Curly’s Perfect Pig
Is the pig at Curly’s Perfect Pig really perfect? The pulled pork is damn good, and the fried okra just might attain perfection.
Set up in a small trailer park that has grown outside Jax bar on 29th Street near the UT campus, Curly’s Perfect Pig serves pretty much exclusively pulled pork and sides.
Running there for lunch with a friend, we split some sides of fried okra, cole slaw and hush puppies while I ordered the Nash Vegas, a pile of pulled pork heaped on top of a thick cornbread pancake and topped with spicy, tangy mustard sauce.
Starting with the sides might make the meat pale in comparison, so let’s talk about the pulled pork first. It wasn’t the super-moist dripping kind, but was more what you’ll find in places like Alabama and the Carolinas, with a notable smoky and lean taste. It wasn’t wet but it wasn’t dry either. The spicy mustard sauce that came on top was a nice addition, but the pork stood on its own. (Curly’s sells its pulled pork by the pound as well if you want to make your own dishes.) The cornbread underneath was a little charred in places, but still added a nice layer of texture to the dish.
Now, on to the sides. The hush puppies were sweet cornbread inside and salty fried outside. Instead of being small gritty balls, they were oblong and puffy like savory miniature beignets – and trust me, that’s a good thing.
The cole slaw was sweet and light, more of a vinegar base than a mayonnaise base, but it wasn’t overwhelmingly tart. It was also chopped nice and small, so you don’t end up trailing cabbage strands out of your mouth while you eat.
Finally the fried okra. Which was the best fried okra I’ve ever had. I don’t know if the fried okra was just especially fresh on this particular day, but the lightly battered small chunks of okra were tender and just slightly juicy with no hint of bitterness or toughness. My friend Jenny liked them dipped in vinegar sauce, but I thought they were just perfect on their own.
All in all, Curly’s is a solid lunch spot for a barbecue sandwich, especially if you love southern sides.
Check out Curly’s on Yelp.