Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Off the Map: Turkeys in a Chicken Coop

Smoked Pulled Turkey Sandwich -- Hog Heaven, Nashville, TN
Hog Heaven

To say Hog Heaven looks like the last place you'd want to get a meal would be an understatement.  A rickety shack-type structure nestled between a McDonald's and the Parthenon (way to go for architectural contrasts, Nashville), its premises are enclosed completely in chicken wire.  
Definitely Looks Like a James Beard Award Winner to Us...
Vodka and her friend, Grey Goose, try to ignore the feeling that they've suddenly been trapped in a coop as we approach the counter to order. 
Literally. We Are Literally In a Coop
Along with Sunny Anderson's Best Thing I Ever Ate THAT I'M THANKFUL FOR dish, the pulled turkey sandwich, we choose the pulled pork plate with turnip greens and baked beans (being that this is HOG Heaven, after all).  
In This Case, "Heaven" Is Relative
Since seating at this establishment consists only of two elongated picnic tables, while Grey Goose pays at the counter, Vodka sprints (definition of "sprinting" is relative in this case) over to a free spot before someone else can grab it.  This sudden burst of activity leads to a few solid stares from other patrons, as it seems we're the only ones with NYC aggressiveness still pumping through or veins, ready to knock out anyone in sight to claim a picnic bench first.
As Per Usual, We Are the Only Ones Who Care
Our meal arrives, all wrapped in various forms of styrofoam (no need for those pesky recycling containers in these parts), and Vodka examines Sunny's sandwich choice.  
Seattle's Multitude of Recycling Bins Would Have a Field Day With This
A hearty serving of turkey spills over a thick onion roll, with a single slice of orange cheddar, a large pour of white barbeque sauce, and a smattering of pickles over top.  
We Thank You Gratefully For the Large Serving of Pickles
The first bite reveals the sandwich to be delicious -- the sauce tangy, the pickles crunchy, and the onion roll the perfect selection to hold the otherwise messy sandwich together.
Bread Is Clearly the Most Vital Ingredient of Any Successful Sandwich
But by the second bite, we are over it.
Hey, We Never Said We Weren't Fickle
Similar to the pulled pork from the platter, further tastes reveal the turkey to be dry.  Indeed, if it weren't smothered in a gallon of mysterious white liquid, it might not even be swallowable, at least not without a solid swig of water.  
We Didn't Realize the Turkey Was Meant to Taste Like It Was Left Over from Thanksgiving
The sauce is mildly interesting, if excessively vinegary, but it essentially just tastes like a less ketchupy version of the one topping the pork dish.  
Aka The Difference Is That the One on the Turkey Isn't Red
Halfway through the sandwich, Vodka pulls it apart and proceeds to consume nothing but the pickles (one should never waste a pickle, after all), and it is determined that the only reason we were initially fooled into thinking this sandwich was a work of culinary art was that we were starving.
Pure Starvation Never Makes for Good Food Judgment
Accompanying the dry pork, the side dishes are anywhere from average (baked beans) to bland (turnip greens) to downright nasty (the "famous' pancake-shaped cornbread).  
Doesn't This Look... Appetizing?
As we finish our meal, Vodka looks longingly out through the chicken wire to the McDonald's a few feet away.  Because when it comes to a special sauce, never trust a hog where only a golden arch will do.

Hog Heaven's Smoked Pulled Turkey Sandwich: 3 stars

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