Saturday, November 21, 2009
HOG ISLAND BBQ - HONOLULU, HAWAII
HOG ISLAND BBQ
Hawaii really needs a good BBQ restaurant. After 20 years here, I have not found a place for bbq brisket, pulled pork or ribs that would make me go back a second time. When Hog Island BBQ opened just minutes from our house I was excited. I had read several reviews that proclaimed Hog Island as the best BBQ in Hawaii. Four star ratings for food, service, ambiance and value. After reading this we had to try it. First off this is not really a restaurant. Rather a cramped counter with a small wood smoker sitting behind you. There are not seats, no waiters and no beer. Hog Island is basically a take-out window with seating upstairs on a deck. We ordered the Beef Brisket Plate Meal ($8.25). Wood fired Beef Brisket with choice of two sides. I opted for the Pitmaster's Baked Beans which are dried beans soaked over night and then slow cooked with homemade bbq sauce along with brisket and pulled pork bark. My other side was the Cole Slaw w/dried cranberries. Review: the Brisket was a bit dry and lacked a lot of flavor. I dipped the brisket into the bbq sauce and this really helped the flavor. There is a certain spice in the rub that I cannot pick out, but it does not do well with my taste buds. This flavor overwhelms the beef. The sauce is good. The beans were a bit bland and the cole slaw was very good. We also tried a full rack of Baby Back Ribs ($24.75). These ribs are dry rubbed with a spice mixture that includes 29 herbs and spices and then are slow cooked for 12 hours. The verdict on these was mixed. The two children dining loved them. The parents could not eat more than one rib each. The ribs were dry and had that one spice that I don't like. Even dipping them in the bbq sauce didn't save these ribs. Costco ribs are better I am very sad to say. We tried the Chef's Scallop Potatoes with the ribs. Fresh potatoes thinly sliced and then slow cooked for over 2 hours with cream and a blend of 23 spices. To my surprise they use "no cheese" in the potatoes. I liked the Scalloped Potatoes, but would not make a special trip to eat them. Hog Island also sells BBQ Sandwiches; Beef Brisket, Pulled Pork, Chicken Breast and a Philly Style Beef Brisket. These run around $7 to $9. Will try the pulled pork on my next visit.
Dining here is nice because you take your food upstairs to a rooftop deck. There are about four tables.