BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. – Can jokes and smoke mix?
Tom Rhodemyre doesn’t see why not.
“I think barbecue goes with everything,” Rhodemyre said. “I think a good time goes with everything, too. It seems to go hand in hand for me.”
The new owner of Pigsty BBQ, Rhodemyre did his best to combine the two on Wednesday by hosting the restaurant’s first opening mic comedy show.
“We’re putting our toe in the water right now,” Rhodemyre said. “I thought, well, it might be good for couple of yucks.”
Rhodemyre has the food portion of the equation solved. An acclaimed chef for more than three decades who’s worked everywhere from country clubs and international resorts to an Irish Pub, Rhodemyre honed his pit master skills in Texas.
“Barbecue has just always been in my soul,” Rhodemyre said.
With the help of his family, Rhodemyre is attempting to reincarnate Pigsty, which closed late in 2019. Rhodemyre purchased it and was ready to re-open in March when the pandemic hit.
Rhodemyre’s version of Pigsty, which retained the wood-plank covered walls that give the feel of an old-school BBQ shack, finally opened in June. While most South Florida barbecue restaurants skew toward southern style, Pigsty has a distinct Texas feel. That means beef brisket (and housemade pastrami) headline the menu, accompanied by pulled pork and ribs. All the meats are cooked low and slow, with some spending 20 hours in the smoker.
There are plenty of craft beers and, of course, Shiner, to wash them down.
Not sure what to try first? Give the Pit Boss sandwich (pictured) a shot – if you can get your mouth around it. The Pit Boss features a smoked sausage on top of beef brisket on top of pulled pork. Cole slaw and house-made pickles enhance a sandwich big enough to share. As a side, the macaroni and cheese – crusted with bread crumbs – is a must.
Looking for something other than traditional BBQ? Rhodemyre elevated pot pies and empanadas by filling them with slow smoked meats and sauces.
“I thought the food was amazing,” said comic Anthony Terzo, who served as the night’s host. “It just kind of gave you that homemade feel to it – not made in bulk. You could definitely tell.”
On Wednesday, the food wasn’t all that impressed. Comics praised the stage, complete with a lighting grid and sound system that could easily accommodate a five piece band – which is does on some nights.
Even a temporary battery issues with the wireless microphone didn’t rattle the group of local veteran comics – a group that included Kolin Bohannon, Dan Long, Minda Lo, Randy Vega and David Sadman.
A large table of BBQ patrons in the back of the room remained engaged throughout the night.
“The BBQ crowd is more of traditional, drinking group,” Terzo said. “The people like to be involved.”
Those who stuck around the entire night found themselves treated to a surprise when national performer Jimmy Shubert grabbed the microphone for 15 hilarious minutes – a fitting end to an impressive foray into the world of comedy for a self-proclaimed Texas juke joint.
Pigsty’s weekly Wednesday open mic begins at 8 p.m. The list drops at 7.
“Slow and low on the food,” Rhodemyre said. “For the good times on the other side of the counter, it’s all good. Anything goes.”