We decided to take the BBQ Trail on the road again and headed out to Carter’s Pig Pen BBQ in Mechanicsville, VA. While that is not a real road trip compared to some of our outings, it is a nice ride for supper after work and that’s what we did. It wasn’t too bad though most of the run was on I-295. We read some decent reviews about them on line and wanted to check them out. So here’s what we found.
Where is Carter’s Pig Pen BBQ Located?
Carter’s Pig Pen BBQ is on Cold Harbor Rd. in Mechanicsville. They’re just off Highway 360. We got off of I-295 at the Hwy. 360 exit for Mechanicsville
which landed us right at them. As usual, I allowed GPS to guide us in. They really weren’t hard to find.
Our ride home was much better even though it took a lot longer. I was trying to find my way to Rt. 5 for a scenic ride home but somehow ended up on Rt. 60 which was still a good trip. After catching the Ferry across the James River at Jamestown we headed on towards Hwy. 460 and back home. So the ride was good and you can pick the type of ride you prefer, high speed or leisurely cruise.
The Restaurant and Staff:
Carter’s Pig Pen BBQ is a pretty cool place. Set up in an old house it is a small restaurant. You come in the front door and place your order at the counter. They have a lot of to go orders so some people wait there for their order. There are 2 small dining rooms with 4 – 5 tables in each room. We chose a seat in one of the rooms. There are also tables outside if you want to picnic. The dining rooms had a few decorations helping to make a comfortable dining experience.
Michael, according to our receipt, took our order. He was extremely nice and very helpful. He was quite a hustler. We showed up at what turned out to be a busy time and he was managing the front by himself. So once we placed our order we had a seat at a table and Michael delivered our food. Thus far everything was good. As you can see by the pictures this was just a cool little bbq joint, not a big fancy chain.
Our Choices at Carter’s Pig Pen BBQ:
We finally settled in for our choices at Carter’s Pig Pen BBQ. For a change Tammy and I both ordered the Ultimate Platter which comes with your choice of 3 meats. You can choose from Carter’s Style BBQ, Grandma Style BBQ, Pulled Beef or Chicken. Both of us went for the Carter’s, Grandma’s, and Pulled Beef. These platters also came with Baked Beans, Cole Slaw, and Potato Salad, all homemade. To top everything off you get two corn muffins.
Let’s start with the sides. The baked beans had a really good flavor. And the slaw was creamy and good. I’d prefer a little less mayo but it was still good. Now the potato salad was unique. I couldn’t pin down what was different about it but I liked it. We did notice it had some shredded cheese in it and they used red potatoes with the skins on them. I’m not sure what else was mixed in but we both enjoyed it a lot.
What about the meats at Carter’s Pig Pen BBQ? I’ll start with the Carter’s Pulled Pork. This is your NC Style BBQ with a vinegar base sauce. It was not over sauced and was very tasty. The pork had a nice smoke ring, good smoke flavor and bark mixed in. Very good. Grandma’s Pulled Pork is more of a Virginia Style BBQ. It comes with a tomato base sauce mixed in. Even though I normally lean more towards the NC Style, I really had a hard time choosing which I liked better. Lastly we had the Pulled Beef. This was smoked sirloin, not brisket. The beef really has a great flavor and is different. It was a little higher in salt flavor but I’m thinking that was from the smoking. Tammy preferred the beef.
There was extra sauce at the tables if you wanted to add to your choices. Carter’s BBQ Sauce is a NC Vinegar Sauce. I did add a little to one part of my pork to try but it didn’t need it. Same with Grandma’s BBQ Sauce. A tomato based bbq sauce which I tried on a small amount of my pork. Both sauces are really good but I don’t think the pork needs any sauce added to them.
Lastly we tried a Chocolate Cookie for dessert. I know it doesn’t sound like much compared to some desserts we’ve had in the past but don’t be fooled. That cookie is awesome and simple. Just goes to show you don’t have to have a big fancy dessert. Carter’s Pig Pen BBQ keeps it simple and makes it good. There are others to choose from also. Save some room and see what I mean.
Now my final thoughts about Carter’s Pig Pen BBQ. Tammy and I both enjoyed this one. Admittedly we were not sure when we first arrived. We parked down a hill behind the restaurant and wondered about this little bbq joint. What a wonderful surprise. I’m so glad we stopped in. And Michael was great. He couldn’t believe we drove all the way there to try their bbq. He thought we may be up for the race. Had I known they were racing at Richmond, I probably would not have went that weekend. So glad we did and there was no traffic pile up. I guess we were far enough away. As for Patrick’s BBQ Trail, I recommend giving this place a try. Whether you go for the pulled pork or try the pulled beef I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. We’ll have to go back for the ribs someday.
Now For Your Thoughts:
So how do others feel about Carter’s Pig Pen BBQ? Have you been here? Tell us how your visit went. It’s always great hearing from others about the places we stop. The owners also like to know what others think.
What do you regulars think? There has to be a regular fan base there. We saw lots of people coming and going. One lady who is from our area originally assured us that we wouldn’t be disappointed. How do the rest of you feel? Tell us about the people and what keeps you going back.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Send in your comments and I’ll get them posted as soon as I can. We all want to know what you think.
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You can check out their website at: www.carterspigpenbarbque.com/
You can also find them on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/pages/Carters-Pig-Pen-Bbq/205943069450454