This month, I’ve been celebrating a milestone birthday, which has meant dining at many great Lansing restaurants and forgetting to buy groceries. On Sunday (Jan. 28), I sobered up with a grocery run at the familiar big-box stores on the west side of the city. But as I made my way back to Lansing’s center, I felt in my core that I needed one more celebratory meal to end the weekend on a high note.
I was drawn to the Smoke N’ Pig BBQ, where I chose to carry out loaded fries in a triumphant expression of being 35 years old and still making amazing choices. Would they make me a little sleepy? Likely. Would they be more than $15 with tip? No way.
By the time I got home, I was pleasantly surprised to see steam still rising from the pulled pork that topped the fries. Loaded fries seem like a simple enough meal to create — you just take french fries, arguably one of the best foods on earth, and top them with other equally amazing things. But ratios are key, as is texture. You don’t want to end up with a soggy mess.
Overall, my trip to the Smoke N’ Pig was quick, friendly and convenient, and I got everything I wanted. My large portion of fries was drizzled, not drenched, with cheesy sauce and sour cream. The bacon and pulled pork imparted a smoky flavor, and the green onions offered a little freshness among all the meat and cheese. Most important, when I dipped my bites into the restaurant’s two barbeque sauces and Lansing-style honey mustard, the crispy fries held up under the weight of all the toppings.
The spicy barbecue sauce didn’t pack much heat on the first bite, but it had a mysterious flavor, maybe adobo or another chili, that made it an earthy complement to the other, tangier sauce, which was much heavier on the vinegar and made the sides of my mouth salivate. The thick Lansing-style mustard worked well on its own or, as recommended by the staff, mixed with the other sauces.
My trip to the Smoke N’ Pig kept the party going into Monday, when I heated up a few of the leftover pieces of pulled pork and added them to some homemade tacos. As far as birthday weekends go, I’ve decided to act my age some other time — has anyone seen the Prilosec?
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