We love us a bit of BBQ, so when the opportunity came up to attend the relaunch of the Hoghouse at Spier, Elzaan and I grabbed it with both sticky fingered hands!
We haven’t been to Spier since the terrible experience we had about a year ago, but Hoghouse isn’t just another tourist trap on a wine farm, this place would be my next ‘local’, if I was a local. It isn’t all about barbeque though, it covers the three major food groups, beer, bread AND barbeque so really, you’re doing yourself a disservice if you don’t go. They bake their own bread, brew there own beer and of course…smoke their own meat.
When you arrive, you come face to face with “the hog” a massive smoker cooking up Texan-style BBQ all day son…ALL DAY!! And when I say ‘all day’ its not just a cool thing to say, I literally mean the meat is slow cooked all day. It’s a process they call ‘low and slow’ where the meat is smoked without sauce, allowing the natural flavours of the meat to blend with the smoke from the Rooikrans wood. This is a far cry from the way us South Africans like to BBQ (or braai) which is generally all about sauced up meat cooked over open flames, but hey, we were excited to try it!
This place is massive, but I mean ‘get lost’ massive. It’s smart though, split up into loads of tiny rooms, so you never short on atmosphere. It has a giant outside terrace on both sides and the attention to detail in the decor is amazing. I’m gonna call it farmhouse chic, cause it kinda feels like you’re at a friends house – but it’s a friend who used to be a graphic designer and decided to give it all up to live on a farm. I really hope that makes sense to someone.
We were there for the inaugural Beats and BBQ dinner, which pretty much involved us, beer, bread and barbeque and a band we had never heard of. All the makings of a great night really.
As I mentioned earlier, these guys brew their own beer so I decided to give the Hogtale APA a try, I’ve never been a big fan of IPA’s but maybe this African Pale Ale would do the trick. It did, it was good, a lot less hoppy than an IPA and the perfect way to start. Naturally my next step was trying ALL THE beers, but of course, just tasters. Besides, the starters were arriving and I needed something to wash it down with.
Luckily, the night was all about trying, they laid out a table with pretty much everything on the menu, and well, we dug into it all. Sometimes I had to try something once or twice, just to make sure it was as good as I remembered it the first time. It was. My biggest culinary surprise was the pigs tail, yeah, you read me right, pigs tail, deep fried and delicious! It could possibly be the worlds best bar snack, crispy, salty, crunch and too rich to eat a whole bowl of them in one swoop! You could literally have made a meal of the starters, and they were all good, weirdly enough (for a BBQ joint), the arincini balls seamed to be everyone favourite!
The stone jets ended up being incredible, the perfect mix of original tracks and cover songs played with their own unique twist! At some point the entire restaurant was standing up dancing and wouldn’t let the band leave! Ahhh…beer & wine, what good dancers you are!
The food kept coming and by the time the main dishes arrived we were all just full enough to give everything a try. The dry barbecue is something i’m gonna have to get used to, I mean the qulaity and flavour of the meat was outstanding, but I’m used to licking sauce off my elbows when I get stuck into a set of ribs. The buttermilk fried chicken on the other hand, was an absolute winner, especially when eaten between bites of Mac and Cheese! I’ve never been down south in the States, but I’m pretty sure this is where my stomach is most at home.
Conclusion, if you’re a local, this place is a no brainer. When you leave the office on Friday, just go straight there. Every Friday from 17:00 they whip out one free keg of beer to get things started, so I suggest get there early and get yourself a bowl of pigs tails! (follow #FreeKegFriday to see what’s up!)
If you’re from out of town, or town town (for Capetonians) it’s definitely the perfect spot after a couple of wine tasting in the area. The hoghouse at Spier is open Wednesday to Monday (closed Tuesday) for breakfast (9-11:30) and lunch (12:00 – 15:00). The BBQ kitchen is open for dinner from 18:00 to 21:00 on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays and you can call them on +27 (21) 881 3174 or mail them at firstname.lastname@example.org
Oh, one last thing. If you have a hankering for beer and meat the guys at hoghouse are hosting there very own “hogtoberfest’ on Saturday 8 October, in the grand tradition of Oktoberfests worldwide. It all starts at 11:00 and there will be a line up of three bands, including a traditional oompah-band and the Stone Jets (you definitely wanna catch these guys) for those worried about missing the big game, New Zealand and South Africa will be screened at 17:00. Tickets are R150 and include a glass and free beer tasting of Hoghouse beer and five other local breweries – Each brewery is producing a special festival beer.