First and foremost, I need to thank the several readers (including another one today) who alerted us to Porky J's, hidden in a small shopping center on Bandera Road between Huebner and Sawyer. When someone says Porky J's is a hole in the wall, they ain't kiddin'! There is no store front at all; just a sign leading you to awesome goodness in the form of Memphis style vittles.
I had mentioned that we made an effort to try Porky J's on Sunday but surprisingly, found the place closed. I learned the story behind that little mystery this evening when I talked with one of the owners during our dinner. Turns out Porky J's does catering and had such an overwhelmingly unexpected crowd at an event, that they simply ran out of food. Don't take that as a sign of poor planning. They expected to serve a few hundred plates and ended up serving over a thousand. So, I think we can give them a pass, don't you?
We have learned from recent experiences at other small businesses that one of the real joys of the dining experience is a positive atmosphere and positive people. A friend of ours told us about attempting to give this place a try during a busy Friday evening but having to wait so long to have their order taken, they simply left. I can only guess that was a total freak accident. Porky J's is small - I'm guessing they can only seat about 30 people at max capacity - so who knows how they could have messed that one up. I can only suggest giving them another shot.
In addition to the smallish indoor seating area (by the way, no smaller than the indoor seating area at either Augie's Barbed Wire or The Rib House - two of our favorites), they have an interesting outdoor patio formed by the surrounding walls of the buildings to the side and behind the place. Inside, the theme is Memphis and the music reflects that.
First up, I had to try the onion rings. Most of you know that I am less a fan of the crispity-crunchy type rings and much prefer the beer battered version. But when onion rings have a unique seasoning to them, I take note. These are not dropped in the fryer out of a frozen bag from a local supplier; like everything else, they are home made and very good. Try them.
My wife had a hankering for a brisket sammy. What she got was a really messy (in a very good way) Memphis style treat with Cole-slaw mashed in with the brisket between the bread. We had talked about the fact that when we flew through Memphis last time, we saw that you could order your sandwich with or without Cole-slaw. Now we know the correct answer; you must have it with the slaw. The brisket does have a slight bite to it, so if you are a lightweight in the spicy department, keep your iced tea handy.
I had to try the pork ribs and was glad I did. Again, I had the spicy version of things, but you can order a milder version if you need. Don't get me wrong, for most San Antonian's you'll want to go with the spicy, I'm just letting you know of the option in case your brittle aunt visits or something. I also asked for some brisket just so I could try it without the benefit of sandwich and slaw, and I will tell you that it is wonderful. You can try it with the home made BBQ sauce, but it isn't needed.
To really make me fat, I also asked for small portions of potato salad and green beans. Both are top notch. The potato salad was smooth with no aftertaste which can sometimes be an issue. The green beans are the flat type, nicely seasoned and cooked enough to make me happy. Good stuff!
As we chatted with the owner, I asked him if he had tried Augie's. This lead to quite a discussion on the topic and I mentioned the wonderful pulled-pork sammy I had last time I went to Augie's. A few minutes later, out comes a serving of pulled-pork for me to give a little taste to. My wife and I both LOVED it, but I was not willing to go on record as saying his was better than Augie's. I'd need to do one of those blindfolded taste tests to be sure. I can just tell you this: Porky J's is a lot closer to my house than Augie's is.
This all brings me back to the issue of enjoying the atmosphere and friendly folks. I can tell you right now that if I walked into Porky J's and it was jammed packed, I'd get my order to go. I just don't like crowds in small places. But we must have hit at the right time because we beat the dinner crowd.
We had a great conversation about all the places we love to eat and to make it that much better, we enjoyed some really great food, and that makes our visit to Porky J's a Tasty Treat.
About Your Host
- San Antonio, TX, United States
- I love to observe the odd things happening around me as I go about my day. I especially like it when I can get a picture of people being themselves. Here, I attempt to report the various people and events I have encountered in my neighborhood, and my city. I'd also love to hear from you. Feel free to e-mail your experiences and photos of life in San Antonio.
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Blogs I Visit From Time to Time
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- Reader's Notes: E-mail, Comments, Questions, etc.....
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- One of My Favorite Posts...
- Important GNW Announcements...
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