Recently, one of my dine-around bunch was raving about the great barbecue restaurant in downtown Erwin.
It seems that they also did a great job with hot dogs.
Intrigued, I called the rest of the membership and we all headed to Erwin for supper.
Thirty minutes later, we entered Hawg-N-Dawg restaurant at 202 Union St. in Erwin, and were greeted by the owner, Mr. Lou Snider. This being our first visit to the Hawg-N-Dawg, Mr. Snider joined us at table for a run through the menu, and a gentle education on the subject of Hawg-N-Dawg barbecue and hot dogs.
Hawg-N-Dawg does pulled pork, smoked Eastern Carolina-style. It is pulled pork shoulder, lean but not too lean, and tasty enough to stand on its own with no sauce accompaniment. For you barbecue sauce palates out there, Hawg-N-Dawg has a number of proprietary sauces in varying degrees of heat and sweetness. (Watch out for Number Seven, it’ll want to wrestle with you.)
As for the various offerings of hot dog, Hawg-N-Dawg uses all-beef hot dogs and a quarter-pound Nathan’s dog for their signature menu item.
Mr. Snider also extolled the virtues of Hawg-N-Dawg’s weekly specials. Monday’s is the very popular BBQ Lasagna. A modest $5.89 by itself, you can add a house salad for just a dollar more. We were informed that Monday’s entire pan of BBQ Lasagna is usually cleaned out by 1 p.m., so be sure to arrive early if you want a serving.
It being Wednesday, I ordered that day’s special, a marinated BBQ Chicken platter ($7.25) with two sides; I chose the slaw and baked beans. An order of potato salad is available for $1.80 more, and makes a nice add-on to the meal.
My dining partner ordered the BBQ Nachos ($6.25) featuring the barbecue pork on a platter of crispy tortilla chips topped with Hawg-N-Dawg’s special cheese blend. Jalapeno peppers were available at no extra charge but not needed. The dine-around bunch’s barbecue purist ordered the Hawg-N-Dawg pork barbecue platter ($7.25) with the baked beans, slaw and toast.
The dieter in our bunch, keeping to her low-carb plan, ordered the regular-sized barbecue sandwich ($4.55) without the bun. Lastly, our hot dog connoisseur ordered the Hawg-N-Dawg ($5) an all-beef hot dog topped with barbecue pork, mustard, onions, and a savory all-meat chili sauce called Coney Sauce. After a moment’s discussion with the group, he decided to upgrade his order to the Super Hawg-N-Dawg ($8), thereby getting a quarter-pound Nathan’s dog on crunchy Italian bread loaded up with a double portion of the toppings.
Our orders arrived within 10 minutes, and we got down to business. The marinade used with my chicken breast made it fork-tender. Though a bit dry, it was quite tasty, especially when taken with alternating bites of Hawg-N-Dawg’s homemade baked beans followed by the cold, crunchy slaw.
My dining partner’s BBQ Nachos were a pleasant surprise. The barbecue pork and cheese layers were thickly layered, then cooked using a very hot broiler, simultaneously heating the pork through and melting the cheese while leaving the tortilla chips crispy. My partner remarked that the dish’s unique taste bouquet blended the moist, pungent smoky pork with the smooth dairy tang of the cheese, enhanced with the nutty crispness of the chips. The upshot being that I got only one BBQ nacho to call my own, the rest disappearing behind my partner’s contented smile.
Our barbecue purist tried several of the Hawg-N-Dawg sauces with her platter before settling on Memphis, a sweet and smooth Tennessee-style sauce. Our dieter also tried the sauces, but decided that the Hawg-N-Dawg barbecue pork was savory enough by itself, and lingered long over each forkful.
Our hot dog enthusiast had the best time of all with his Super Hawg-N-Dawg order. Having nearly a square foot of food placed in front of you would give anyone pause, especially if your fellow diners were instrumental in putting it there. Not in this case, however. One whiff of that quarter-pound beauty and our friend was digging in, waxing poetic upon the virtues of a properly-cooked Nathan’s special, commenting favorably on the melange of flavors you get combining the pork barbecue and the homemade Coney Sauce, and starting an argument among the rest of us on which mustard was best on hot dogs? Yellow mustard won.
This discussion about Hawg-N-Dawg’s finest prompted my dining partner to order a Big Dawg ($3.50) for her very own. The Big Dawg is the same as a Super Hawg-N-Dawg, using the same quarter-pound Nathan’s special and the Italian bread, with the same medley of toppings but without the barbecue pork. When offered, I took a bite, and wanted a Big Dawg for myself.
Desserts, along with some interesting sodas and floats were also available. Regretfully, we had to leave them for a return visit.
Our enjoyable repast at Hawg-N-Dawg cost a modest $50 for the five of us, tip included, making it one of the best-valued outings we’ve had in quite a while.
Hawg-N-Dawg can accommodate large parties in their nearby banquet room, and do catering for just about any size group, if given enough advance notice. All in all, a great dining experience, with excellent food and friendly service. As we were leaving, Mr. Snider remarked that downtown Erwin needed a good family restaurant. To this satisfied customer, it looks like Erwin’s found it with Hawg-N-Dawg.
202 Union Street
Erwin, TN 37650
Mon-Sat 10:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
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Credit cards accepted