I realized the other day that Chainfree has not visited a barbeque ( BBQ or barbecue) joint and that made me very sad and slightly embarrassed. As a hardcore BBQ fan I don’t know how this could have happened. Perhaps it is because a lot of Wichita barbecue is not very exciting in my opinion. Now if you are thinking, “well what about Famous Daves”, just stop reading right now. If you think some chain place from Wisconsin is real BBQ I feel sorry for you. Anyway, it is fitting that my favorite Wichita BBQ place is the first one we will opine about. That place is Pig In! Pig Out! located on 13th just west of I-135. I met my friend there the other day smack dab in the middle of the lunch rush. The nice thing about BBQ joints though, is that typically there is very little waiting because the meat and sides have already been prepared, it is just a matter of throwing that rack of ‘spares down on your plate.
As you walk into Pig In you are eyes are immediately drawn to the walls full of ribbons and awards that their team has won over the years. Unlike many of BBQ places you go into the awards weren’t won in the 80s before they opened a restaurant and decided to rest on their laurels. As far as I know Pig In is the only BBQ restaurant in town who has a team that routinely competes in KCBS (Kansas City Barbeque Society) competitions. I would be surprised if they serve their competition recipes in the restaurant though, but at least they are out their keeping their skills sharp. On this particular visit I went with the brisket and rib dinner, which consisted of a generous serving of brisket, 3 or 4 spare ribs, two sides, and bread. Pig In serves BBQ the way it should be, with no sauce. Bottles of their sweet sauce are provided on the tables. Their thick cut brisket, the best in Wichita in my opinion, was great as usual. I had never tried their ribs before, but I found them to be very good. The rub had a perfect combination of spices and salt and the meat was nice and tender, but still offered some resistance pulling off the bone. The term “fall of the bone” is a misnomer. You want the meat to have some resistance because if it is falling off the bone that typically means it is overdone and dry. My friend went with the hot links and smoked turkey. He enjoyed both of his choices and was impressed overall with the dining experience at Pig In.
There are several newer BBQ joints that I need to try in Wichita, but at this point I think Pig In Pig Out has the best in town. Although Wichita pales in comparison to KC BBQ joints, I believe there are some gems like Pig In lurking in Wichita and Chainfree is going to hunt them down one by one.