Right along the main stretch of Clintonville in Columbus’ north suburbs, I am certain I have found the city’s best barbecue. Pig Iron epitomizes barbecue even in its appearance; the little restaurant along High Street doesn’t look like much, and maybe the big metal pig outside its window is a little gaudy, but the spirit of good barbecue is substance over image. And Pig Iron has an abundance of tasty, tasty substance. This place is the kind of guilty pleasure that makes it hard to want to find new restaurants to review.
Where do I begin? So much of the menu is outstanding. The appetizers are great, chicken wings with a very tasty sauce and some expertly done cooking; piping hot fried pickles that are crunchy and salty (though a little over-fried…and could use something other than plain ranch.) The side dishes are equally good, sweet cornbread which doesn’t even need the traditional butter topping it’s so good is served with many of the options, and hearty mashed potatoes with a perfect texture and smoothness are another common item. The side dishes are a great addition to the meal, and it’s hard to know which of them to pick. A full menu off good dishes like these is indeed a rarity.
The barbecue, being the star of the show, is outstanding. It’s cooked in a sweet New England-style sauce that is sticky sweet yet with a hint of tang, and the meat is slow smoked until it is unbelievably tender. It’s done so incredibly well I can’t imagine the meat being any tastier. While it’s a little on the greasy side, more so than many other barbecue places, this shouldn’t be a big problem. Barbecue has never really been a terribly healthy option.
The restaurant has a very pleasant atmosphere. There is a bar area for groups of people to enjoy sports and spirits, and there’s also a more family friendly area at the other side of the dining room where workers entertain children and groups with card tricks and conversation. It’s a nice touch.
All told, Pig Iron BBQ is a well-rounded restaurant, not the prettiest on the outside but nonetheless with all the crispy, sticky, outstanding barbecue that will keep you coming back. Almost everything you will lay eyes on is delicious, and I have a hard time suggesting any one item. All I can say is this is quite possibly my favorite barbecue place in Columbus. It’s a must for any meat lover in the area.
- This is a good place to bring a group or family to the group dining area; the staff is very accommodating and entertaining in this area. At the same time, smaller groups will enjoy the bar.
- Barbecue is the best thing to try, but the side dishes and appetizers are outstanding here, too.
- The hours are pretty generous, so you should be able to get in and eat with minimal problem.