Continuing my quest to find the best barbeque in Tampa, I noticed a framed advertisement for Holy Hog while having lunch at one of it's owner's other restaurants, Pipo's, a decent little cuban cafe in itself. The paper flyer proclaimed Holy Hog to have the best barbecue in the Bay area, voted on by some group or another, and that was enough for me to try it out. I pulled in on a weekday shortly after noon, walked inside and was greeted by a large, handwritten menu board stretching all the way across the cafeteria style line where you order.
The brisket and pork both had a good crust from an expertly applied rub. While both had good amounts of smokiness, the pork was cold and the brisket was on the dry side. I would attribute both to them being sliced/pulled ahead of time and kept warm (or not) in the line for too long. A little of their hot and spicy sauce brought them back to life and allowed me to finish both. The sides were nicely done- not homemade, but smoky chunks of meat flavored the beans, and fresh chopped jalepenos gave the otherwise standard mac and cheese a tasty kick. Two pieces of fresh toasted garlic bread and plenty of cold sweet tea to wash it all down completed the meal.
This was definitely the most flavorful experience in my Tampa area search, but unfortunately the cooking issues meant it didn't rise above the others I had tried so far. They definitely know how to make good barbecue. Just a little extra effort in keeping it fresh would put them over the top in my book.
FOOD RATING: 3.5 OF 5OVERALL RATING: 3.5 OF 5