Each week, Justin Bitner goes hunting for DFW's most interesting sandwiches. Have a sandwich suggestion? Leave it in the comments and he'll check it out.
The Sandwich: Whole Hog Sandwich ($12)
Bread: House baked roll kissed by the sweet bird of honey
Toppings: Pulled pork rolled in mustard vinegar sauce, blue cheese slaw
The Case: Perched atop a hill on Ft. Worth Avenue, Smoke serves as an edible encyclopedia on the rewards of scratch cooking. Walking in during a sparsely attended weekday lunch, I felt like I had stumbled upon a well-appointed smoke shack in the middle of the Tonopah Desert. The bar was crowded with jars of various size and shape, each containing some sort of lumber-infused potable. Faded photos of someone's family gather on one wall in an understated cluster, not in the Chuy's "this-reminds-me-of-my-Grandma's-attic-why-are-they-all-looking-at-me" kind of way.
Scanning through the sandwich list on the lunch menu, I opted to go with the Whole Hog sandwich, prepared in a Carolina-style vinegar/mustard sauce. The $12 price tag includes a side and a drink, a combination not seen often enough on lunch menus. After hearing the drink choices, I went with fresh mint limeade, muddled and mixed a few feet from my table. It was a testament to effervescence, providing an excellent palate cleansing without leaving behind a sugary aftertaste.
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Before the server brought my dish to the table, I could sense the smoky aroma of the hogger approaching. The plate came decked with the sandwich and a cup of cheddar grits and hominy, which was stellar. The generous amount of cheddar provided a heavy foundation, while the hominy gave a creatively bulbous change to the texture of this suddenly ubiquitous side.
As I was mowing through the dish, my server returned with a foursome of flip-top bottled sauces, all concocted on the premises. Carolina-style sauce (one of the four) coated the pork expertly, lending just the right amount of flavor without overshadowing the quality of the smoked meat. Adding a dash of the Texas-style sauce gave a sweet tomato element, though BBQ purists would likely shun such regional in-saucing. The freshly baked roll, aided by the addition of honey to the dough, had the perfect texture and didn't get too soggy from all the toppings. The slaw added a counterbalancing crunch to the sandwich, while the blue cheese component had a subtle funk that brought things together like some Barry White on a booze-fueled third date.
The Verdict: At Smoke, you can go hoggin' and be proud to tell your friends about it.