Pitt of my Stomach
I’m a Carolina bar-b-que guy. …pig butts, unseasoned, pit cooked, finely chopped, and seasoned with a little vinegar and, maybe, a few spices. Memphis, Kansas City, and Texas all have something great going for ‘em. If you hit the right places, they make some excellent beef and pork, especially ribs, but it ain’t BBQ. For god sakes, half those places cook in indoor ovens. Folks, if it’s cooked in an oven, it ain’t BBQ.
But hell, everyone has their vices. And Lord knows I have mine. And while my favorite BBQ place is in the land of Dixie, does pitt [sic] cook their pork, and is a classic road-food stop, they do break an important law of NC BBQ …the tomato. Any respectable Carolina bar-b-que lover will tell you that tomatoes have no place in traditional BBQ sauce. But hey, we’re a progressive lot, and I think we all know that sometimes innovation simply trumps tradition. Continue after the jump to find out what the hell I’m rambling about.
The roadside BBQ joint that drew me in to such a diffuse intro is none other than Pierce’s Pitt Bar-B-Que in Williamsburg, VA. Located just off I-64, it’s actually visible from interstate if you know where to look. Opened October 15, 1971, Pierce’s was the vision of Julius C. “Doc” Pierce, a Tennessee native who moved his family to VA’s tidewater to open a bar-b-que restaurant based around the family’s “prized bar-b-que sauce recipe.” Prized indeed. This light tomato based sauce brings meaning to the word tangy. Just enough spice to keep a spice-hound like me interested, but just mild enough for the spice-timid and kids alike. It’s otherwise indescribable until you’ve tasted it yourself.
And the pork, my god, the pork. Pit cooked in the Pierce’s smokehouse, it’s as good today as it was the first time I had it in the 80’s. Fine and chunky chopped pork mingle together, with just the right collection of blackened tips to keep things interesting. The smoked flavor is damn apparent, and just damn perfect.
I-64 brings travelers East from Richmond and Charlottesville towards Hampton Roads and the beaches of VA and NC. So the next time you pack the fam in the minivan and head south for some coastal R&R, don’t forget to fill up at Pierce’s Pitt.
Pierce’s Pitt Bar-B-Que
447 East Rochambeau
Williamsburg, Virginia 23185
Phone: 757 565 2955
Eastbound I-64 – take the Lightfoot exit, follow signs to E. Rochambeau.
Westbound I-64 – take the Camp Peary Exit, left at ramp, right onto E. Rochambeau.