Man Food: Tackling the Pig Pile at Parlor Sports

Welcome to Man Food, where burger pro Richard Chudy steps away from his usual burger beat to explore food challenges, street eats, and other gut-busting delights. Ladies are welcome, of course.

pig pile

Yes, it looks better than it tastes. (Photo by Katie Barszcz)

Normally, standard nachos are pretty harmless (despite the brutal heartburn you get after the fact): you expect a bunch of tortilla chips, a mound of melted cheese, some sort of salsa concoction, and globs of sour cream. The newly-opened Parlor Sports in Somerville has their own spin on the staple, which they’ve called the “Pig Pile.” In lieu of tortilla chips, you’ll find house-fried kettle chips, which are layered with heaps of pulled pork, Jack cheese, sour cream, jalapenos and salsa con queso. On paper, this combination should be incredibly successful. This was, however, a dish that I regret eating.

First off, it’s a visually unappealing one-tone beige-y color. I was most looking forward to the pulled pork, which I hoped would taste properly smoky. Instead, it tasted boiled and was gray, bland and chewy. The salsa con queso didn’t fare much better. Rather than being a spicy cheese sauce, it was a thin, mayo-based sauce that didn’t taste of salsa or queso. The Jack cheese was scantily applied, and was half-melted and slick with oil.

My approach to the Pig Pile actually proved to be the opposite of most nachos I’ve had, where the goal is to search out a chip covered in as many toppings as possible. In this instance, I avoided the extras and searched for the plain chips, which were thick, crispy, and salty. I thought the chips would be the toughest thing to get right in this dish — instead, they proved the most successful component.

In a perfect world, perhaps, the Pig Pile would be a delight: I’m imagining delicately smoked pulled pork, tons of pickled jalapenos, and gooey cheese in every nook and cranny of those kettle chips. In this case, though, I’m not sure that there’s enough beer in the world to make this dish palatable.

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