Oddie’s Pig Pit: Bringing The Dude to The ‘Que

This is Part Deux of our day with Joe ‘1WineDude’ Roberts – you can read about Part Uno on Joe’s blog. This part is much more exciting, though. The ninja fight in the third paragraph is tremendous. Joe’s a little fella, but he took out three or four ninjas that day. Lisa took out the rest. And I…well, I supervised. OK, that’s a complete fabrication. In fact, no ninjas were harmed in the making of the following blog post.

If you ever find yourself at a winery, and you’re overcome by hunger, ask the folks at the winery about where to eat locally. Chances are, if they live in the area, they won’t steer you wrong.

After having spent the better part of three hours with Lou at Amalthea, Joe, Lisa and I were dying to eat. (All that wine tasting we had done had worked up an appetite.) We mentioned that we had intended to head on over to a well-known local institution for some roadside barbecue. The guys at the winery responded with one of those ‘Well, that place is good, BUT…if you want something really tasty…’ segues. They offered us two options for good ‘cue in the area, one that was close by and one which was a little bit further away. Well, our collective stomachs were in no mood to go any distance (Did I mention that we were ravenous? Yeah, we were ravenous. I’ve mentioned it again here for emphasis, so that you’re clear on the ravenousness that existed in all three of us. And I just like saying ‘ravenous.’ Oh yeah – now where was I?), so we opted for the closer location.

Just down the road on US Highway 30 in Chesilhurst (and I think it’s first time we’ve mentioned Chesilhurst, so here’s a Hee Haw-esque ‘saaaaaa-lute!’ to you) is a little place called Oddie’s Pig Pit. And upon entering the little eatery, the smells that were wafting all around were assuring us that those Amalthea guys knew of what they were speaking.

The woman at the counter, friendly and without any pretense (very South Jersey), walked us through the menu and was very helpful in shaping our order, letting us know that the ribs had been smoking for many hours. We ended up with a nice sampling of their ribs, brisket, pulled pork and chicken, accompanied by a side of collards and some mac ‘n cheese.

But first up would be a small basket of their corn muffins. Sweet and moist, without being gummy, they were a nice start. They certainly were a hit with The Dude, as he quickly made his disappear.

Then it was time for our feature presentation: a table-covering spread of meaty (and some non-meaty) goodness. Just to build up the suspense, I will start with the less exciting items first. The mac ‘n cheese was homemade, for sure, but it was still pretty run of the mill. Not bad, but not terribly exciting. The pulled chicken, a substitute for the whole chicken which was not available yet, was a little on the dry side. To be honest, I have yet to come across any kind of pulled chicken that was not dry, which is why I almost never order it.

And now, on to the good stuff.

I can’t imagine ever going to a barbecue joint and not having a side of collards to accompany the pork and brisket lead singers. And the collards at Oddie’s were solidly delivered, complete with a generous amount of salty, fat-infused potlikker.

Although the pulled chicken was not very interesting, the same cannot be said for the pulled pork and brisket. Moist and tender, with an enjoyable amount of smoke – they were what you would happily accept if you had thoughts of barbecue floating in your head immediately turned from figments to form.

And then there were ribs. I quickly grabbed one first, and upon the first bite my taste buds said ‘Waitwaitwait – what just crossed our path?’ The dry rub, spicy but certainly not hot, had this element of sweetness that was surprising and pleasant. Unlike barbecue sauces that can be overly cloying and thick with sugar, the sweetness in this rub added a color to the mix that was similar to adding lemon in other kinds of sauces to give them a citrus pop. It was dissonant and yet very palatable and enjoyable. I immediately said to Lisa and Joe ‘You have to try these ribs. Now.’ as if they were going to walk right off the table or something. They followed my command, and seemed to enjoy the ribs as well.

One of the real joys about doing this food blog business is not only meeting other bloggers but being able to break bread with them and talk some shop. I have a lot of respect for what Joe does on his wine blog, and it was great to be able to discuss different issues that come up when one does a blog about food or wine. There are many similarities, but also some distinct differences. But on two subjects, we were all in agreement: 1) Oddie’s makes some darn good barbecue, and 2) we were no longer ravenous with hunger (had to work in ‘ravenous’ one more time…oops – make that two more times).

From the road, Oddie’s Pig Pit looks like the kind of nondescript place that you could easily zip past and have forgotten about by the time you reached the next Wawa along the way. But after eating at Oddie’s, I would suggest that you not do so if you find yourself on this stretch of the White Horse Pike.

– John

Oddie’s Pig Pit – 53 White Horse Pike, Chesilhurst. 856.767.PITT.

UPDATE: Well, Oddie’s didn’t make it much past our visit. They closed in the fall. – John


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