Be sure to check the pictures out at the bottom of the review.
Florence, Alabama – For this week’s installment of the Shoals Barbecue Trail we headed out on our final excursion to Russellville. We intentionally made The Speedy Pig our last stop in Russellville because of our history with the owners through the years.
Back in the 1990’s while both of worked for a large organization, we would have the Speedy Pig to cater events for us. The barbecue in those days was some of the best in the area and then there was the legendary Tyrannosaurus Rex hot sauce that always accompanied the cater meal. All of us hot sauce aficionados would have to douse our meat well with the sauce and then after eating argue who got the left over bottles.
I remember talking with the owner’s son and him telling me that his father had developed the recipe for the sauce and it had been sold and distributed under the Sweetwater Creek name. I also remember talking with the owner and him telling me the recipe for the T Rex sauce went to the grave with his father. I really hated to hear that in that the last bottle I had was nearly empty and there would be no more.
We visited the Speedy Pig on a Friday during the noon hour and both ordered our usual pulled pork barbecue plate or as the Speedy Pig calls it a barbecue basket. It came with a healthy portion of pulled pork, choice of one side and toast or a roll. I chose the mustard slaw to go with my meal and my dining partner chose the vinegar slaw. We got a small drink to go with the meal and you help yourself to a fountain drink (Coke products) or iced tea. Normally, I would have went with the tea but there was no lemon or lemon packets available so I went with Lemonade and my dining partner with the tea.
The young lady that took our orders at the counter was very polite and even delivered our food to the table when it was ready, so service was great in our book.
While we were eating, there was a steady stream of folks coming into to dine in and there was several drive through orders that we could see. It wasn’t a sellout crowd but was decent for a rainy Friday afternoon.
The following is the opinion of my dining partner and fellow barbecue judge:
“Overall eating at the Speedy Pig was slightly below average. I live about 20 miles away and it is not worth the drive.
I had the Pork barbecue basket. It came with one side item (I chose the Vinegar Slaw), choice of a roll or Texas Toast (I chose the Texas Toast) and a small container of BBQ sauce. The BBQ Pork was slightly chopped and had a small amount of sauce on top. There was an ample amount (I estimate about 6 ounces). It had a fairly good smoky taste but was dry and had probably been cooked a day or two earlier and allowed to dry out. I rate it about average. The sauce was standard commercial grade with no enhancement. Could have used a good dose of cayenne at least. Below average on the sauce.
The vinegar slaw was just that – shredded cabbage with some white vinegar and salt. I rate this a low fair and recommend that it be avoided.
Texas Toast – Average
Iced Tea – Average. I like my tea with lemon. It was self-serve from the dispenser and no lemon slices or juice packets were available.
The highlight of my meal was a side order of fried dill pickles. They were very good and didn’t have the usual salty taste. The pickle spears had been cut into small diameter spears (about a third of the out of the jar size), battered and fried and didn’t look or taste frozen. They were served with Ranch Dressing on the side. I definitely recommend these. I give them a solid 8.
The décor was rough sawn cedar walls with wooden tables, chairs and booths. It is fast food style self-serve and the cashier who took our order was friendly and polite and as previously stated delivered our order to the table.
I’ve eaten at the Speedy Pig occasionally for over twenty years. It isn’t what it used to be when it was operated by its founder. No more of that good Tyrannosaurus Rex Sauce that it was famous for in the 1990’s.”
My opinion follows the same line of thought, the pulled barbecue pork was getting a little long in the tooth and had been reheated. I forgot to ask if they doused sauce on it and mine came out with a liberal amount of the sauce already applied. After tasting the meat I figured out they were trying to de-age the meat a bit and hide the two day old taste.
The mustard slaw was lack luster without any bite to it all, I added a healthy dose of black pepper and a shot of Louisiana hot sauce and it was passable then. The Texas Toast was just that, toast bread, not much to be said about it.
So, let’s do the numbers:
[usrlist “Pulled Pork BBQ:6″ “Vinegar Slaw:4″ “Fried Pickles:8″ “Mild Sauce:5″ “Ice Tea:5″ “Staff Friendliness:7″ “Atmosphere:6″ “Cleanliness:6″ “Value:6″ img=”07.png”]
[usrlist “Pulled Pork Barbecue:5″ “Mustard Slaw:5″ “Mild Sauce:5″ “Staff Friendliness:7″ “Atmosphere:6″ “Cleanliness:6″ “Value:6″ img=”07.png”]
Overall Rating: [usrlist “Judge One:5.9″ “Judge Two:5.7″ img=”07.png”]
|Catering Service Available||Yes|
|Recommendations||Bring your own Real Lemons|
|Ambiance||Small town Q-Joint|
|Vegetarian Friendly||Ugh, it’s a q-joint, you figure it out|
|Soft Drink Brand||Coke, fountain|
The opinions expressed in this review are the honest opinions of the author and fellow judge, and whom are solely responsible for its content. This opinion was not influence by any third party whatsoever. If and when you visit the reviewed restaurant your opinion may vary greatly. So as always YMMV!