A Sandwich a Day: Pulled Pork at Phil’s Dream Pit in Kingsport, Tennessee

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Last time I was in Tennessee, I detoured to Phil’s Dream Pit in Kingsport and was so satisfied with supper that I returned the next day to squeeze in lunch before my flight out of Tri-Cities Regional Airport. Phil’s isn’t so dreamy on the outside, but inside it’s full of flavor and sweet Southern hospitality. Phil and Dianna Pipkin are the welcoming, generous types who make their pit feel like your home.

For lunch, I got the pulled pork sandwich meal ($8.99, comes with a beverage and choice of two sides: savory baked beans, fresh coleslaw, our delicious potato salad, macaroni salad, or potato chips). Baked beans and cole slaw are my ideal combination for a BBQ plate, with a little slaw on the sandwich typically a savory, lubricating addition. But it’s not a requirement here, as the smoky, tender pork is plenty juicy without being mushy. I have similar compliments for the companion baked beans, which hold their shape and integrity while pulling in sweetness and smokiness.

If you’d like additional sauce, the homemade include Original Sweet and Sweet Fire. (They’re also available online.) As a heat lover, I leaned toward Sweet Fire, which has ground habanero. It wasn’t as fiery as I like, but it added warmth to the sandwich.

As a bonus (I did say the Pipkins are generous), Phil threw an extra on the plate, introducing this northerner to the pork wing. He explained that it’s basically a pig shank, and I was thrilled with its deep, meaty flavor. The best part is that the bone is a handle, making it easy to swipe up extra sauce and eat. Pipkin’s pork wings make me believe that if pigs could fly, they just might take flight to Phil’s Dream Pit at the end of their lives to become eternally loved.

(Originally published here at Serious Eats on June 26.)

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