This is a weekends-only roadside stand operating out of the driveway of a Masonic Temple on Main Street, a strategic pit stop on the way to or from Cape Cod's Nauset Beach. Signs point the way, but it's easy to smell the fragrance of the two smokers cooking ribs and other goodies all weekend. As you pull up to the table you'll see just a few of the many trophies Dr. Frank 'n' Swine has won on the competition circuit for both barbecue and grilling. This is no-frills dining to say the least, with only a few picnic tables. Most of the business is take-out.
The menu changes from day to day, but the staples are ribs (St Louis cut and babybacks), pulled pork sandwiches and brisket sandwiches. On the day I visited, there were also several varieties of chicken: smoked whole birds and legs, grilled wings and Buffalo style legs. Sides include baked beans, Southern style green beans, garlic mashed potatoes, cole slaw and potato chips.
For optimal traffic conditions, my wife and I chose the middle day of a 3-day Labor Day weekend to visit Dr. Frank 'n' Swine on a Sunday afternoon visit. Buisness was light but steady throughout our stay.
Wings were fairly simple, grilled perfectly and presented unadorned, letting the natural chicken flavor shine through. Buffalo legs were fall-off-the-bone tender and coated with a rich sauce that had both the heat and creaminess of the classic Buffalo wing.
Babyback ribs, served right off the smoker, were much thicker than the cut you normally find at the chain restaurants. Biting into these was like biting into a competition rib. The sauced crust provided crunch and flavor before yielding to a tender interior with even more flavor. The smoke was noticable but not overpowering.
Pulled pork sandwiches are served on a steamed burger bun with cole slaw on the side or in the sandwich. The lightly coated meat was mostly sweet with some savory notes. There were a few dry spots here and there, but overall it was a good sandwich.
Most of the meats are already served with enough sauce or don't need the sauce, but extra cups ($1 each) are available.
The cole slaw in my pulled pork sandwich tasted store bought. Grreen beans were an unexpected treat, with the vegetables steeped in a sausage-infused broth but still slightly crisp. Baked beans were also excellent, with equal contributions of heat and sweet and some light crunch from onions, green peppers and bacon. Cornbread, wrapped in plastic to protect it from the summer heat, is moist to the point of being a little loose, with some corn kernels and tiny bits of jalapeno.
The bottom line: Like I said, this is no-frills dining, but competition style ribs served the same day they're smoked make you forget about creature comforts in a hurry. They're only open one more weekend, but promise to return in the summer of 2009. I know I'll be there, and next summer I won't wait until Labor Day weekend.