Best Thing We Ate

Lil’ Piggy’s Memphis-Style Ribs Are the Real Deal

By Darlene Horn  |  June 5, 2014

The Coronado Ferry Landing is an unlikely place to find southern BBQ. But the down-home décor, plastic-covered picnic tables and smell of smoked meats wafting through the air at Lil' Piggy's BBQ will have you thinking you're somewhere else. Ribs, chicken, beef brisket, sausage and baby back ribs file out of hte kitchen of this well-established sit-down spot every day. You can taste all of the kitchen's meats in the “Gone to the Market Sampler Platter.” But we're making the case for the baby back ribs and brisket. 

David Spatafore of Blue Bridge Hospitality took his family down South for a weeks-long road trip to sample the regional food of Texas, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Kansas. Spatafore re-surfaced in SoCal with a hyper-focus on the Memphis-style of barbecuing and smoking meats overnight - a technique that shines through most in the ribs. Their subtle seasonings are pumped up with more flavor from the restaurant’s proprietary sweet yet kicky sauce. The kitchen goes through an average of 150 lbs. of ribs a day. For beef eaters, the smoked brisket with dry rub plays a close second to the ribs. It's smoked for an average of 15 hours until it pulls apart. Help it out with one of three sauces available at the table: standard house sauce, a vinegar-based sauce and a spicy number spiked with habanero. All meats, including the ribs and brisket, are sold by-the-pound. Take note: there seem to be constant lines at Lil' Piggy's for good reason. Since no reservations are taken, arrive early - around 11 AM, when they open - to snag one of the 11 tables over looking the bay. Hours are 11 AM - 9 PM, daily. 1201 First St., Coronado