You won’t find the food at 3 Hogs BBQ on the Mediterranean diet. Not the raw food diet, either. It’s probably right off the charts for Weight Watchers’ point system. And vegans and vegetarians need not apply.
But if you want big, juicy hunks of barbecued meat, then 3 Hogs is the place for you.
It may be some of the best barbecue you have ever tried – smoky, tender and falling off the bone. The owners, Matt Albright and Allen Kuhn, have proof of their barbecue prowess, too. They’ve accumulated a variety of awards over the years, including being named Chili Champs in the Hanover Chili competition eight times.
Albright and Kuhn met when they worked at Bill Bateman’s Bistro in Hanover. They both went to Spring Grove High School, but didn’t know each other then. Kuhn studied culinary arts at YTI in York. The chefs always wanted to have their own business.
Recently, their talents have been in such high demand that Albright and Kuhn opened up their own place right next to Good Field in Hanover. Teaming up with another barbecue aficionado, Ed Hershey, the three amigos decided to call their place 3 Hogs BBQ. It’s taken off like wildfire – or maybe more like a nice, slow-cooking smoker fire with the lure of meaty goodness.
Finding 3 Hogs BBQ is a little tricky. It’s located at 50 North Forney Road in Hanover, at the rear of the parking lot next to Winebrenner’s Bike Shop. Just a few yards away from Harley-Davidsons and vintage motorbikes, 3 Hogs is set back next to the baseball diamond.
The building looks more like a shed than a barbecue palace. Actually, it is kind of a shed.
“This was the concession stand for Good Field,” explains Albright. “In nice weather, we open it up and serve barbecue outside.”
In winter weather, the sides are shut down and hooked closed. But you don’t have to worry about the cold winter chill. With huge smokers working their magic just outside and hot barbecue being heaped onto plates and rolls, the scent of smoked meats works pretty much like a fireplace or coal stove. It’s downright toasty and smells mouthwatering at the same time. Take off your jacket and gloves and relax. You’re going to need both hands.
At 3 Hogs, they really pile it on. The barbecue is served in big red baskets with lots of napkins. At the center of it all is the meat.
On any given day, the meat selection includes beef brisket, pulled pork, pulled turkey, pit beef and ham. The meats do vary sometimes, so have a second choice, just in case.
The other big part of the equation – besides the meat – is the sauce. And there are several options there, as well. Albright’s favorite is the Carolina gold, while Kuhn likes the honey chipotle. There are also hot barbecue, Kansas City and Carolina red.
The perfectly smoked meats and tasty house-made sauces are what draw folks to this tiny red building. You can order your meat as a platter with a choice of sides, or you can go with a sandwich served with one side.
Speaking of the sides, the mac and cheese might be the best ever. And this is coming from a self-proclaimed mac and cheese devotee. The 3 Hogs version is made with tons of real cheddar cheese, so it’s a thick, gloppy mess of deliciousness that demands a second helping (and maybe a third).
The sweet potato waffle fries might be the closest thing to health food at 3 Hogs. They are sweet and crisp, and served with a caramel cream sauce. There are also seasoned waffle fries, coleslaw and baked beans, along with additional sides.
There are tasty appetizers, like smoky fried mozzarella balls served with tomato and pepper bisque, that award-winning chili, dry-rubbed smoked wings, bloomin’ onions and pulled pork eggrolls.
And the sandwiches! 3 Hogs sandwiches are heaped with meat on a fresh roll. Really heaped.
Examples? Well, you can get one of their specialty sandwiches, like the barbecue cheesesteak (with chopped smoked beef, barbecue sauce, provolone and onion straws). There’s a country fried chicken sandwich topped with cheddar cheese and house-smoked bacon. The pork dip is 3 Hogs’ version of the French dip, with shredded pork shoulder, fried onions and Swiss cheese, served au jus.
Entrees range from the rib platter with a half or full rack of dry rubbed, smoked ribs to the island chicken with pineapple and teriyaki sauce and pineapple salsa. The El Guapo Sloppo burrito is loaded with meat, beans, rice, cheddar cheese, chipotle sour cream, guacamole, barbecue sauce, Fritos and salsa.
At 3 Hogs BBQ, the setting is super-relaxed, with shiny industrial tabletops and chalkboards for graffiti. It’s BYOB, so you can bring your own beer – which seems necessary to enjoy this hearty, meaty fare.
And if you have any trouble finding the place, just follow your nose.
• 50 North Forney Avenue, Hanover; 965-0399
• Wednesday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. and Sunday, 11 a.m.-8 p.m.
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