The search for the best barbecue places in Arkansas continues! Last week, AY Publisher Heather Baker and KARK host DJ Williams launched a new segment, trying out some of the great BBQ spots listed on AY’s Barbecue Bucket List.
This week, Baker and Williams stopped by another Arkansas BBQ treasure – this time in North Little Rock. The pair checked out Whole Hog Café NLR and dug into the tasty grub it offers.
Before heading in, Baker highlighted the importance of the restaurant to the local community, saying that it plays a major role in the military community. Visiting to Whole Hog Café was also a homecoming of sorts for Baker.
“This is a staple for this area. They do so much for the military, and this is nostalgic for me because I’m from Jacksonville and this is where my family is from,” Baker says.
Whole Hog Café NLR opened its doors in 2007 after 30 years of BBQ competitions. Since then, it’s gained a reputation for its delicious ribs, smoked chickens, sausages and brisket. The owners/operators, Rich Cosgrove and Nancy Green, have been smoking and preparing meat for roughly 40 years.
One of the highlights of the Whole Hog Café NLR experience is the dry rub ribs.
“My brother came up with this recipe about 27 years ago, and we won the world championship with that rub in Memphis. We went from selling an average of 220 racks a week to not less than 300 in about two months,” Cosgrove says.
Williams pointed out one of the key differences between Whole Hog and its competitors – time.
“Ya’ll do it the right way,” Williams says. “You took us in the kitchen, and you said it usually takes brisket maybe one day or a couple hours.”
By contrast, the cooks at Whole Hog cook brisket for three days before it’s ready.
Baker’s favorite part of the Whole Hog experience is the sauces, which she names as a favorite.
“And then you have these sauces – these are my favorites,” Baker says. “These are amazing sauces. They’ve been around forever – they’re the original sauces.”
After digging into a spread of barbecue, Baker and Williams have one verdict – “must-pick.”
“Once again, unbelievable. A must-pick spot here in Sherwood – Whole Hog is the place to be in North Little Rock,” Williams says.
Stay tuned for next week, when Baker and Williams will check out another barbecue joint. They will be heading to Jacksonville to eat at Smokin’ Buns.
Baker’s already excited, noting, “I like their loaded potato. I always stuff it with some barbecue.”
Images courtesy of Whole Hog Cafe North Little Rock