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Porktropolis

Update 12/1/16: Porktropolis is closed.

In a word: Moving out of a ham-let toward the pig city.

The specs: #0689  
Address, hours & details via Isthmus; reviews at Gourmet, Gourmand, Glutton, 77 Square, 1337 Mom, Yelp, Sun Prairie Star, Mad City Eats, and again, Isthmus; listing at Eat Drink Madison; chatter at Roadfood, TDPF; official web site, Porktropolis on Urbanspoon

Latest Porktropolis news and reviews

Brett ate the pork brisket sandwich with pepper mac & cheese.
JM ate the beef brisket sandwich with potatoes and a lemonade.
Laura ate the ribs with pepper mac & cheese and rice & beans & cornbread and a black cherry lemonade.
Nichole ate the courageous chicken sandwich with sweet potato salad and a slice of pecan pie.
We split some chocolate-covered bacon (thanks, Brett!).
The bill was about $11/person, plus tip.
JM and Nichole gave Porktropolis an A-; Laura gave Porktropolis a B (see our grading rubric).

This meal is a special kind of repeat, not of a venue but of personality. We think Porktropolis shares DNA with some sandwiches we've known at Argus (Exploding Pig) and Pooley's (Knuckle Sandwich - though these days Pooley's is serving Dog Eat Dog food).

As best we can remember, the pattern from the previous incarnations holds: here the meat is the best part of the meal. The sides are missable, but the sauces stand out. Luckily for customers, BBQ beef or pork by the pound is available (though the math is loaves-and-fishy at $9 for 1# to feed 3, $27:2#:9, and $45:3#:15).

There were at least 8 sauces available for sampling and matching with any entree. A raspberry habañero was memorable, very fruity at first and followed by sinus-searing heat. A chocolate BBQ was like a mole, and paired well with the chicken. A classic Memphis sauce could have been more memphisy. We noticed the conspicuous absence of any mustard-based sauces.

Ribs, cornbread, rice, mac & cheese

Let's talk about ribs. They were very meaty and tender, and while the base flavor was quite plain, it was a good vehicle for sauce. Laura went whole-hog on the raspberry habañero, and while it was too strong for daily use, she praised the way it complemented the ribs.

The rest of us got sandwiches, all of which were served on oversized white cornmeal-dusted rolls. The portions were so big that by the end we were wishing we'd cut them all up and passed them around. Slider-sized sandwiches on dinner rolls are probably too fussy for a joint like Porktropolis, but who knows?

Beef brisket sandwich and potatoesPork brisket and pepper mac & cheeseCourageous chicken and sweet potato salad

Brett got the pork brisket: good, moist, with evidence of a fine dry rub. JM's beef brisket was fine but dry and faintly spiced. Nichole's choice of chicken was a mix of pulled light and dark meat, decently moist, with sage and rosemary that, while adding interest to the plain meat, might not have gone well with all of the sauces.

Chocolate covered baconPecan pie

The chocolate-dipped bacon was interesting... very meaty. Real chocolate, at least, and not that Eileen's bark stuff. The pie was only OK with a cookie-like, possibly store-bought, crust.

The sodas are Pepsi but the lemonades are Milwaukee's own Calypso brand and were mighty refreshing. Indeed the whole thing was a welcome surprise and may be perfect for getting a lot of meat well made and rather quickly.

Comments

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How was the mac and cheese? I remember wishing they had it on the menu when I went there back in February.

Love the "in a word." Highest form of humor, you know!

i had the beef brisket sandwich a month ago and it was melt in my mouth delicious. They also had a great vinegar based Carolina sauce. If only it weren't so far away from the west side of Madison.

I tried Porktropolis for the first time a few months ago and have been back three time since. I agree that the sides are nothing to write home about. I haven't tried their ribs yet, as I have been working my way through their sandwich menu. So far, I'm batting 4 for 4. So tasty!!! Also, I still find it amusing that they are next to a gun shop. After stuffing my face with pounds of meat, I feel the need to buy me a six-shooter and rough up the town! ;)

I love the brat drizzled with the N.O.L.A. sauce. Yeah, wish it was a little closer.

The bites of the mac + cheese I had were not too exciting. The pepper was neither prominent nor absent. The cheese was standard but I've had better from far worse places.

That's a bummer, JM, although not surprising considering I wasn't really enchanted with any of their sides. The brisket was so good, though.

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