The Legend of Hickory Hollow

26 Jun

The North Carolina BBQ plate offered at Hickory Hollow in Bradenton, FL

Not sure if the above sign was made from hickory

Authentic Carolina – Virginia Cookin’ is a true rarity in this part of “Dixie”

I visited Hickory Hollow BBQ in Bradenton for the first time today. Not too bad. I was greeted at the front door by a peacock — no lie! I had to shoo the crazy bird away just to get inside the restaurant. The decor inside was a little strange with butterfly art and faux flowers everywhere. A little gay if you ask me. Anyway, the place smelled good & smoky and I was impressed with the variety of side dishes offered at lunchtime. I ordered the NC BBQ pork plate with two sides (zipper peas and corn pudding). All entrees also come with giant corn fritters (hushpuppies) … each one the size of a ripe Florida tangerine.

I poured some vinegar-based pepper sauce over the “Q” and dug in. It was pretty darn good, although not as smoky tasting as I would like. The corn pudding posessed just the right amount of sweetness, but it could have been just a little warmer. The zipper peas (sort of a cross between navy beans and black eyed peas) were excellent – you could tell by the taste of the pot likker that the peas were cooked with some kind of bacon or fatback.  All in all a pretty satisfying meal. I’d give them a B- which ain’t bad at all for pork BBQ in these parts. I am happy to know they are here and will probably stop in again when I’m back in the area. It’s not exactly worth an out-of-the-way trip, but a pretty good option when a major “BBQ Jones” strikes. 

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