Open for about a year but discovered only recently, the "World Famous" Barking Pig sits on a desolate stretch of Route 110 in Chelmsford between exits 32 and 34 off I-495. It has the feel of an old diner, with an open serving counter, a couple of tables and assorted vintage knick knacks on the walls. The hours are limited: Monday through Friday, closing at 7:00PM.
Options here are typical of what you'd see in any American diner, from breakfast to burgers to sandwiches, plus pizza. Barbecue (or barbecuesque) items include a pulled pork sandwich and babyback ribs.
Not sure what to expect, I hit the Barking Pig on a weeknight after work, ordering only a pulled pork sandwich. While talking with the man behind the counter, I learned that the meats are "slow roasted" and not smoked. Not surprising considering the rest of the menu and the type of establishment.
It's not the type of joint where you'd order an appetizer. I just tried the sandwich.
My pulled pork sandwich was very generously filled with large chunks of pork; saucing adequately lubricated the meat without drowning it. The sandwich defied the joint's name, as this pig had no bark among the pale meat. Cooking methods and bark aside, the meat did have a little more flavor (and not just from the sauce) than a few legitimately smoked pulled pork offerings I've endured, so it wasn't a total loss. Tenderness was what you'd expect of a slow roasted pork: soggy, with a little steaminess from holding and/or reheating.
The sandwich came sauced with a concoction that was mild to the point of irrelevance.
Cole slaw may or may not have been homemade, but the lightly dressed rendition had enough flavor and crunch to make it enjoyable.
The bottom line: As a completist, I'd normally go back and try the ribs before weighing in, but the Barking Pig's limited hours coupled with the slow roasting cooking method make this unlikely. I'd expect the Barking Pig to be fine for a burger at lunchtime or an early morning breakfast sandwich for the road, but the "BBQ" items are probably afterthoughts. Since the Barking Pig isn't really billing itself as a barbecue joint, that's completely understandable. So if you're in the area and looking for barbecue, I'd recommend other options. But if you're toying with a stop at one of the corporate burger or pizza behemoths a few miles up or a few miles down from it, the Barking Pig might be a more interesting alternative.
Yelp reviews of Barking Pig