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Serendipity and a toothpick: Hawg-N-Dawg for breakfast

Mystery Diner • Nov 10, 2017 at 8:15 AM

Serendipity noun – The occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way.

It amazes me how big a role serendipity plays in determining where my dining partner and I find our next place to eat. Sometimes, serendipity communicates with whispers and nuances to guide the two of us to our goal. Other times serendipity dispenses with subtlety and reaches for her baseball bat.

The latter happened just last Saturday. Our initial choice for breakfast in Erwin was stymied. We were told the restaurant’s cook had only just now decided to spend her day giving the restaurant’s kitchen “a good cleaning.”

This announcement caused my dining partner’s eyes to narrow slightly and her lips to purse, but her sweet smile was back as we turned and left. Hopefully, we were out of ol’ Cooky’s earshot before we both burst out laughing.

Recovering, I checked the time: 1030 a.m. Looking up, I noticed Mr. Lou Snider unfurling the “Open” flag out front of Hawg-N-Dawg BBQ & Coneys, and pointed it out to my dining partner.

“Now THAT is fortunate,” she said, grabbing me by the hand and striding purposefully towards our new dining venue.

Lou Snider greeted us at the door with a warm smile and a handshake, remarking that we were his first customers of the day. After a short perusal of Hawg-N-Dawg’s one page but concise menu, I chose the regular-sized Hawg-N-Dawg platter ($8.39) substituting beef brisket for the pulled pork ($0.30 extra) with baked beans and macaroni & cheese as my sides.

My dining partner seemed to be having second thoughts about tackling barbecue as, what was for her, a breakfast entrée. Snider smiled, asking had my partner had ever had ham or pork sausage for breakfast? Getting an affirmative answer, Snider suggested a half rack of his slow-smoked ribs ($13.99) including two side orders (Snider’s home made coleslaw and hash brown casserole here) plus Texas toast and a drink. My dining partner agreed, asking Snider to go easy on the barbecue sauce.

“I only use a dry rub on my ribs,” said Snider, gesturing to the selection of barbecue sauces at one end of our table. “You can decide what and how much sauce to add.”

Snider was back with our orders inside of fifteen minutes. The proper preparation and smoking of beef brisket can be a stumbling block for some barbecue joints, but not for Lou Snider and Hawg-N-Dawg. His beef brisket was correct in all respects, slow-smoked yet moist and tender.

The two side orders were equally enjoyable, though my dining partner remarked that baked beans sure didn’t seem a normal choice for breakfast. I retorted that the typical “English Breakfast” included baked beans as a matter of course, and that the Hawg-N-Dawg baked beans I was enjoying could be served three times a day as far as I was concerned. The macaroni & cheese, though good, was not as good as the baked beans.

My dining partner’s half rack of pork ribs were sheer perfection. As he placed the ribs in front of my dining partner, Snider remarked that the ribs are marinated 48 hours in a proprietary marinade before the dry rub is applied and then slow-smoked to such an extent that the bones can be extracted with a gentle tug, leaving rib meat that is fork-tender. My dining partner and I agreed that the smoked pork ribs from Hawg-N-Dawg as prepared by Mr. Lou Snider require nothing more than salt and maybe some ground black pepper. Use your table’s barbecue sauce medley on your “Dawg” order, because any selection from the “Hawg” side of the menu does not require its services.

Driving home, my dining partner remarked that I seemed more quiet than usual.

“Just thinking about serendipity,” I responded. “If the cook at our first choice for breakfast hadn’t decided to clean her kitchen, we might never have had such good food and an enjoyable time to go with it.”

“Yes, that is true,” remarked my dining partner, pensively sucking on her teeth. “This serendipity of yours wouldn’t have a toothpick handy, would it?”

202 Union Street
Erwin, Tennessee
Mon-Fri 10:30 a.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Sat 10:30 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Available on Facebook and social media
Credit cards accepted.
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