C-U has a robust barbecue scene, with Wood N Hog being one of the most recognizable names in the bunch. Now with an Urbana location in what used to be a Lil Porgy’s on University Avenue, they have a charming little barbecue joint with plenty of seating. The menu full of meaty options and comforting sides is a carnivore’s heaven. Here are some noteworthy bites I sampled and highlighted. (You can also check out a previous review we did that highlighted other items.)
Since Wood N Hog moved into the restaurant space formerly occupied by a barbecue place, it is already equipped with a built in smoker that you can’t miss. They keep a little woodshed on the side of the building and we saw them bringing in more wood as more people came in to order.They really do smoke their meats (their tagline is “All Smoke, No Joke!”). Wood N Hog is a quaint little place and the service was great. There are no airs about it, which makes it a comfortable place to go and kick back with some barbecue without judgement.
The jerk wings ($7.39) are one of their signature menu items. With the option to have them smothered in mild, mixed, or hot barbecue sauce, I decided to go out on a limb and go for mixed — I’m kind of a wimp, and their jerk wings are already on the spicier side. Unlike some people whose goal is the hotter the better, I like to enjoy my food without being in total agony. The jerk wings were charred beautifully, smothered in sauce and set atop french fries that were also bathed in the sauce. Wood N Hog is not a place to go if you don’t like to get a little messy and work for your food a bit; the wings do not come precut.
On the side I had some baked beans (small, $1.19) and baked mac and cheese ($3.99). The baked beans were tasty with a mapley, sweet flavor. The baked mac and cheese was a last minute addition for me, as I’m a bit picky when it comes to this hearty side. As much as I love things covered in cheese it’s difficult for me to find a good mac, but this mac was so worth it. The fact that it was baked made it all the tastier and it was so creamy and delicious. It was a soothing balance to all the spices on the wings. I also ordered some cornbread, which could be almost qualify as a dessert. It’s delectably cakey and sweet, and it can be ordered as a single square for 75¢ or two squares for $1.39. You don’t have to order additional sides if you’re fine with the fries and white bread that comes with all the orders, but you should consider it. They have a lot of side options, ranging from fried green tomatoes to cabbage.
If you’re going to Wood N Hog, ribs are pretty mandatory. We went for the three wings and half slab combo for $19.25. You can mix your sauces on the combo, so it was hot on the wings and mixed on the slab. Unlike the wings, the ribs come precut, which is a nice bonus and makes them easier to eat. The wings and ribs are both nicely juicy and also come over a bed of smothered fries. (If you don’t like spice, maybe steer clear of the hot sauce.)
We also had a side of fried okra ($2.99) and it was so good. Okra can be tricky; even though I like it I typically stay away from it at new places because it can be slimy and undercooked. But Wood N Hog’s fried okra is not something you should skip over the next time you visit. Crispy, crunchy, and not slimy at all, it’s a poppable side worth ordering.
Wood N Hog has a pretty extensive menu, and it took me a few moments to decide just what to order. I had fully prepared myself to indulge in multiple rounds so that I could hopefully try all that I wanted to, but I realized that that would difficult. I filled up on wings and the mac and cheese so there was no room for me to go back for what I wanted next. But I’ll be sure to go again so I can grab some gizzards (I so badly wanted to get some but they were out), tips, a hot link, and a slice of caramel cake. Wood N Hog also makes it super convenient to take your leftovers to-go, plus they cater. I also discovered you can order it through the numerous delivery apps. You should really just check it out any time, whether that’s for a particular daily special they offer Monday through Friday, or just for a filling weekend meal.
Wood N Hog
101 W University Ave
Su-Th 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
F + Sa 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Photos by Remington Rock