The Taste Food Tour :: The Proper Pig Smokehouse
Even before it started selling BBQ from its new brick-and-mortar shop, The Proper Pig already had a loyal following.
Owners Ted Dupaski and Shane Vidovic launched the mobile version of the restaurant in 2014, introducing Northeast Ohio food truck fans to their take on Texas barbecue. They offered food at such well-traveled venues as downtown Cleveland’s popular Walnut Wednesdays and the Cleveland Flea.
From there, they grew a hearty catering business and realized they needed more room and decided to add a restaurant in addition to their food truck business. The pair opened the restaurant last month at 17100 Detroit Ave. in Lakewood, the site of the former Cleveland Pickle.
Offering both carryout and sit-down service, The Proper Pig offers four meats on a regular basis — pulled pork, beef brisket, hot link sausage and smoked turkey breast. They also have half and full slabs of ribs. Since The Proper Pig opened, it’s not uncommon to see signs on the door or posts on social media saying they have sold out for the day.
They smoke 500 pounds of meat per day on site, and when it’s gone, it’s gone. Dupaski and Vidovic don’t reuse/reheat their smoked products. They sell meats by the half pound or in combo platters with sides, up to four meats and three sides for $22 for those who can’t decide.
The weekend after the Lakewood location opened, we decided to grab some late Saturday afternoon carryout. We lucked out and got end-of-day special (aka the other options had sold out) pulled pork sandwiches for $5 instead of the regular $9. This includes one side — coleslaw, chips, smokehouse beans or CLE potato salad made with Stadium Mustard.
The menu also includes two regular “Texas-sized” sandwiches. The Proper Slopper, a food truck favorite, is piled high with chopped brisket, pulled pork, hot sausage, maple bacon, BBQ sauce and slaw. The Lake Erie Crusher offers the same sauce and slaw but only has two meats — sausage and pulled pork.
Once we had dug into our carryout, we made fast work of it. None of us had any leftovers of the moist, flavorful chunks of pork, nor our sides of coleslaw and beans. This late lunch/early dinner treat whet our appetites for more food from The Proper Pig.
In fact, I’ve been studying the menu while I’ve been blogging, trying to map out future ordering strategies. I think ribs are up next: On Mother’s Day, I spotted a post on social media with a picture of a freshly smoked slab. I haven’t stopped thinking about it since then. I think I’ll have to go early to score them. I’m willing to try.
–Robin Suttell, 2016 Taste of Lakewood blogger