barbecue: it’s personal. controversial. food wars have been fought over it and those who have won, crowned victorious. the bottom line? there really isn’t anything better than a tender, succulent pulled-pork sandwich. at least, not in this scout’s handbook. i can’t say i’ve traveled far and wide in search of the perfect pig sandwich, because that would be a fib. suffice it to say i’ve done Austin. and all parts of North Carolina. and yeah, they have some pretty tasty barbecue. but you don’t have to be south of the Mason-Dixon Line to find the kind of pork that tantalizes the tongue and makes the heart sing. you can be right in downtown Seattle.
on Monday – Friday, at the southeast corner of 2nd and Pike (hours, weekend locations), you’ll find Maximus-Minimus—a fusion of the visions of Seattle food entrepreneur Kurt Beecher Dammeier and designer Colin Reedy. this urban-assault pig (i.e., riveted, sci-fi retro, steel-clad pork mobile) serves up a very simple menu of bold flavors, which i recently had the opportunity to try for the first time on a rare excursion downtown.
heading into Seattle on a brisk, windy day with a bald head and without a hat didn’t earn me the scouting preparedness badge (yes, it’s street food and literally standing room only). i wasn’t starved when i arrived; i just wanted that little something. so, i ordered a pulled-pork Minimus sandwich, with a side of Maximus slaw. the pork: rubbed, grilled and then braised. Minimus style? super tender, smoky-flavored (thanks to the addition of lapsang-souchong tea) pork coated in a tangy, sweet sauce of tamarind, honey and molasses, topped with sprigs of cilantro and served on a fresh, soft bun. if your taste buds crave spice, you can consider the Maximus option. the bright, crunchy Minimus slaw (a mix of cabbage, radish, cilantro, onion and parsley)—splashed with a feisty light chipotle vinaigrette—popped pleasantly in my mouth.
the tidy little menu also includes chips (thinly sliced potatoes, beets and sweet potatoes, fried in rice oil, topped with fried green beans and jalapeños) and two drinks (ginger lemonade and hibiscus nectar). i plan to bring more of a hearty appetite on my next jaunt to Seattle.
to each, his or her own barbecue true north. for me, i’ll fondly remember Maximus-Minimus’s pig’s feet on the street. (i even enjoyed the leftovers.) perhaps the license plate sums it up best: some pig.
for pure, simple, delicious Pacific Northwest barbecue, you can track the pig: Twitter and Facebook.