If you like barbecue, the locals will tell you that the Pik-n-Pig is the local barbecue paradise. Well now, the secret is out. The Travel Channel has seen fit to confirm that it is indeed a food paradise. The Travel Channel selected Carthage’s own Pik-n-Pig for an episode of it’s show, “Food Paradise”.
Travel Chanel’s Food Paradise Film Crew
The film crew for the Travel Channel converged Saturday at The Pik-n-Pig, located at 194 Gilliam McConnell Rd, to film the episode and meet the locals. The Travel Channel describes their idea for the “Food Paradise” show, “Since fantastic food is more important to many travelers than museums, hotels and souvenirs, we’ve compiled all the must-stop food spots across the country that offer a one-of-a-kind dining experience.” That sums up nicely what you will find at Pik-n-Pig.
L,R: Travis Baker, Alex Ratcliff, Ashley & Janie Sheppard
“Three generations of love, sweat and tears, all on one plate.”
The Pik-n-Pig has been around a while, but the love of cooking barbecue goes back for generations. It is owned and operated by Janie Sheppard and her son, Ashley Sheppard. Ashley is the “Pit Master” and most of the time you will find him in the pit out back where the barbecue is cooked.
You will also find Aunt Heather Davis running the kitchen, Christy Gonzales as the FOH Manager, and Travis Baker, the “Pit Man”, but you can’t walk far in the restaurant without running into other extended family members. The other thing you quickly find, once you begin as an employee, you become part of the family.
There were smiles on all the staff when we arrived for the story but no bigger smile was found than on Janie Sheppard. We asked her if she had anything to say about today. “We are so very honored to have been chosen by the Travel Channel, and we know it is only through the hard work of our staff and the loyal support of our customers. We would not be where we are today without them,” Sheppard said.
L,R: Jonathon Ray & Steve Smith
It was fairly quiet while the film crew began setting up for the shoot that would take place during the lunch hour rush. The crew went about the tasks of checking lighting and possible setups while the staff anxiously put the finishing touches on everything, not just for the filming but for the mass of customers that usually arrives for lunch.
Lunch is always a big turnout, and there are a lot of regulars that come in, most at least once or twice a week. Butch and Linda Usher eat here quite often and are proud to be considered some of the “regulars.” “We like it here because it’s like coming home. We walk in, and they know exactly what we want to order, and it just feels like we are part of the family,” said the Ushers.
Travis Baker hard at work
This was a theme that resonated throughout the morning as we met different customers. Everyone was so proud of the film crew being onsite and what it meant for the Pik-n-Pig.
Wer cookin’ it with love, all day, everyday. ‘Cause to us, everyone is family.
As we toured the kitchen with Heather, we were told how everything is cooked and prepared fresh. The barbecue was being freshly cooked and brought up from the pit. The line team only cut and pulled pork as it was needed. Everything is cooked fresh, and they don’t use anything they don’t make themselves. Even the rub for the barbecue is prepared onsite and they sell bottles of it along with their barbecue sauce.
The crew filming the Bandit Flight Team
We toured the “pit” out back where the barbecue is cooked quite literally all night long. We spoke to Ashley, Travis, and Alex and they told stories of cooking barbecue in all sorts of weather, even during a hurricane once. They do make a great team and seem to love what they do.
Did we mention the Pik-n-Pig is at an airfield? That’s right. The Gilliam-McConnell Airfield is right beside it and so there are usually all sorts of aircrafts flying in and out all day and into the evening.
The Bandit Flight Team
Today, the Bandit Flight Team flew in for lunch and then did some amazing fly-overs for the crowds gathered outside. It is not unlikely to stop by for lunch and see Army Black Hawk helicopters land for lunch or pilots from all over fly in with family for a nice dinner. You can even meet Santa when he flies in at Christmas.
The Travel Channel does not have a date set for the episode to air, but as soon as we find out we will let our readers know. Carthage, and all of Moore County, should be very proud to have such a wonderful place to eat close by.
If you are in the area, stop by and congratulate Janie, Ashley, and the staff. While you’re there, have a little barbecue, and you’ll find yourself in paradise.