#PigOutOKC is brought to you by the Oklahoma Pork Council. Twice a month we’ll be delving into restaurants and recipes that bring home the bacon (among other delicious cuts of pork). Experiencing your own pork-fueled adventure? Use the hashtag #PigOutOKC to let the rest of us in on the fun.
Do you remember that episode of “Seinfeld” where Jerry and Elaine were both waiting for a couple to break up? That is how I feel about pork and barbecue sauce.
I don’t mind pork being acquainted with barbecue sauce. Maybe they hooked up one night and it was really great, but they knew it wouldn’t last. Maybe they’re co-workers, acknowledging one another in the hall, but never making plans to get together after hours. But we, as a society, must move away from this idea that pork is only good when slathered in barbecue sauce. There is so much more to this meat, and if you’re looking for a good example, check out Bricktown Brewery.
Oh, what a long, strange trip it’s been for Bricktown Brewery. There was a time, hard as it may be for you to believe, when there was only one Bricktown Brewery and it was extremely in Bricktown. It was also not great for a while. Frozen burger patties. Fries dumped out of a bag.
But that was before Buck Warfield came in. With so many credits and stories to his name, I’m not sure how to describe Buck except as a guy who took a struggling Bricktown Brewery location and turned it into a regional juggernaut with 14 locations across five states.
His team really honed in on making crowd-pleasing fare, going fresh and getting weird (see the seasonally changing BrickTwisted menu for more proof) and it’s working.
While some other local chains are comparable to Applebee’s and Chili’s, I feel like Bricktown Brewery has really become its own thing. And being able to brew stronger beer isn’t exactly hurting their rep, either.
It was during a tasting of the BrickTwisted menu that I snagged a regular menu and noticed...hey...these guys really dig on swine. And since I write these #PigOutOKC reviews, maybe there’s something here.
While it’s available, you really, really, really need to get to Bricktown Brewery for the latest BrickTwisted menu. Previous iterations were good. This one is phenomenal. Start off with the green chili pork totchos ($12.75) which are, you know, tater tots covered in a ridiculous amount of stuff: pulled pork, green chili, bacon, cheese and a fried egg. It’s a big, wet, sloppy mess and I love it (which is what I’m hoping a woman will say about me someday).
Also not to be missed, the tri-tip steak sandwich with rosemary au jus ($12.75) is bonkers. Sincerely one of the best sandwiches I’ve had in the last year. And that au jus could just as easily be a very herbaceous soup and I’d still order it.
Oh, and they have a rotating grilled cheese served with tomato soup. This time, it’s filled with macaroni and cheese, shaved ham, and American and Pecorino Romano cheeses. It’s so good. So, so good. And that soup...gracious me, it gives a fella the vapors.
That said, I try not to focus on the BrickTwisted menu too much, because it changes and then you’re left feeling cold and alone, like a nudist on a public bus. Don’t you worry, though: the regular menu has plenty to recommend it.
If the totchos sound like too much for your delicate sensibilities, definitely try just the pork green chili ($4.10 cup/$5.85 bowl), because it’s a delight. Tender shredded pork mixed with the slightly piquant and mildly spicy green chilies makes for a warm, filling bowl of stew that will leave your taste buds tingling.
I liked the chopped & chipped nachos ($12.25) but they’re definitely for sharing with a large group. All the component parts are good — tortilla chips covered in pulled pork shoulder, barbecue sauce, melted cheese, white queso, Cholula-infused sour cream and cilantro — and they make a potent combo. But it’s a lot of flavor. A lot. And if you order this for two, you’re pretty much ruling out a main course. And I don’t want that life for you. I want you to experience the full gamut of joy, yearning, loss and redemption. By which I mean an appetizer, an entree and dessert.
Don’t be like me! Don’t get so full you can’t even look at a dessert menu! You have so much of your life ahead of you!
Also, you’re probably going to want the Uber cheeseburger ($11.65) because it’s a very good cheeseburger. What makes it great is simplicity...and over-indulgence. It’s a well-cooked burger with lettuce, tomato, pickle, onion, a slathering of housemade burger sauce and four slices of cheese that both melt and are solid. It’s Schroedinger’s cheeseburger, except when you open the box, it’s delicious.
For pure porcine joy, however, you must try the Pork on Pork sandwich ($10.75), which really takes the idea of eating a pig to a new level. Specifically a level with two kinds of pork on it. Pulled pork, covered with sweet peppered bacon, then charred onions and a mild barbecue sauce. It comes with a side of slaw that, hear me out, you need to add to your sandwich. Yes. Take off that top bun. Dump the cup of slaw on the meat. Return the top bun. Eat. It’s crunchy/chewy/tender and it’s wonderful. Next time, I think I’m asking for barbecue sauce on the side, though, because I want that bacon flavor to really shine through.
Man...these guys really do love pork, because it’s all over the menu. I had a pineapple and Canadian bacon pizza ($11.90) that was very tasty. I know some of you all don’t think pineapple belongs on a pizza, but this was really good pineapple. Like big old chunks. It makes a difference.
The SXSW salad ($6.25) is only available at lunch, but it’s simply perfect. A bed of greens covered in pulled pork with queso fresco, slices of fresh red bell pepper, diced avocado, tomato and a honey cilantro dressing. Everything was so crisp and light. Even the meat. They could wrap this up in a tortilla and sell it to me for lunch every day and I’d thank them for it.
Finally, I tried Big Mike’s meatloaf ($13.90) and I loved almost everything about it. Almost. It’s a blend of pork and beef. It’s wrapped in bacon. They take the chilled slices of meatloaf and toss them on the griddle to crisp up the bacon and add a bit of tasty char. It comes with fried onion strings and mashed potatoes and green beans. This is a meal that aims to satisfy and go a bit further.
But do this for me. If you order it, ask for the chili sauce glaze on the side. Not that it’s not good, but just...it’s a very sweet addition that, in my opinion, overshadows the meatloaf. Controlling how much you want or don’t want makes it better. It’s a very good dish. I just liked it better with a bit less sweet chili sauce.
The Oklahoma Pork Council represents the interests all of pork producers throughout the state, promoting pork and pork products, funding research and educating consumers and producers about the pork industry. Learn more about the OPC, find recipes and more at OKPork.org.