100 Favorite Dishes: the Pulled Pork Pig Pen Sandwich at Boney's
No. 78 Pulled Pork Pig Pen Sandwich at Boney's Smokehouse Barbecue
1543 Champa Street
Boney's pulled pork sandwich is just that -- a simple sandwich of hickory-smoked pulled pork on a bun. You can get it topped with Kickin' Slaw by asking for it Carolina style or with hot link slices by asking for the Whole Hog. But if you want both, plus a little shredded white cheese, just ask for the Pig Pen. It's a combination that layers the best of two kinds of juicy pork and a spicy, creamy slaw that mellows everything just enough.
See also: 100 Favorite Dishes of 2014
Boney's moved from a small space on Larimer to it's new multi-room basement digs on Champa in early 2013, not without trepidation from Denver barbecue fans worried that any changes would compromise the deep, slow-smoked flavors. But the smokehouse has adjusted to its larger space nicely, with long lines during the lunch hour and the permeating smell of wood smoke rising up the stair well at the entrance. While waiting in line is rarely fun, at a barbecue joint it's a sign that the meat is selling well and that you're not likely to get reheated leftovers from the previous day.
The anchor of the Pig Pen is Boney's moist, softly smokey pulled pork, itself a fine meal with no real need for accoutrements. But if you're indecisive or you just like variety, the smoked hot link slices add a salty zing of cured pork to the mix. And the coleslaw turns it from a pile of meat on bread to a proper sandwich with a blend of salty, sweet, spicy and savory. The key to the perfect lunch, though, is picking the right sauce. Go with either the fiery Eastern North Carolina vinegar hot sauce, or the mustard sauce -- if South Carolina is more your style. Stay away from the thicker, sweeter sauces more common to Saint Louis or Memphis styles since they'll likely overwhelm the sandwich.
It's not a huge or ungainly sandwich; Boney's isn't trying to break a record or get a spot on the Food Network with the Pig Pen. It's just the right combination of flavors and a satisfying amount of meat between two buns, leaving you enough room to sample one of the kitchen's top-notch sides.
In advance of the Best of Denver 2015, we're already loading our plates with contenders for the best dishes in the city. And over the next nine months, we'll be sharing many of them with you, counting down (in no particular order) one hundred of our favorite dishes before the the Best of Denver 2015 hits the streets on March 26. In the meantime, if there's a dish you think we need to try, tell us about it in the comments section below, or shoot us an e-mail at email@example.com.
Hungry for more? All the dishes in our 2014 countdown are linked below.
No. 100: Chile Relleno at La Fiesta
No. 99: Gurage Kitfo at Megenagna Ethiopian Restaurant
No. 98: Cochinita Pibil at Work & Class
No. 97: The Greggers Tongue Sandwich at Olive & Finch
No 96: Baum Cakes at Glaze by Sasa
No. 95: Goat hot pot from Viet's
No 94: Head cheese from Beast + Bottle
No. 93: Kettle Chips from Amerigo Delicatus
No. 92: Pork Belly Confit at Solera Restaurant and Wine Bar
No. 91: Tacos Campechanos from La Calle Taqueria
No. 90: Biscuits from Denver Biscuit Co.
No. 89: Clams and Chorizo at Gozo
No. 88: Aburi Sushi at Sushi Den and Izakaya Den
No. 87: Kimchi and Sausage Torta at City, O' City
No. 86: Mar y Tierra Molcajete at Paxia
No. 85: Crispy Pork Spare Ribs at Table Top
No. 84: Chips and Dip at Euclid Hall
No. 83: Chile Relleno Burrito at El Taco de Mexico
No. 82: Scallop Crudo at Stoic & Genuine
No. 81: Ceylon Curry Dosa at Khazana
No. 80: The Lambada Torta at La Torteria
No. 79: Pork Bulgogi at Dae Gee