Smok’n Pig a win for hungry families

Telegraph correspondentJune 29, 2012 

Smok’n Pig BBQ seems to be living up to its promise of driving business to Macon Mall.

The food is good enough that it should keep people coming back.

This new addition to the mall fills the upper level corner near the former Sears store. The restaurant is large, open and offers ample seating.

We made our first trip to Smok’n Pig for an early weekend dinner and were pleasantly surprised to see the place fairly crowded. Despite this, we were seated right away and the service was prompt.

The restaurant offers steaks, chicken and some seafood, but we planned to dive right in for the main attraction -- the pork. We ordered a few combos that let us try the brisket, ribs and pulled pork.

All of the meat was excellent, with a nice, standalone flavor. But, we would have been remiss not to try it with some of the six flavored sauces that are on each table.

Smok’n Pig offers Original, Hot, Sweet, Southern Mustard, Carolina and Sweet-n-Spicy. My favorite was the Carolina, but I’m a Carolina girl and have always been partial to the vinegar-based sauces. A close second was the Sweet-n-Spicy.

There are 19 “trimmings” to choose from, and most meals come with a choice of two. Between our family, we ended up trying the macaroni and cheese, collards, corn on the cob, fried okra, sweet potato souffle and fries.

On our first visit, we were a little disappointed in the sides. Everything seemed a little over-salted and lacking in flavor. But, things were spot on in a second visit and everything we tried had a good taste.

The helpings of both the meat and sides are generous and you can plan to take home leftovers.

Most of the entrees come with the salad bar and dessert, and kids items all come with a trip to the soft-serve ice cream machine.

I thought this was an excellent place to go with kids. The kids’ menu is fairly sizeable, the food comes out quick and the place is loud enough that excited little ones don’t draw extra attention.

It also seems like a great place to go with a big group.

The service on both visits was excellent. The wait staff is attentive without being suffocating and the clean-up crew uses what appears to be a computerized system to hop onto tables as soon as patrons depart.

The restaurant offers a separate door for takeout. Patrons also can purchase T-shirts and sauces.

The only thing missing from the experience was more places to window shop once we’d eaten and wanted to take a stroll around the mall. If you’ve not been out there recently, you’ll be surprised at all of the improvements and wonder when other retailers will follow Smok’n Pig’s suit and figure out Macon Mall might be a good gamble.

Smok’n Pig BBQ

Address: Macon Mall, Eisenhower Parkway, Macon

Phone: 476-8227

Hours: 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sundays-Thursdays, 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays

Payment: Cash, credit, debit

Smoking: No

Alcohol: Yes

Kids Menu: Yes

Noise Level: Medium

Health Rating: 91

Price range: $4.99-$20, kids’ meals start at $2.99

Rating: Three and a half stars

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