Passion for Pork


Mijune - Wednesday, October 29, 2014


Restaurant: Peckinpah
Cuisine: BBQ/Southern/Soul/American
Location: Vancouver, BC (Gastown)
Address: 2 Water Street
Transit: Stadium-Chinatown Skytrain
Price Range: $10-20

1Poor 2OK 3Good 4Very good 5Excellent 6FMF Must Try!

Food: 4
Service: 4 (sit at the bar)
Ambiance: 3
Overall: 4
Additional comments:

  • Carolina Style BBQ
  • Locally sourced meats
  • Sustainable meats
  • House smoked meats
  • Home made sauces
  • Affordable
  • Very casual
  • Family friendly
  • Bourbon list
  • Local craft beers
  • Patio seating
  • Open late
  • Sun – Thu: 11am – Midnight
  • Fri & Sat: 11am – 2am

**Recommendations: Pulled Pork, Mac ‘N Cheese, Hush Puppies, Pork Ribs, Brisket and I heard the sausage is good, but I didn’t get to try it. The service feels more attentive at the bar and you get random samples sometimes. Sit at the bar – they’re nice!

The more I read and study about the world of barbeque the less I think I know about it. I have a growing appreciation for this art and it is so much more than putting meat on a grill or throwing meat in a smoker. There is a great deal of attention and care that goes into preparing the meats and then there is a certain way they are meant to be eaten. Yes, there are “BBQ rituals” and it goes way beyond eating ribs with your hands.

Barbeque is regional and there are so many different styles for it. Barbeque isn’t really the lifestyle or choice of food on the West Coast, so I don’t think the majority really knows or is even exposed to all the styles out there. I for one am still learning, but each area is very distinct and unique with how they treat their barbeque.

In Vancouver it’s a type of cuisine that doesn’t get as much love or respect as I think it deserves. Let’s put it this way, we have a reputable amount of vegetarians and vegans. While I can appreciate that food, I am a carnivore at heart. There is the niche market that worships the technicalities of barbeque and then there are the others that see it as typical American Southern food that can be easily done at home. Yes it can be, but if this is the only way you see it, then you haven’t been introduced to the real world of barbeque. There is a serious side to it.

I’ve heard many mixed things about Peckinpah and they once tweeted “it’s a love it or hate it kind of place”, and that could be very true. I’m really glad they emphasize “CAROLINA STYLE BBQ”, but even so I don’t think most people know what that means. Fair enough that you don’t have to, and in the end it just matters whether or not it tasted good and that you liked it, but knowing about the history and style can teach you how to appreciate and understand their BBQ on another level. It’s the same thing with any cuisine and I’m still finding my way around barbeque and discovering what I prefer. I want to know how to distinguish the styles of barbeque.

Generally there are 4 distinct styles of BBQ (image from

Peckinpah is Carolina Style BBQ as opposed to Memphis style, Kansas City style, Texas style, St. Louis style, Kentucky style and Cajun style BBQ. That’s just naming the popular ones only in the States too. There are more BBQ styles than I know about and have yet to experience. I’ve done “Follow Me Foodie” trips to Texas and New Orleans, but that doesn’t mean I really know what it’s like and if anything it just gave me a better idea. I still haven’t been to Carolina and it’s probably the State that is most serious about barbeque, especially when it comes to pork.

Even in Carolina you’ll start a shouting match with the different styles of BBQ and which one is the best. There is North Carolina BBQ, South Carolina BBQ, Eastern North Carolina BBQ, Western North Carolina style BBQ and Lexington style BBQ. There may even be more, but anything past that is beyond me right now. Even locals have a hard time agreeing on what is and isn’t “authentic” of their area. Each area is specific with their BBQ and Peckinpah seems Eastern North Carolina BBQ to me. The chef (who I think is gone now) actually studied BBQ in Carolina and based on what I have learned this seemed legit to me. Many things aligned with the books and suggested “authentic”, but there were some West Coast aspects that I think they incorporated to satisfy the tastes of customers.

Peckinpah is not a style of BBQ that is for everybody and that’s why I stress that you have to understand the style to appreciate it. Personally I thought it was solid and I would go back. It’s also affordable for an area that seems to be going more non-affordable, and I liked the casual feel of it. The meats are well sourced and everything is house made, but the only thing I question is its consistency. Since I’ve only been once I can’t comment, but the mixed feedback makes me hesitate to recommend it, unless it’s just the uncommon style that’s causing the “love it”/”hate it” opinions. If it’s North Carolina BBQ you’re looking for though, I really don’t know if you can get more authentic than this in the context of Vancouver. Blue Smoke BBQ (food truck) specializes in the Western North Carolina BBQ, but even that will be different than this.

On the table:

**Lil’ bit of Pork and Beef4.5/6 (Very good-Excellent)

  • Beef brisket, pork ribs, pulled pork, two sides, cornbread $17.50
  • It was excellent value and enough for 2 average appetites.
  • The meats are local and sustainable with much of it from Vancouver’s beloved Two Rivers Meats.
  • Even just looking at the picture you might think where is the sauce? It looks so bland and dry. But that’s the thing, Northern Carolina BBQ isn’t about the sauce.
  • The barbeque sauce is served on the side and barbeque experts know that the best way to judge the meats is by trying them naked first.

**Pulled Pork5/6 (Excellent)

  • Full $14.50 Half $11.50
  • Looking a little white is it? It’s supposed to be! Again, it’s North Carolina style BBQ. If you’re looking for tomato, you’re at the wrong place.
  • The best way to taste pulled pork is with nothing on it (naked). You don’t want to mask the pure natural flavour of the pork and how it was prepared.
  • Personally I love soppy saucy tomatoey pulled pork, but I actually really enjoyed this one.
  • It made me start to question if I really liked the saucy version more, or if I just had not tried a good vinegar based pulled pork until this day.
  • It smelled smoky with a hint of tang and upon serving it is lightly dressed with a simple peppery and chili vinegar sauce that was almost clear in colour.
  • This very basic chili vinegar sauce is the BBQ sauce of Eastern North Carolina style BBQ.
  • Alone the sauce was sharp with a white vinegar flavour and perhaps a bit of apple cider vinegar.
  • It was a sour sauce alone with a chili flake heat at the end.
  • Authentically in North Carolina the pork should be chopped instead of pulled.
  • This should have been chopped if it was true to North Carolina traditions, but it was pulled and I actually prefer it pulled.
  • It was well pulled and quite finely shredded so it allowed the vinegar sauce to penetrate deep into the pulled pork.
  • It was a moist and soppy pulled pork and the vinegar worked as an enhancer and moistening agent.
  • Typically Eastern North Carolina BBQ uses the whole hog (white and dark meat), but this one left out the white meat so it was quite rich.
  • The pulled pork had a good amount of fat and it used a combination of the shoulder, belly and jowl.
  • It was very moist and juicy pulled pork especially since it was all dark meat. 
  • The vinegar just cut the fat and enhanced the flavour of the pork.
  • It was slightly smoky, not spicy, but had some heat and it wasn’t very salty and not sweet.
  • It was very natural in flavour and it really showcased cooking technique and the use of a smoker.
  • Peckinpah sometimes uses only the shoulder (dark meat) which is more Western North Carolina; so the richness of the pulled pork might not always be consistent if they use random cuts for every batch.
  • Another pulled pork I like in the city is the one from Hubbub Sandwiches, but that’s not a barbeque house or specific to a style.

Barbeque (BBQ) Sauce

  • The BBQ sauce, or finishing sauce is served on the side and this sauce is not typically served with Eastern North Carolina BBQ.
  • I have a feeling the majority of people like BBQ sauce and request it as to why it’s available in a bottle at every table.
  • It was a very thick and rich tomatoey sauce and it was a bit Ketchupy which is not typical of North Carolina BBQ sauce.
  • It tasted like steak sauce meets Ketchup and it was tangy and smoky with a bit of heat at the end.
  • It was almost like roasted tomato paste with flavours of adobo sauce and it wasn’t a sweet sauce.
  • There may have been some Worcestershire sauce and it wasn’t a syrupy molasses sauce or mustard based sauce.
  • Personally I think this sauce was their own take and not specific to any region, but it wasn’t my favourite BBQ sauce and I prefer the one at Hog Shack Cookhouse (Kansas style).
  • Kansas style BBQ sauce is the most popular of modern day BBQ sauce and it is my favourite.
  • Peckinpah’s BBQ sauce had many elements of it, but a traditional Kansas BBQ sauce is as sweet as it is spicy and this wasn’t really sweet at all.

**Pork Ribs4/6 (Very good)

  • Full $27.50 Half $16.50
  • It was half a slab of ribs and they weren’t the sweet, sticky and saucy kind of ribs. Again, this drier style of ribs is typical of North Carolina BBQ.
  • I love sticky, sweet and saucy ribs, but these I enjoyed Memphis style… no sauce. The ribs had flavour on their own.
  • The ribs were very smoky with a woody and earthy flavour and it had the aroma of a cabin fire with the intensity of tobacco.
  • It was more smoky than salty and there was lots of bark, but it wasn’t chewy or hard.
  • The bark is my favourite part, but I like when it’s all caramelized.
  • This one didn’t have much sugar so there was not as much caramelization and it did lack a bit of sweetness, crispiness and chew.
  • I think they were smoked over hickory wood because the smoky flavour was strong and well infused into the meat.
  • Since the sauce was applied near the end (as it should be) it allowed for penetration of the smoke right to the very bone of the ribs.

  • The meat didn’t slip off the bone, but it came off with ease and the membrane was undetectable. Either it was that thin, tender and undetectable or they removed it.
  • There was a good amount of fat on them and it was moist and tender and well smoked. I highly doubt they were boiled or steamed.
  • The ribs were smoked perfectly to the point of staying attached to the meat, but still coming off the bone clean.
  • The meat had natural pork flavour, but it could have been a bit more juicy although it was moist.
  • The spice rub lacked a bit of salt for me, but it was smoky from perhaps cumin, smoky and sweet paprika, bit of chili powder, maybe cloves or cinnamon and then some dried herbs.
  • The dried herbs were either rosemary or oregano, and that’s what gave it that earthy flavour.
  • It wasn’t a spicy rub although there may have been the slightest amount of heat.