Kerry Gore was at a loss. Although he had a job as a printer, he hadn’t had a paycheck in three weeks, and he wasn’t sure how he could provide for his family. He was sitting in a central Arkansas truck stop contemplating his options. While talking to the truck stop manager, he was hired on the spot as a busboy, starting that evening. He was promoted to a dishwasher by the end of the weekend, and within three years, he was managing the truck stop restaurant.
A few years later, he began managing the Pig ‘N Chik BBQ in Sherwood. Gore assumed ownership in 1995, recently celebrating 28 years. He attributes this achievement to advice from the original owner: “If it works, don’t mess with it.” And, based on the crowd during my visit on a weekday afternoon, the advice is still working.
Gore said the menu has evolved a bit as customers have fallen in love with daily specials, like the pan-fried chicken, that have been added to the daily offerings.
Each member of Gore’s family has been involved in the restaurant, including his wife, Teresa, and children, Kara, Amber and Brandon. Gore said his team members are all like family.
As for the food, he said, “We cook everything to order, especially our catfish. There is nothing better than freshly cooked catfish. We use the original breading and hush puppy recipe.”
As I tried the piping hot two-piece Catfish Plate, I was impressed with the clean, fresh taste of the fish and the flavor of the cornmeal breading. The hush puppies were a treat; I loved the small kernels of corn that added to the texture of each round piece of Southern-fried goodness. The plate was served with fries, sliced onion and coleslaw. I also enjoyed some wonderful, beer-battered onion rings with the catfish.
The barbecue at the Pig ‘N Chik is legendary. So, when the luncheon version of the BBQ Sample Platter arrived, I was anxious to dig in. The platter included two tender, fall-off-the-bone ribs, two slices of perfectly smoked beef brisket and a large serving of sliced, smoked sausage, as well as tangy baked beans, coleslaw, potato salad and tomato relish. Each component of the barbecue symphony was on-key and brilliant. Gore showed me a tub of ribs that he had just pulled from the smoker. They were works of art, as he is a master smoker.
I loved the Smoked Half-Chicken Plate, which delivered a mouthwatering aroma and good, smoky flavor. The yard bird had a nice dark bark and was super moist. I took the opportunity to try both the spicy and regular barbecue sauces with the chicken. It was a toss-up as to which one was best, as both were excellent.
Gore learned how to make pies during his job at the truck stop and is now an expert dessert maker. The Peach Cobbler was a treat. The fresh crust and sweet peaches were topped with a nice scoop of vanilla ice cream. Other sweet options include Chocolate Meringue Pie, Coconut Meringue Pie, Fried Pies, Banana Pudding, Carrot Cake and much more.