THE POLITE PIG
ADDRESS: 1536 Buena Vista Drive, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
There have been numerous times that I’ve stepped off the escalator from the Disney Springs parking garage, passed the entrance to The Polite Pig, and said to myself, “I ought to give this place a try sometime.” That was because more often than not, I was stopping in at Disney Springs for some tacos at Frontera Cocina. But, instead of walking by the restaurant this past time I was up there, I took the turn to stop on inside.
I was with my friends Carlos and Sara, and we were handed menus to look over while we were waiting in line to order. Even while standing by the door, you could still smell those smoky notes from the barbecue, making you even hungrier as you were deciding what to order. Do the smells maybe help influence whether or not you’ll be getting that extra plate of barbecue? Well, they certainly don’t hurt; I mean, it helped convince us to tack on some baby back ribs to our order.
We couldn’t make up our minds on what to get, since just about all the barbecue on the menu sounded great. We were also fresh off food stops from Frontera Cocina and Chicken Guy!, and thought that splitting something would be the way to go. Lo and behold, we then noticed the Butcher Board offering at the bottom of the meats section.
The menu said that the Butcher Board could be split between two people, but after we added on the ribs, it was more than enough to split between three. Featuring a platter of pork shoulder, smoked chicken, sliced brisket, and BBQ cheddar sausage, along with cornbread and two of your choice of their market sides, the Butcher Board would definitely conquer even the heartiest of appetites.
Depending on the weather, you had a choice for either indoor or outdoor seating. The dining room itself was pretty packed when we got there, which was honestly kind of surprising, since we got there in the middle of the afternoon. Luckily, the waitstaff had just finished cleaning off a tabletop as we were starting our survey of the dining room for open spots. The table itself also turned out to be a strategic location next to their “sauce bar,” where there were dispensers of four different types of barbecue sauces to use during your meal.
For the amount of food that was on the Butcher Board, I was pretty surprised at how quick it made it out of the kitchen. To help with the volume of diners, I’ll bet there’s just always a lot of food on standby and ready to go out the door. In addition to the meats on the platter, we had gotten BBQ waffle fries as well as grilled street corn for our two market sides. Sara had her eye on the giant pretzel, so she ordered one of those as well.
To put it into perspective, imagine an oven tray you might normally use at home to bake cookies or cook up some French fries. Now imagine that same tray loaded up with an assortment of smoked meats and delectable sides, the aromas wafting up towards you as you’re struggling to decide where to start.
I decided to kick things off with a sampling of my personal barbecue favorite: brisket. The thing I noticed right away was that both burnt ends as well as sliced brisket were plated on the tray. Other barbecue places I had been to would only plate one or the other, so offering both definitely garnered some extra points in my book. The char from the burnt ends had that great fusion of smoky, savory, and hint of sweet flavors. I also thought that the sliced brisket was nice and moist, while also able to impart some of the earthy flavors from the coffee rub they used for the smoking process.
The ribs were definitely my next favorite of the meats on the tray, with a nice, sweet flavor coming from the barbecue sauce brushed on the outside. The rib meat itself was still tender enough to fall off the bone, which helped make it relatively easy to eat. The BBQ sausage also had a surprisingly strong smoky flavor infused into it, but in a good way that didn’t make it overpowering. The cheddar, for bits of creaminess in some bites, was also a nice added touch.
As for the smoked chicken, that also tasted good, with the meat also retaining a lot of its moisture through the smoking process. We found that it paired well with the Southern Gold mustard from the sauce bar, with the acidic tang from the vinegar base helping to contrast well with the chicken. For future visits, however, I think that I would probably consider ordering the other meats ahead of the chicken. The flavors from the brisket, ribs, and sausage just stood out much more to me than the chicken did.
I’ve always been a fan of barbecue, and to think that I’ve just been walking by a place serving up such delicious barbecue all this time! From the quality of all the meats, great flavor profiles, hefty portions, and expedient service, you can make no mistake that I will most certainly be back, with my appetite in tow.
Let’s now take a look at The Polite Pig Dish Spotlight. Asterisks (*) below mark my recommended dishes.
** Butcher Board **
Pork shoulder, smoked chicken, sliced brisket, burnt ends, and BBQ cheddar sausage, served with coleslaw, house pickles, cornbread, and two market sides. Pictured here with BBQ waffle fries and grilled street corn.
And finally, here are my rankings for The Polite Pig:
Food: 5 / 5
Not sure what more that I could say about the food that I haven’t mentioned already. The flavors were bold, the portions were great, and there is definitely enough barbecue variety on the menu to help find something you’re in the mood for.
Atmosphere: 4.25 / 5
The seating did feel a little packed in at times, but aside from that, it’s a pretty nice dining space. There is one portion of bar seating that puts you in front of a window that looks into the kitchen, which I thought was a cool touch. The window helps double as a way for cooks to help see diners enjoying all the food they’ve put hard work into preparing.
Service: 4.25 / 5
The speed at which they could churn out plates of food was impressive, and certainly helped to keep the line from building up outside.
Price: 4.5 / 5
I’ve normally known barbecue to lean more on the higher end of the dollar sign, and it’s certainly no exception at Polite Pig. I do think, however, that given the quality of the food and the Disney Springs location, it’s a price worth forking over.