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Sandwich of the Week: Dixson Bar-B-Que's Pig Burger in Knoxville, Tenn.
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You'd be forgiven for driving past Dixson Bar-B-Que even though it's in downtown Knoxville, Tenn. One reason is that it's not in a part of downtown that you might be in a rush to visit. Another is that it's set back from the street. The third, is that it, and everything around it (including a nightclub) always seem to be closed. Even when it's supposed to be open, it doesn't seem to be open. But if you do catch them open you'll be rewarded with a great sandwich called the "pig burger."
When is Dixson Bar-B-Que open? Thursday? Friday? Saturday. Sort of. They might not be open during the hours it says on the sign. It seems to depend on whether they have a catering gig. Even if the sign on the front door says "Closed," the nice guy who is the pitmaster may be making ribs in the cage out front and invite you in anyway. "Oh," he'll say when you point the sign out to him, "that's from yesterday." It's that kind of place.
If you do get inside you'll see a brown Formica counter with a yellow sign behind it listing the food on offer, an old soda machine filled with generic sodas, and one little table where you can sit and watch in the back where they make the pig burgers.
The pig burger might not sound like much, and it doesn't look like much when it arrives wrapped in foil (like much here), whether ordered to go or for there. And because there's just one table, almost everything ends up being ordered to go. When you open the foil, the pig burger still doesn't look like much. It's just two slices of white bread containing some grilled onions, barbeque sauce, and a pork patty.
But it sure tastes like a heck of a lot. That barbeque sauce is tomatoey and sweet with a great smokiness. And the pork patty is juicy — made right there in front of you by awesome people in about two minutes. To be honest, you don't need much else. This sandwich, as simple as it sounds is enough to draw locals regularly, and also garnered the attention of Travel Channel's Adam Richman of Man V. Food.
If you do need more, ask the the woman behind the counter about sides (which aren't on the board). "Well," she'll likely say, "you have to get the baked beans." They also have potato salad and cole slaw, but she says the baked beans are her favorites because they have big chunks of pork.
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