Dining Review- Union Pig & Chicken by: Suz Pisano
Pittsburgh is known for a lot of things- football, Heinz products, pierogies & Primanti’s sandwiches. Barbeque has certainly not been one of them- until now. Chef Kevin Sousa has opened a concept restaurant serving up delicious barbeque at Union Pig & Chicken and you must give it a try. Nightwire visited this awesome spot and I can’t wait to tell you about our experience!
Located on Highland Avenue in the heart of East Liberty, Union Pig & Chicken offers a menu with what seems like an unlimited possibility of combinations and flavors, The concept is simplicity created with great ingredients. Serving only 5 kinds of meats- Pork Shoulder ($12), St. Louis ribs (half $16/full $22), Brisket ($13), BBQ chicken (half $11/full $17), Fried Chicken (half $11/full $17) and a nice selection of sides from the best corn bread I’ve ever had, to coleslaw, greens, baked beans and mac & cheese. You could literally eat there a lot and never have the same thing twice. Meats are presented with three different house made sauces – a tomato based barbeque sweetened with sugar and flavored with a little bourbon, an apple cider vinegar with dried chile and maple, and my personal favorite- the habanero which definitely adds a kick. Multiple sauces make up interesting combinations, so don’t be afraid to try more than one sauce at a time! The preparation of the meats are definitely the key to their success. Each meat has a specific time consuming preparation whether it be a dry rub on the ribs, which are cooked low & slow or the smoked brisket. Sauces compliment the meat and it might take a few try’s or a few combinations to find your favorite.
On the evening that Nightwire visited, we quickly determined that this is a really fun restaurant if you like sharing. We love sharing and recommending to each other different combinations of flavor. My suggestion- take a few friends and order family style. We tried almost everything on the menu. The brisket and the ribs rivaled each other as the favorite by our group. I, of course, loved everything including the pork shoulder which was very tender & moist. The BBQ chicken was also moist and delicious – a perfect canvas for the different sauces.
Manny, our resident photographer, loves mac & cheese and at Union Pig & Chicken. He had the plain mac & cheese and the meaty mac which has a bit of brisket mixed in the creamy cheesy dish. I couldn’t pick a favorite mac & cheese but I really enjoyed the baked beans, greens and cornbread. The cornbread is buttery and so delicious that I took the 2 bites that I couldn’t finish home with me! It’s that good. The cole slaw is fresh and crisp with the perfect balance of creamy and crunch.
Combos are also offered if you’re not with a sharing group, dining alone and definitely want some leftovers to go. Order your choice of Ribs + Pork + Brisket ($20), or any 2 from (Ribs/Pork/Brisket) + Side + Cornbread ($20). You can also substitute half BBQ / Fried chicken for any combo meat ($5). The Nightwire crew had leftovers & I can attest that everything was super good the next day!
Lunch is served at Union Pig & Chicken from 11am to 2:30pm, BBQ Sandwich (Chicken/Pork/Brisket) + Side + Fountain Drink ($10) or 1/4 fried Chicken (White/Dark) + Side + Fountain drink ($7). Lunch certainly seems like a great value for such awesome real food.
Upstairs of Union Pig & Chicken, Harvard & Highland serves up delicious cocktails, which can be enjoyed in a lounge-like atmosphere. The owner looks forward to expanding and opening a billiards room, which will add to the casual atmosphere. You can order a craft beer, choose from a nice selection of bourbons, ryes & whiskies upstairs or downstairs. Servers are very knowledgeable about cooking processes so don’t be afraid to ask questions if you’d like a cocktail or whiskey pairing.
We sampled the H&H Sour ($9) Bourbon, Maple, Lemon, Egg White, Tiki Bitters – this drink is by far the best Whiskey Sour I had ever had, with its foamy egg white on top.. yummy! Next we sampled A Common Plot of Land ($10) Bourbon, Rye, Luxardo, Smoked Onion Fernet Branca (an Italian bitter) served with a brandy soaked grape. The Common Plot is a twist on an old favorite a Manhattan and it truly was an amazing drink. We also sampled Vital Statistics ($11) which features Calvados, Bonal Gentiane-Quina, Benedictine, Ango, this drink was over the top and definitely all three drinks were ones we will definitely go back and order. Can’t wait to try some of the other specialty cocktails all made with top shelf liquor and house made syrups and fresh ingredients.
Union Pig & Chicken is open daily: Monday – Thursday, 11 a.m. – 10 p.m., bar until 2 a.m.
Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. – 1 a.m., bar until 2 a.m. Sunday, 10 a.m. – 9 p.m., bar until 11 p.m.
Sunday brunch offers Chicken & Waffles & I cannot wait to get there to give that a try!
Union Pig & Chicken- 220 N. HIGHLAND AVE PGH PA 15206