, and I know there is. I mean I already wrote on Hog Shack Cook House before and not all my comments were positive. That being said, Chef John and Allan actually took the time to read the entire post and respond back to the comments readers have left on my blog as well – see John’s here and Allan’s here. They’re great people doing what they love and this is the type of passion I love. A “Passion for Perfection” which was also my latest webisode and recent blog post – see here.

Ah yes…  there they are (centre)… the lovely Burnt Ends just waiting to be devoured by me! My fingers are crawling towards the screen already… I’m leaving finger prints everywhere!

I blogged about the culture of barbeque in my last post and I said that: “The [Hog Shack] menu items speak of Texas, but the execution doesn’t really.” I actually stand corrected as Hog Shack Cook House is supposed to represent Kansas City barbeque. Having not experienced Kansas City barbecue yet, I am currently searching for tickets… that is after I plan a trip to Southern Carolina on a search for the best pulled pork! I’m totally exaggerating, but that would be one of my Follow Me Foodie dreams come true.

I guess I did go to Texas partly in search of the best beef brisket… maybe the idea isn’t so far fetched? Hmmm… I’m thinking I’m thinking… and my hmmm has suddenly turned into a mmmmm. Okay enough of this… it’s time to check out what’s on the table!

On the table:

Artisan Beers/Craft Beers

  • This is one of the major highlights at Hog Shack. I definitely foresee it being a trend to hit Vancouver very quickly.
  • I’m not a beer drinker, but even I liked these! Now, by that I mean the occasional sip didn’t make my face go >< and I actually appreciated it.

Hog Shack Baby Back Ribs – 4/6

  • Slow smoked in our in house smoker, includes 2 sides of your choice.
  • Pork baby baby ribs bursting with smokey heaven 1/2 rack: $17 / Full: $24
  • They were super smokey tangy and sweet baby back ribs.
  • The smoke was infused all the way through and I wonder if they use a bit of liquid smoke.
  • The BBQ sauce here is amazing and these ribs were nicely basted, except the meat was a bit dry and the connective tissue wasn’t quite broken down.
  • I did like the flavour of them more so than the texture of them because I missed the juiciness.
  • The ribs are slow cooked and smoked and the meat came off the bone quite easily despite the fact that they weren’t pre-boiled.

Smoked Spam (Menu Special) – 2/6

  • Appetizer $6. Add on to a BBQ item is $3. (Uncertain of portion)
  • I almost burst out laughing when I saw these. It took me a minute to actually find out what they were!
  • I don’t even know how the whole “Spam” conversation took place over Twitter, but basically it was an inside joke about how Asians love Spam… and then that turned into Chef John actually experimenting with it and eventually offering it on the “specials” menu.
  • Honestly it’s been a while since I’ve had Spam… aka “mystery meat”.
  • It’s smoked Spam with a slightly crispy exterior and slight smokiness. The crispy part was the best so I would have preferred it sliced thin with more surface area so it could crisp up even more.
  • I find Spam to be so naturally salty that the smoke flavour didn’t really infuse as strongly as I thought it would.
  • I think Spam has its place, fried, with a fried egg and Maggi sauce over rice, but I probably wouldn’t order it, although it’s a fun novelty and suitable for the crowd.

**Burnt Ends (Menu Special)6/6

  • $15.95 + 2 sides
  • 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.
  • It was smoky, tangy, slightly sweet, and still had quite the kick from Worcestershire and tangy sharpness from their home made BBQ sauce.
  • They’re quite fatty but slow cooked until the pieces just melt in your mouth. Some were drier than others though.
  • For more on the Burnt Ends see here. Best thing on the menu!

**Hog Shack Dinosaur Bones - 4.5/6

  • 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.

**Dinosaur Bones (Beef Ribs) – 4.5/6

  • 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.

Corn Bread - 3.5/6

  • $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!

Cole Slaw - 3/6

  • $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.

**Baked Beans – 4.5/6

  • $5 if ordered separately and it will be bigger portion.
  • The baked beans were delicious and it’s my favourite side out of the 4 I tried including the fries.
  • It was good with everything and I was dipping my corn bread and burger into it.
  • It was almost like a chili meets sloppy joe and it was made from scratch with dried beans, onions and I think ground pork.
  • It was savoury, sweet, quite meaty with a tangy tomato BBQ sauce flavour and a nice Worcestershire kick.
  • The best baked beans I’ve had were from Colorado at Nordy’s BBQ & Grill, and I feel like they will be the best I ever have – see them here.

**Pulled Pork Pancakes (Menu Special)4.5/6 (6/6 for concept, 3/6 for pulled pork)

  • Bacon and corn pancakes, with maple bacon butter and maple Jack syrup $13
  • I first heard about this concept from Sherman when he tried it at The Red Wagon in Vancouver, and it’s an idea I know we’ll soon see everywhere!
  • I love pulled pork and I love sweet and savoury, so I just knew I’d love this. Call ahead to make sure they have it available.
  • The concept is definitely a 6/6, but the one here was a 4.5/6 because it was very good, but could be better.
  • The pulled pork was pretty dry and so were the pancakes so I had to rely on the BBQ sauce, bacon butter and maple Jack syrup to moisten the dish up.

  • The bacon and corn pancakes weren’t fluffy and a bit overcooked.
  • I couldn’t taste the smoky bacon and I would have preferred canned corn over frozen because I think it’s a better texture and flavour.
  • Cornmeal would have been a great addition to the batter as well and maybe some jalapeno as an option.
  • The chunks of pulled pork were quite sweet compared to the rest of the barbeque they serve. The BBQ sauce underneath gave it the savoury tang and kick that it needed.
  • I did love the savoury and sweet contrast with the well balanced Maple Jack syrup poured on top, but I just wanted the pulled pork to be juicy and savoury and the pancakes to be moist and tender.
  • The bottom pancake should have been almost soaked with pulled pork juice and flavour, but it was actually pretty dry… I was really pulling for this pulled pork too! Ha, pun intended.

Flatline Burger - 2/6

  • Our signature “HEART STOPPER”, double burger patty between 2 grilled cheese sandwiches. It’s to die for! $18
  • All sandwiches come with your choice of fries and green salad – add $1 for Caesar
  • Finish the whole thing in 5 minutes or less and it’s free.
  • Okay, I’m sorry, but this is a total novelty to me. You know it, I know it, and I’m not the target market, so that’s fine.
  • I’ve had my fair share of burgers the size of my head – watch the Follow Me Foodie websiode on The Olympic Burger at The YEW, and I can’t say I’m looking forward to many of these challenges, but then again my future doesn’t look promising…
  • I wasn’t a fan of the fries here either, they were hand cut in house, but starchy and a bit dry and dark in colour due to the oil.

  • So it was pretty much meat and bread and the meat was the dominant taste. It was nice and chunky, but dry.
  • There was some cheese stuffed in the middle of the burger, but it didn’t help with making it more moist.
  • I couldn’t taste the cheese in the grilled cheese sandwich, or just much cheese in general surprisingly, but I was pleased that it was real.
  • The Texas style toast and it was just too thick with too little cheese if I were just to look at it as a grilled cheese sandwich. The bread could have been more buttery and crispy too.
  • I wasn’t a fan of the balance of ingredients and I really needed some BBQ sauce or some type of burger sauce to eat it… that’s why I started dipping it into the delicious baked beans!
  • Fresh ingredients? Yes, but just not a fan of the execution or concept… maybe if they were made into mini sliders… I’m such a girl… but I can eat like a boy!

The following is from my Hog Shack post from February 18, 2011. See that post here.

Desserts

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* :D

**Cobbler of the Day – 5/6

  • 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.

Ek Mek – 4/6

  • 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.

Lemon Ice Box Pie - 2/6

  • 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.

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25 Comments

  • Bow says:

    Definitely not a fan of anything made w. Spam. Once I discovered really good cured meats I never looked back. I guess the Pulled Pork Pancakes are a sandwich sans bread ? The burnt ends look great, as does the Ek Mek.

  • KimHo says:

    Only BBQ in Richmond

    You mean the only NON-CHINESE BBQ in Richmond… I mean, you have HK BBQ Master and all other Chinese places… :)

    I think SPAM (as in the canned meat, not the email) is one of those strange things that most people love to hate; however, actually, has its uses. In fact, people might eat it without realizing it if you don’t tell them it is SPAM (for example, when blindfolded). I usually have a can in the pantry for emergency, similar to what you mentioned, SPAM lightly pan fried with rice and egg, probably catsup and a side of stir fried leafy vegetables is a dinner I don’t mind having once in a long while. (The problem is usually what to do with the remaining part…).

    As for people cooking with SPAM, again, not the first time. For example, in Hawaii, SPAM musubi!

    About the pancake, I thought it was an interesting idea as well at first. But, then, I started to notice… Something sweet, soft and fluffly on something sweet and possibly soft? Probably had it been pancake on Chinese roasted pork (i.e., something sweet with something savoury)? :)

  • Mijune says:

    @Bow – i think you’d love the Burnt Ends! If you’re in North Van have you tried the Pasparos Ekmek? Yeah Spam has a specific target market and does it’s thing lol

    @KimHo – I said “pretty much the only American style BBQ house in Richmond”… please comment on the right post as that comment was from the last post too… :)

    yup Spam is all over Hawaii.

    The pulled pork is the savoury part as well as being sweet.. it just needs to be more savoury than sweet though.. so i still like it!

  • KimHo says:

    I am commenting in the right post but you keep listing it that way in your “Additional comments”! ;) Yes, being nitpicky here! :P

  • Linda says:

    mmm pulled pork! i love the concept of these pancakes being that it’s sweet and savory but i’ve had them once before and wasn’t too impressed – i had them at deacon’s corner.. i know sherman had them at the red wagon and he said they were pretty good there :) i’m not sure what it is but i think the savoryness of the meat really overshadows the fluffiness and the flavour of the pancakes – if ordered again, i think i’d have to get the meat on the side so my syrup doesn’t run into the pork :)

    oo i’ve been hearing about this infamous flatline burger for a long time – i think right away, the look of it isn’t appealing to me because it’s made with sandwich bread – might be a better concept if it was made with soft hamburger buns or pretzel buns – seeing the bread makes me think that the roof of my mouth is going to get scratched!

    mmmm the cobbler looks so goooooood!

  • 4SlicesofCheese says:

    You ate all my burnt ends!
    I must go again before I leave Vancouver.

  • Bow says:

    When’s Vancouver going to get a waffle-fried chicken joint ? That’s another American mix, pancakes and pulled pork is sweet and savory…waffles slathered in maple syrup with salty fried chicken is also.

  • 4SlicesofCheese says:

    Bow you read my mind!
    They do have one at Hidden at the Westin Grand on Robson.
    Its not bad but I am sure nothing compared to the real thing.

    I am suprised more places don’t have it in Vancouver.

  • Bow says:

    Thanx, 4 slices for that.

  • Mijune says:

    @Linda – I’m hearing mixed about the Red Wagon ones but I can’t wait to try for comparisons sake.. and I just really love pulled pork. I just think it needs to be obviously savoury in the context of pancakes :) The pancakes just weren’t fluffy pancakes, but I think if they had been, it would have been good! I didn’t know Deacon’s corner had them… I better try! Thank you!!!

    @4SlicesofCheese – lol!! omg i’m so sorry!! we had like 4 plates of these things!! That was probably the weeks supply!! Oh you have to remember to keep me posted on Taiwan!

    @Bow – ohhh good call!!! I should tweet that to Chef John! You’ve seen my post on Chicken and Waffles at Hash House A Go Go in San Diego right? YUM!

    @3SlicesofCheese – Whoa! They do?! Ok let me dig up my post… check out these chicken waffles: http://www.followmefoodie.com/2010/10/hash-house-a-go-go/

  • Ed says:

    Now I know why there aren’t any burnt ends left most of the time.

  • Mijune says:

    @Ed – oops! :D

  • Carly says:

    Wowzers! The cornbread looks super appealing to me right about now! We definitely have to check this place out! If you could only order one thing, what would be at the top of your list Mijune?

  • John says:

    @Carly – that’s easy for Mijune! That be BURNT ENDS!! lol

    @Ed – agreed lol!

    @bow – working on suitable recipe for chicken and waffles. My kitchen is very small. Need to figure out the logistics of executing this dish. Stay tuned.

    @4slicesofcheese – keep ur twitter locked on to us to see when the burnt end are available again and other specials.

    @Mijune – thanks again! Glad you like the baked beans. I have more up My sleeves. More new sides coming. It’s all bout logistics when a small kitchen in involved.

    Remember follow us on twitter and facebook
    Either @hogshackca or. @johnlimhing to hear bout our specials, deals and upcoming events

    See you guys soon @ the shack! :)

  • john says:

    @bow and @kimho – give the smoked spam a chance! ;) ya i agree its either you like it or you don’t. like alot of foods out there. Durian, sea urchin, Balut, natto beans just to name a few.

    @linda- hope to see u soon!

  • Linda says:

    yup! :) they’re called carolina pancakes at deacon’s! :) tell me if you like them if you get a chance to try them!

  • Mijune says:

    @Carly – Burnt Ends :) (I also have a little recommendations part at the top… but it’d be burnt ends)

    @John – lol u read my mind… saw ur comment after writing carly’s reply! thanks so much for taking the time once again to reply to the readers! Love it! oh and I apologize to anyone for getting to the burnt ends sooner than you will… lol j/k… i hope you guys all get to try them at some point! and yes, the smoked spam is just my own thing but i can see a lot of ppl liking it…

    @Linda – will do.. you’ll see a post! :)

  • LotusRapper says:

    ” Having not experienced Kansas City barbecue yet, I am currently searching for tickets… that is after I plan a trip to Southern Carolina on a search for the best pulled pork!”

    Hi Mijune – for your trip I humbly volunteer to be your baggage caddy. Butler. Car door opener. Anything …..

  • Mijune says:

    @LotusRapper – bwhahahahah!! You’re funny and that’s good enough for me! Get your bags ready :D

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