Michael and I thought we had a wonderful idea last night. We’d drive down to Madisonville for pizza. We’d eat at a favorite old restaurant and I’d write a review for a city I love dearly. We’ve called Owensboro home now for about 8 years, but I was born and raised in Madisonville. I went to school (From Kindergarten through High School and College… M-A-R-O-O-N-S!) in Madisonville, met Michael in Madisonville, and had two of our three daughters there.
We have family and friends still living in “The Greatest Town on Earth.” Even though Owensboro is “home,” now – Madisonville will always be my “hometown.” Fortunately we only live about 45 minutes away, so we can go back often.
It’s always fun to visit your hometown.
Saturday we intended to do so with pizza on our breath. Unfortunately, we get there and the sign (on the old Pizza House on Center Street) said, “We Are Now Closed on Saturdays!” Seriously? A pizza restaurant being closed on Saturdays? Isn’t that kind of like Waffle House being closed in the morning?
Whatever. We raised three daughters – you can’t shock us that easily.
We drove around as we considered our options.
When we came to the spot where Baskin Robbins once stood, I wondered where the ice cream wonderland that I’d spent so much time with my three little girls was. Adorably, they always called it “Baskets and Robins,” and we never saw fit to tell them the real name. Their’s was much cuter.
As a BBQ fiend like none other, Michael only saw what now stood in its place: “Dave’s Sticky Pig Smokehouse.” The boys eyes light up and I knew, immediately, what we’d be having for supper.
There were quite a few people there when we walked in – always a good sign. Then again, we knew we’d made the right decision as soon as we got out of the car. We floated into the restaurant on the jet stream of an amazing smokey aroma. I knew that if I was enjoying the aroma, my BBQ obsessed husband had to be in 7th Heaven.
I ordered my favorite thing in BBQ restaurants – the pulled pork sandwich, baked beans, and potato salad. BBQ King ordered ribs, coleslaw, and baked beans.
When our plates were brought to us (by a very, very friendly young man), Michael nearly passed out. His plate was, literally, piled with ribs. I’ve seen him order ribs all over the state (as well as other states), but I’ve never seen such a generous serving. He all but cried with joy.
Something I noticed right away (and loved) was the fact that there are quite a few bottles of sauce on each table to choose from. Love that! Like a kid in a candy store, Michael always samples each flavor of sauce. I’m much more basic – I go for the sweetest one of the bunch.
My pulled pork sandwich was darn good. A combination of being married to Michael and living in Owensboro (the “BBQ Capital of the World”) has made me quite the BBQ connoisseur. I can quickly detect when the pork has been smoked (… and why fix it any other way?) or not. I can spot cheap sauce three miles away, and I’m all kinds of particular about the buns, onions, and pickles. So, when I say the pulled pork sandwich was “darn good,” you can certainly take my word.
If you read my Kentucky Restaurant Reviews regularly, you know that I’m also a stickler for “sides.” These too-often overlooked menu items are of the utmost importance to me. You can tell A LOT about a restaurant, its owner, and its staff simply by walking in and sampling the sides. When the owner’s heart is completely in his/her business, the sides will tell the story. If their heart is only half there, you can tell that too. My baked beans and potato salad told me that these people were in it heart and soul. The beans were excellent and the potato salad was some of the best I’ve ever had out.
My husband loved his coleslaw, but I thought the potato salad was a much, much better choice.
As for the ribs, there is a particular BBQ restaurant that Michael has always used as his “gauge” for perfect ribs. When we left, he told me that the Sticky Pig’s ribs were better than their’s! If you knew how many ribs this boy has eaten over the years – and how many never even came close to his “gauge” restaurant, you’d know just how much that says for Dave’s Sticky Pig. He’s told 105 people since then that they HAVE to go have ribs in Madisonville. It was funny, when the ribs were sat down in front of him, he asked me, “Aren’t they beautiful?!” I was like, “Um, sure…” I just never really thought of ribs as things of beauty, I guess.
What is beautiful, though, is finding a special new restaurant, especially when it’s a locally-owned, off-the-beaten-path gem like Dave’s Sticky Pig. The magic of finding these special places never gets old. I hope it’s something you’ll remember the next time you look for a restaurant. Don’t be afraid to give new restaurants a chance. There’s a lot to be said for having your neighbor’s back… especially when he has a smoker. The Sticky Pig is a father and son business which, to me, makes the magic even sweeter.
From Dave’s Sticky Pig’s Facebook: Pulled Pork, St Louis Style Ribs, Beef Brisket, Smoked Chicken, Smoked Ham, Cajun Smoked Turkey, BBQ Smoked Bologna. Cooked the old fashioned way using real wood, never gas. House made sides using recipes proven over time to be better than anything out of a package. Come to visit, or take home dinner. Drive thru open and we take call in orders. Discounts for large orders.
I hated leaving the big adorable pig in the hat. I actually collect pigs (not real… the husband frowns upon the idea), and thought he’d make a handsome addition. We’re huge Michael Waltrip fans, so we loved the hat he was wearing. We overheard one of the workers telling a customer that he changes his hat daily. A fashion forward pig. I like that.
Dave’s Sticky Pig is located at 206 Madison Square Drive. It’s the easiest restaurant in the world to find. Just roll your window down and let your nose do the rest. The Heavenly smoky smell is the only gps you’ll need.
Mon: 11:00 am – 6:00 pm
Tue – Sat: 11:00 am – 8:00 pm
Sun: 11:00 am – 5:00 pm
Phone & Fax: 270-326-5100 or fax 326-5102
From the Sticky Pig Menu:
Specializing in real wood smoked BBQ, seasoned well with a dry rub, cooked low and slow over real wood – never gas – and served with sauce on the side.
Sticky Pig Sauce: Our signature sauce gets its unique flavor from a blend of tomatoes, spices, and Sam Adams beer. It’s tart and spicy without being too hot or too sweet! This old family recipe is one of our favorites.
Carolina Pepper Sauce: Vinegar and cayenne pepper blend with added spices similar to sauces served on the east coast of the Carolinas. Our hottest sauce!
Alabama White Sauce: A different kind of sauce, usually found in Northern Alabama. Vinegar and mayo based, with white pepper and other spices. Goes great with chicken!
Texas Tomato: Made with tomatoes, real clover honey and other spices. Tart & tangy, but not hot at all. This sauce is served around the Dallas – Ft. Worth area in Central Texas. Goes great with our brisket!
Auburn Orange: A mustard-based sauce that’s both sweet and a little spicy. A sauce similar to this is served across Georgia and Central Alabama. It’s orange in color and quite sweet. It’s a nice dipping sauce.
Memphis Mild: Nice “Middle of the road” sauce popular in Western Tennessee. Thick and a little sweet, it’s very smooth and not spicy at all!
Sandwiches: Pork, Brisket, Turkey, Ham, Chicken Salad, Bologna, Mutton (when available).
Plates (All plates are served with two regular sides and bread of your choice): Pork, 1/2 Chicken, Brisket, 1/4 Rack Ribs, 1/2 Rack Ribs, Turkey, Ham, Chicken Salad, Bologna, Mutton (when available).
Sides: Cole Slaw, Potato Salad, Baked Beans, Green Beans, Mac & Cheese, Burgoo, Soup of the Day, Pasta Salad, Baked Potato (when available), Chips
Bulk (Packed and sold by the pound with your choice of sauce on the side.): Pulled Pork, Beef Brisket, Smoked Cajun Turkey, Smoked Ham, Chicken Salad, Smoked Bologna, Mutton (when available).
*** On site catering options available as well.
*** Like Dave’s Sticky Pig on Facebook – daily specials available for Facebook Friends!
*** I didn’t list prices above because, like seasons, prices sometimes change. However, I will say this – the prices are uncommonly reasonable. You get a very generous amount of meat and a fair amount of each side. Plus, everything’s ridiculously delicious!
Directions to Dave’s Sticky Pig in Madisonville (206 Madison Square Drive):