Pie in the Face
Who bakes pie from scratch anymore? We're more likely to be served a slice of an oversized five-dollar apple or pumpkin pie from the local supermarket. At diners, pies defy the laws of physics. Six-inch-tall chocolate mousse pies; pale, brawny slices of apple pie with a filling that somehow stays perfectly upright? Humbug.
Good pie is about the crust: flaky, brown, and maybe just shy of burnt on the edges, a little bubbly on top, keeping the sweetness of the filling in check. In a store-bought pie, crust is a way to scoop filling onto a plate without it falling all over the place.
Much has been said of the chopped pork sandwiches at the Georgia Pig (1285 S. State Rd. 7, Fort Lauderdale, 954-587-4420), the landmark 1950s barbecue joint. But next time you're there, save room for pie.
1285 S. State Rd. 7, Fort Lauderdale
It's not upscale bakery pie, and it sure isn't supermarket pie. It's retro pie, like you might make at home if you used a recipe clipped from a 1950s cookbook. Take my favorite, the blueberry, with berries still plump with juice. There's a clarity of flavor that I realized comes from what isn't there: There's virtually nothing thickening it, maybe a bit of flour. And the crust! The edges are uneven, crisp, tasting of browned butter.
The pecan pie has more to it than brown sugar. Chocolate cream pie? I don't know whether the filling is homemade, but I swear it's got telltale lumps. Depending on the season, Georgia Pig also serves peach, cherry, apple, coconut cream, and key lime. Purists may decry the dollops of Cool Whip on the cream pies, but Cool Whip has been around for 38 years now. Unless Grandma was a foodie, she probably used Cool Whip too.
Most are $2 a slice; pecan is $2.50. If you call at least a day ahead, you might get a whole pie to go for about $15, but when I told owner Wayne Anderson that an article might be forthcoming, he looked shellshocked. Much like Le Tub, whose burgers cooked on a home barbecue grill were made famous by a GQ article, the Pig's a small family-run business doing things the same way it did 50 years ago. It's that small scale that makes for great food. The pie is best enjoyed at the counter after a sandwich, the smells of charred pork and hardwood smoke wafting across from the pit.
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