Porky’s Pride Real Pit BBQ – Albuquerque, New Mexico (CLOSED)

Porky's Real Pit Barbecue in its new home on 4th Street
Porky’s Real Pit Barbecue in its new home on 4th Street

The genesis of America’s popular music–country, jazz and even rock and roll–is rooted in the soul and sounds of Mississippi Delta blues–sounds born in the disgraceful shadow of slavery and lyrics which echoed the grievous plight and painful lament of workers in plantations and fields.  It is a tribute to the resilience of a people that the music of their lament evolved over the centuries to bring succor, alacrity and pride to generations.

Given poor quality meat, those plantation workers dug pits in the ground in which they cooked the poor cuts of pigs or meat they were allowed to raise. When emancipated, the pit masters introduced their prowess over the barbecue pit throughout the United States. The American epicenters of barbecue excellence–Texas, Memphis, Kansas City and the Carolinas–all owe their barbecue roots to the deep south.

Today, the term “real pit barbecue” rarely refers to a big hole in the ground. A barbecue pit is almost always above ground in a steel “oven” in which meat revolves on racks until just right.  The pit master’s prowess is showcased in the way he or she deftly manipulates indirect heat and wood smoke to produce the inimitable flavor that has made barbecue not only a national tradition, but a veritable piece of Americana.

Combination plate with sausage and rib tips
Combination plate with sausage and rib tips

Southern-born (Southern New Mexico) pit master Guy Nix has been “messing around with BBQ since I was a teenager…more seriously since about 1992’ish.”  As a 14-year old he bought his father a smoker for Father’s Day, but it wasn’t his father who was interested in the craft; it was Guy, who relates that he ruined thousands of dollars worth of meat in perfecting the smoking process.  Now that he’s got it down pat, he’s been plying his craft in restaurants throughout New Mexico, Oregon  and Arizona.

In January, 2008, he launched Porky’s Pride Real Pit BBQ in a 2400-square foot edifice in the barbecue-starved Northeast Heights. Five months later he opened a second restaurant in another barbecue deprived section of the city, Albuquerque’s far North Valley.  The worldwide economic malaise forced the closure of the original location on Juan Tabo while fortuitous fate precipitated a move about a quarter mile south of his initial Forth Street location.

Porky’s is now situated in a heavily trafficked section of Los Ranchos de Albuquerque, an area quickly becoming a dining destination.  Clustered in a one block radius within easy walking distance of each other are Sadie’s Dining Room, Ezra’s Place, Sophia’s Place and Hurley’s Coffee, Tea & Bistro.  Porky’s Pride won’t take a back seat to any of them.

Combination plate with chicken and pulled pork
Combination plate with chicken and pulled pork

Porky’s Pride is down-home, down-to-earth and as American as Waylon and Willie whom you’re more likely to hear on the sound system than any Mississippi Delta blues. It’s only natural that country music be the music of choice at a Guy Nix restaurant. That’s because the affable proprietor has been making good country music even longer than he’s been making good barbecue. Guy has temporarily shelved his CMT (that’s Country Music Television for you sophisticates) ambitions to concentrate on his restaurant.  Admittedly a man of many passions (cars, music, motorcycles, etc.), Guy has shelved them all (at least temporarily) to invest all he’s got into his barbecue restaurant.  That’s how much he believes in it.

As good as his music is, his barbecue is even better. It’s the type of barbecue that transcends cultural and social divides; it’s white and blue collar food with nary an aspect of highfalutin to it. It’s slow-smoked and fast-eaten, the American way.  It’s the type of barbecue which can trace its genesis to the Mississippi Delta.  It’s barbecue that feels like the South, but it’s also barbecue that can’t be pigeonholed into one category.

Though the ambience and aromas may resonate stereotypical barbecue joint, Porky’s Pride has the most ambitious menu of any barbecue eatery in town.  It’s as diverse a menu as you’ll find anywhere, offering not only bodacious barbecue, but New Mexican food entrees in the style of Las Cruces where he grew up and steak so good Porky’s might just become your destination of choice for USDA choice or better top sirloin, flat iron, rib eye and even Porterhouse steaks (more on that later).

Pulled pork deliciousness wrapped inside a tortilla
Pulled pork deliciousness wrapped inside a tortilla

Porky’s Pride makes it possible to enjoy three square meals a day with little semblance among each of the three (though the commonality will be deliciousness).  The breakfast menu includes as impressive a line-up of breakfast burritos as there is in the city as well as a stuffed French toast the likes of which are rarely seen in these parts. It’s casserole style French toast with the syrup built in along with bits of bacon and cream cheese. It’s dusted with confectioner’s sugar and includes a side of maple syrup.  This is a popular breakfast entree and if you don’t get to Porky’s early, the restaurant may have run out.

If you’re feeling a little bit country and a little bit New Mexico (with apologies to Donnie and Marie), lunch options include Porky’s Q-Ritto where you can wrap up any meats in a “big ole flour tortilla” burrito style. There’s a little bit of irony here since the first Porky’s Pride 4th Street restaurant was on the former corrugated steel edifice that once housed the Albuquerque Tortilla Company.  At any regard, the O-Rittos are terrific–eight-inch tortillas enveloping nicely smoked pulled pork and, if you request it, green chile.

Build your own combo platters for lunch and dinner will satisfy even the most rapacious of carnivores. One, two, three and four meat platters can be crafted from pulled pork, pulled chicken, hot links, beef brisket and rib tips. All platters are served with triple baked beans and your choice of coleslaw, potato salad, garlic mashers or fries and garnished with diced onion and a dill pickle spear.  In addition to these sides, the menu includes a creative array of appetizers: fried mac-n-cheese, pop-a-tops (breaded jalapeno halves stuffed with cream cheese), peel and eat shrimp, jumbo wings, catfish nuggets and corn fritters, rib tips and more.

Meaty rib tips are also off-the-bone tender and juicy. Each rib tip has a nice crusty outer core just above the smoke ring that typifies great barbecue. There’s a lot of meat on them there bones and it’s absolutely mouth-watering.

Onion rings at Porky's Real Pit BBQ
Onion rings at Porky’s Real Pit BBQ

In his Dilbert Blog, nationally syndicated cartoonist Scott Adams questions why “so-called natural meat eaters feel the need to disguise their food by cutting it into steaks, cooking it, and covering it with barbecue sauce.” He posits that “if eating meat is natural, you would expect it to make you hungry in its natural condition. Looking at a cow should make you salivate when you are hungry.”

He does make one salient point in that few, if any of us, would salivate at the sight of fatted cows grazing on green grass, but you’ll need extra napkins to wipe your mouth upon receipt of a Porky’s Pride combination platter. You’ll immediately dig in lustily.

The hot links, stuffed in a natural casing, snap when bitten into and release their tangy spiciness. The links are sliced diagonally into slightly larger than bite-sized chunks. With or without sauce, they star.

Porterhouse steak, a powerful piece of meat!
Porterhouse steak, a powerful piece of meat!

Porky’s meats are the antithesis of the type of meat to which I refer as Ivory Snow in that they’re NOT 99 and 44/100 percent pure. You’ll find a fatty or sinewy sliver of meat here or there and plenty of dark meat, but that, too, is Americana. The pulled pork falls apart at the touch of a fork. It’s a moist and tender pulled pork imbued with more than a hint of hickory smokiness.

That smokiness is also imparted on the barbecue sauce which is slathered generously on your platter. The sauce hints more than subtly at being spicy, smoky and sweet, an unbeatable barbecue sauce combination.  You’ll want to take home a bottle of that sauce which Guy is in the formative stages of bottling and distributing (not only the sauce, but his salsa and more).  The sauce, by the way, is served hot.  That’s because Guy knows if you serve smoked meats hot, they have a tendency to dry quickly.  To keep them moist and juicy, he serves the meats warm and the sauce hot.  It’s a fantastic sauce which you won’t find sitting on the table.  It’s served to order so you can get it hot, the way it should be.  It’s a sauce that’s very complementary of the dry rub Guy uses which isn’t always the case at barbecue restaurants which offer five or six different sauces but use only one dry rub.

Several so-called grill masters I know wonder if I’m smoking something when I explain it’s possible to smoke a great burger.  Rio Rancho’s Smokehouse Barbecue Restaurant has proven me right several times with a smoke burger that has prompted nearly a hundred visits to that restaurant.  At the risk of being accused of heresy, Porky’s Pride makes a better smoke burger than the Smokehouse.  Porky’s smokey cheese burger is a half-pound Angus all-beef patty smoked then broiled to order and topped with two types of cheese.  It’s available in single, double, triple and even quad sizes.  You’ll want yours with green chile and bacon with barbecue sauce on the side for baptismal style immersion of bite-sized portions of the burger.  This smoked burger has both a smoky flavor from the smoking process and a charbroiled flavor from being heated on the grill upon order.  It’s the best of both worlds.

Porky's Smoke Cheese Burger and Fries
Porky’s Smoke Cheese Burger and Fries

The most worthy accompaniment to any barbecue is baked beans and Porky’s Pride shines in that department with triple baked beans, the likes of which I last had at Hap’s Pit Barbecue in Phoenix, Arizona.  It didn’t surprise me that Guy developed the concept and menu which has made Hap’s one of the most highly regarded barbecue restaurants in the Phoenix metropolitan area (Porky’s Pride is better).   The trio of Navy, kidney and lima beans joins ground beef and bacon in a sauce of equal pronouncements sweet and savory. This isn’t a triple; it’s a home-run, some of the best baked beans in town.

Available for either lunch or dinner are steaks and chops the likes of which you might find at a Chophouse in Chicago.  All chops are cooked to order on a Montague Steak Broiler which broils with infrared radiant heat which sears in all the juices and flavor.  The temperatures on this broiler reach 2,500 degrees which means the heat intensity penetrates all exposed surfaces of the meat.  This broiling process, by the way, is the same one used at high-end, high-dollar steakhouses such as Ruth’s Chris.

The Duke City won’t pay Ruth’s Chris prices for an outstanding steak at Porky’s Pride.  In fact, at under $23, an outstanding steak can be had at Porky’s Pride for about a third of what you’d pay at Ruth’s Chris.  The most expensive cut of steak offered is the Porterhouse, a beefy behemoth at 20-ounces of glorious, perfectly seasoned and perfectly broiled meat.  This is a very tender, very juicy steak which explodes with flavor.  If you love a great steak, this is one you’ve got to try.

Enchiladas with fire-roasted chile
Enchiladas with fire-roasted chile

Exemplifying just how much Guy Nix wants his cuisine to stand out is his willingness to pay almost a dollar a pound more for the green chile he uses on his New Mexican food.  If you’ve ever noticed a boring sameness among the green chile at many Albuquerque restaurants, it’s because many of them obtain their chile from the same supplier.  Not Porky’s Pride which pays a premium for fire-roasted chile which has a discernible flavor that stands out.  Not especially piquant, it accentuates the fruitiness and flavor of chile.  An excellent way to sample it is on enchiladas, three corn tortillas stacked with beef, pork or chicken then topped with Cheddar cheese and that terrific green chile.

Porky’s Pride exemplifies the type of barbecue that has become as American as barbecue and country music, a combination that can’t be beaten.

Porky’s Pride Real Pit BBQ
6136 4th Street, N.W.
Albuquerque, NM

LATEST VISIT: 16 October 2009
1st VISIT: 1 July 2008
# OF VISITS:4
RATING: 22
COST: $$
BEST BET: Combination Platter (pulled pork, chicken, rib tips, hot links), triple beans, Porterhouse steak, onion rings, Porky’s Smokey Cheese Burger & Fries, Q-Rittos

About Gil Garduno

Since 2008, the tagline on Gil’s Thrilling (And Filling) Blog has invited you to “Follow the Culinary Ruminations of New Mexico’s Sesquipedalian Sybarite.” To date, nearly 1 million visitors have trusted (or at least visited) my recommendations on nearly 1,100 restaurant reviews. Please take a few minutes to tell me what you think. Whether you agree or disagree with me, I'd love to hear about it.

View all posts by Gil Garduno →

26 Comments on “Porky’s Pride Real Pit BBQ – Albuquerque, New Mexico (CLOSED)”

  1. I am sad they are gone. Yet another victim of this economy. I had a great experience there and have a hard time believing that anyone else really had a bad experience. As it is with most resteraunts if you bring it to the attention of the staff, “and you are not a beligerant asshole” it will most always be fixed. My brisket was excellent and it was really nice and the staff extremely friendly, I would love to have the recipes for the sauces as they were awesome! It was also really nice to see a BBQ joint that didnt try to put green chili in all of their sauces. “NO GREEN CHILI DOES NOT MAKE EVERYTHING BETTER.” It is good just dont belong in BBQ. Miss you guys you were awesome.

  2. Whoa…for those who Emailed me Offline….Y’all are really Sick Puppies…LOL. There are no restaurants which specialize in Road-Kill in TN nor NM !!!

  3. My late Vieja was indeed a Lady as I never heard her speak an untoward Spanish expression…well, that I knew of. The worst perhaps was something like “Este via bien!”…which I took, for better or worse, to mean “Go ahead, do it your way….do what ya gotta do Bubba, but Lots of Luck Senor!.”

    Granted, I ate only once at Porky’s. Perhaps I was really let down or amiss to naught return by letting that visit be a “Gimme”, i.e. was it just a lousy day? Be that as it may, I am compelled to make a notation lest readers may now have qualms about yumming or chomping down in what’s available in Nashville!!! which is a really great place to be a tourista for at least 3 days. Y’all Come…ya hear?Besides the classic or haute honky tonks of downtown and around, e.g. the Blue Bird in the Green Hills neighborhood where many upstarts got their starts, there’s lots to do besides getting your fill of C-W!

    OMG! if nothing else – if you can only fly in and have to fly out – just to go to Jimmy Kelly’s http://www.jimmykellys.com/index.htm for their CORN FRIED CAKES (which is not ’corn bread’) served as your dining’s…ah…er… foreplay to their steaks! Otherwise, go especially NOW post Thanksgiving for this time (Eh… the chiggers have died out too!) often known as La Fiesta sin un Nombre (for those sooo PC) to stroll (for FREE) the multi-paths of poinsettias (more than Y’all will see in your lifetime!), carolers, dioramas-of-the-season, and musical water syncopations you may espy from the rotating beverage lounges in the “mega-atrium” ** of the Opryland Hotel (after this year’s flood renovations) http://tinyurl.com/2wk3947 after visiting and learning during the day about early Americana per Prez Jackson’s Hermitage estate http://tinyurl.com/29637wz , Belle Meade Plantation http://tinyurl.com/37ubfud, Cheekwood’s display of Christmas trees http://cheekwood.org/Art/Season_of_Celebration.aspx, etc. Y’all might be thusly tempted to extend your stay to make it over to Pigeon Forge/Dollywood and then just a few miles beyond to the folk shoppes in the holler of Gatlinburg http://www.gatlinburg.com/default.asp for some gift gathering! A tad beyond that Y’all can check out the extravaganza of Christmas decorations at “The Biltmore” in Ashville, NC!!!! http://tinyurl.com/267oe6z

    (In ’93 the closest we could come to New Mexican food, lest Y’all get a hankering, was a place called Las Palmas…maybe west of Hillsboro(?) in a former fast food chain restaurant. Anyway, what they called Chimichangas were what here would be taquitos!!!! Alas, there saving grace….and what I’d die for to taste today….was a kinda sweet, white sauce that was drizzled on the top…muy sabrosa! Sad what we don’t appreciate at times…LOL.

    Eh….Y’all do that trip and feel disappointed , feel free to gimme some lip!!!

    ** If you ever stopped at Sam’s Town in Vegas: that atrium was designed, but at a miniature level and more “western” theme by the guy who did the original mega, tropical Opryland.

  4. While it is dissapointing to lose a local business, the owners of Porky’s Pride just did not care. Poor customer service, a gamblers business hours and just ok food just doesn’t cut it. Guy Nix is a horrible business owner, surly to customers and negligent. Mrs. Nix is tough to deal with, who cares about your problems, I’m just a customer. Good luck to them but if they can’t cut it selling Q in Albuquerque what’s going to happen in Nashville? Good riddance.

  5. Gil,

    Unfortuately, I believe Porky’s Pride is now closed. I only ate there once, at their old Juan Tabo location. While it didn’t live up to my expectations based on the reviews I had read on this site and in the ABQ Journal, I am sad to see another BBQ place and local restaurant go out of business.

    Nate

    1. Hello Nate,

      I spoke with Wendy Nix today and she confirmed that Porky’s Pride is currently open on an abbreviated schedule. Guy and Wendy hope to be back on a more regular schedule soon.

      With the recent closure of Rio Rancho’s Mad Max’s Barbecue, it would behoove us all to continue supporting our wonderful locally owned and operated barbecue restaurants before they’re all gone. The economy has been especially tough on mom and pop restaurants. These are our friends and neighbors and I urge all readers to support them.

      Gil

  6. heard about this place on the radio. went by and looked ok. tried the sausage link, and it was below standard. now i kow why. there was a cockroach running down the side of the wall behind counter top. I asked to return food as i had not etaen it and was told no refund. i didnt eat the food as i lost my appetite when i saw the cockroach. walked out and threw the food away.

    I will NOT go back because of unsanitary reasons with ROACHES!!!

  7. May 22 2010

    Stopped for lunch with friends of ours. Two pulled pork sandwiches, one pulled chicken and one combo, also a side of onion rings. The pork was cold had them heat it up. Taste was OK. Sauce was good. Cole slaw was terrible but I’ve yet to discover any real good slaw in the whole state! Onion rings were the best I’ve had in a long time! All in all Ok nothing really stoodout except the Onion rings.

  8. Well from my first experience there, I can’t recommend the place. As a lover of great BBQ, I was excited when KOB TV offered 2 – $25 gift certs from this place which is somewhat in the vicinity of my office. When purchased, nothing was said about not being able to use it for carryout. I was told that only after I ordered. When I complained to the manager I was told “It’s not our fault”, to which I replied “Well it certainly isn’t MY fault”, They said “No, it’s KOB’s fault”. I don’t care whose fault it is, it’s their business and their responsibility to make it right with the customer…ie, me!

    The meal was alright. The sausage link was below average, but the pulled pork was okay, the brisket was actually very good, as were the triple baked beans. Didn’t care for the mac salad. I’d gone with their recommendations on the sides, so I’m assuming these were the best.

    Then came time to check out and I was told, I’d receive no change or store credit on my $25 gift cert, for what was a $13 meal.

    If the idea of the gift certs was to draw people in to get them to try the place, it’s a good one. However such a poor experience will NOT have them coming back, especially for just average food. I’ll go to places that might not have the absolute best food if the service is good and the people are friendly. Once I use my last gift cert though, I WON’T be back to Porky’s Pride. With all the choices around town with great food and great service, why bother with one that one that doesn’t have either?

  9. Just wanted to leave a note of appreciation for your fabulous food and friendly service! I’ve been there and to all your other locations and I am a fan. Your food is nothing short of addicting and I can’t wait to come back for more. I’m sorry for the people who haven’t had similar experiences to mine and hope they go back to give you another chance. Keep up the good work…we need more restaurants w/ the quality (and quantity) that you strive to provide. Thank you for your “products” and “service”…it’s unbeatable as far as I’m concerned. From just one of your loyal regulars!

  10. I am a pulled-pork lover and order it everytime I hit up a new BBQ joint. The best I’ve had is at Community Q in Decatur, GA but let’s face it, BBQ in Georgia is equivalent to green chile stew in New Mexico–> you can’t mess it up or you’ll have a ton of angry patrons. The best pulled-pork I’ve had in New Mexico thus far has been at Porky’s. The meat is always very tender and did not have the slightest trace of fat or extras on it. The sauce is delicious, as I prefer mine sweeter over the spicy sort you may find at Rudy’s. You can’t beat the prices and the service either!

  11. Jennifer, I am very sorry you had a negative experience at our restaurant. We would love for you and a guest to come back, and join us for a meal of your choice on us at any time. It is our practice to ask that people cut their steak as it is served to check for the desired cooking preference, I am sorry that did not happen.
    Once again, please stop by, and ask for myself or Wendy, we will be happy to buy you and a guest another steak or anything of your choice. Also, we were having some problems with our NEW HVAC unit, that I think are resolved now. Hope to see you soon, we do aim to please at porky’s Pride. 🙂

    Joe, I would love it if you could be more specific, we do care about peoples experience(s) at our restaurant, and would likewise offer you a meal of your choice should you decide to stop in again.

    Once again, a big thanks to Gil for providing us with a place to receive comments 🙂

    Guy Nix

  12. My friend’s brisket was good, but the sauce was too sweet for my taste. I ordered a steak medium rare and it came out well done. Didn’t have time to get another one, so I ate the sides, which were okay. I probably won’t be back, especially since it was so cold in there, we had to eat in our coats.

  13. I actually know the proprietor from other things and he had been trying to get me to come down and try out his food. Now I am quite picky when it comes to my BBQ, but I must say that Guy and Wendy are spot on with their technique. I consumed an order of the brisket, with sides of beans and potato salad. The meat was succulent and the perfect amount of fat, the beans were extraordinary in the selection of beans used, a true complement. As far as the salad was concerned, color me impressed.

    The walls were covered in nostalgia from yesteryear, and jukebox was playing the hits of the past. The service was exceptional.

    Guy and Wendy are in my opinion are Pit Masters. Keep up the good work.

  14. We ate there a few months ago. I thought it was okay. Our impression was that it was going to be a fine dining experience, and with unrealistic expectations, maybe impossible expectations, it didn’t leave up to what I expected.

    That aside, the hamburger in the picture has me drooling. And, the last New Mexican dish looks like I could inhale it. We’ll go back and select the items showcased here and articulated in the comments.

    Gil, you’re moving from local celebrity to patron saint in our household!

  15. My wife and I have been to Porky’s at their new 4th Street location three times and will continue to go back. Their BBQ is great! I had their Three Tamale meal and it was good. Everything has been fresh and flavorable. Their Fries and Onion rings are good. I have never had “Triple Baked Bean” before and it was great.

  16. We went to Porky’s today for lunch. I had the pulled chicken in a tortilla and my husband had the ribs. Both the chicken and the ribs were. The barbeque sauce was a perfect blend of sweet and tangy. The texas toast and baked beans were wonderful too. I highly recommend them !!

  17. In reference to Tg’s comment(s).

    I believe we offered to switch the Potato Salad for another side of your choice, if not, we should have because that is our policy here.
    We don’t expect everyone to like the dishes we serve, because you can’t please everyone, all the time. We do in fact stay very consistent, so the people that DO like our dishes will have the same experience each and every time.

    Overall we want everyone that walks into our doors to have a pleasant and positive experience. So, should anyone ever want to exchange their side dish, or main course for that matter, we are happy to do so. We want repeat customers, and we will do all we can to make your dining experience a pleasant one.

    Thanks very much Gil, for this fabulous website, and the nice things you have to say about our establishment. Good eating to all!!
    Guy Nix

  18. I just ate there on Saturday and was blown away by the potato salad – it was rich and eggy and the green olives were a perfect addition (to each his own). I was almost as impressed with the beans, except I didn’t like the ground beef – you would think that he would have thrown in the leftover bits from the bbq meats so it would get that flavor instead – but otherwise, they were fine. The meat was good, a bit fatty, but that’s how real bbq should be – I’m not a big fan of superlean meats. Overall – I’m dragging my friends here – its the real deal!

  19. Just ate at porkys- had the small pulled pork sandwich, slaw and potato salad.

    For a lunchtime sandwch it was pricey,nearly $10. While it tasted alright, it was nothing to write home about. It was a bit shy on smoke flavor (granted a personal taste) and was on the dry side. It was saved by the home made BBQ sauce, it was spot on. The slaw was standard issue slaw but is made in-house. The potato salad was a big dissapointment. It contained green olives in a quantity that so over salted the salad that it was inedible. Who would ever put olives in a potato salad to be served with BBQ? Upon mentioning this to the owners wife at checkout I expected to not be charged for the potato salad that had only one forkfull removed, sadly I was charged and was told that she picks the olives out. Gee ever thought about making it without olives?

    Over all it was doable BBQ. Will I go back, probably not, the atmosphere is bland and the food/service just ok.

  20. Gil……………………… I wonder why you never list Mykonos under Greek food. It doesn’t appear to be any sort of chain& the braised lamb shanks are almost as good as mine ( Which I braise in Guiness stout ).

    ?? DH

  21. Gil:

    A minor nit to pick…the photo shows Porky’s address as 6136, while your closing of your review says the address is 6770 4th St. Is the photo old?

    Dave P.

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