The Bearded Pig

This quaint new addition to the Jacksonville food scene is a welcome surprise. The bbq joint and beer garden stir up quite the crowd, even for a rain-soaked Wednesday night. The restaurant is tucked away on Kings Avenue, almost directly across from the massive Homewood Suites and next to FirstAtlantic Bank.

The exterior and interior are tastefully decorated in a rather simplistic kind of way. Metal chairs, painted a bright orange, bring a bit of character to the gray fence surrounding the outdoor sitting area. The bar area is well-suited for the relaxed beer-garden vibe the restaurant is trying to bring.

We sampled the San Marco platter, which comes with beef ribs and smoked chicken, with the addition of two sides and two extra meats of your choice. We choose potato salad and slaw as our sides, and brisket and pulled pork for our meats. The food came out pretty quickly. There were four sauces on the table, one sweet, one mustard-based, one spicy, and one “original”, but I chose not use it. I tasted the mustard sauce and the “original” separately and they were just okay, nothing special. The beef, dry-rubbed ribs were massive and extremely fatty. They were average, but the rub was an interesting surprise. They had an unusual spice added into the mix, my guess is allspice. The chicken was very moist, but could have used more flavor. The skin had a minimal rub and really could have benefitted from a rub similar toFullSizeRender (3) that on the ribs. The brisket was delicious! We chose the lean brisket and it was the right move. It was full of flavor and probably the best item on the platter. If I ever go back I will most likely only order the brisket. The pulled pork was also quite tasty. It had great bark and texture. It was the second best item and worth every bite.

 

The potato salad was okay, it was new potatoes mixed with green beans in some sort of vinaigrette. The slaw was not your usual slaw. It was vibrant with thick cut slices of lettuce and a variety of other vegetables, including carrot. It was interesting, a very unique experience. I am really hoping to try their mac and cheese and fried okra on my next visit. There was a long list of sides I would love to sample to get a better feel for the place.

Overall, the meats could have used more time in the smoker. I feel just a few hours longer and it would have been some of the best bbq in Jacksonville. The food was average, the service was terrific, and the atmosphere was spectacular. I would recommend stopping by and experiencing the restaurant for yourself. There is a lot more of the menu to try and while it isn’t the best bbq I have ever tasted, it was an enjoyable experience.

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