In this series of posts Diana (@foodologyca), Mark (@fooddaddyca), and I were visiting Oliver for the weekend. We were in BC’s wine country to attend an inaugural winery event. But since we were in the area, and needed to eat anyways, we decided to scout ahead and visit some restaurants, as recommended by locals. One such place was Hammer’s House of Hog. Seeing we three were BBQ enthusiasts, we decided to make it our first stop.
Hammer’s is a stationary food truck serving up home spun barbecue by the park. A one-man operation, with smoked meats prepared daily and served until it all sells out. He opens at 11:30am, and this typically happens by 12-1pm. We made a bee-line here, with a washroom break and a feet stretching session in Hedley. We arrived 20 minutes before they opened their shutters for the day, and were still the 3rd in line.
But unfortunately, by the time we got to the front of the line, all the rib tips were all sold out, purchased in bulk by the two men who were waiting in queue way before us, and everyone else. This would lead me to believe that that was the one to order, and the best thing from off of their limited menu. However, according to the shop owner, they are what he likes the least and they are the worst to make.
As a result, we were forced to look to their variety of pulled pork options to fill our stomachs instead. As is with sides, and sandwiched in-between buns. The Pulled pork sandwich was available as a bun or wrap, finished off with coleslaw and your choice of sauces.
Hammer’s has 4 different sauces to choose from. Have them in-sandwich or on the side as a dip. Each house made, inspired by a selection of authentic barbecue sauces from across the Southern United States.
The South Carolina mustard, is just that: a mustard; and not a fully developed sauce as you would believe it ought to be.
The North Carolina red is a tomato and vinegar based hot sauce, known for its thinner consistency. This ate like vinegar, but included a dull spicy tingle as well. Very faint, you need a lot to saturate and flavour in full.
I liked the Kansas City sweet and spicy BBQ sauce, as it was the most punchy in flavour. It is also the thickest of the sauces and ate like what most of us believe proper barbecue sauce should be.
The Alabama great white came in second, as a peppery mayo-based sauce that well played off with the tang above.
With 4 different sauce choices and only 2 in the 2 buns we ordered, we would lean on our restaurant proprietor’s suggestions. He has his pulled pork with the North Carolina red and Alabama great white as a blend. But the Kansas City sweet and spicy is the most popular one to order.
Having tried both versions of the burger, we couldn’t taste a difference that either sauce made. The meat was tender and there was plenty of it, we just wanted more seasoning on it. More salt and spices, outside of what the sauces added. Luckily, we ordered a side of each and were able to use them all together to inject some much-needed zest into this. Similarly, there was not enough coleslaw within the burger to balance out all the softened textures with its creamy crunch.
And once again, we ordered slaw on the side and was able to pick from a whole container’s worth as needed. It was just a shame that this too we found lacked seasoning. We also discovered that we had more than enough of the slaw and did not need a side of it. There was a whole serving hidden as a bottom layer, under the portion of “Naked pulled pork”, served as is. This was exactly the same slaw and pork featured everywhere else.
The only side not represented in any other dish is the Bar-b-q baked beans. A cup of watery and sandy beans that too lacked salt.
In conclusion, we ate it all because we were hungry, but certainly not as memorable as we hoped it would be and on the disappointing side. But for locals, who don’t have the diversity of a big city hub, this is all that is available, and I am sure hits the spot adequately.
Hammer’s House of Hog
6607 Main St, Oliver, BC V0H 1T0