I am a fan of barbecue anytime, but in the summer, I especially crave it. I shared Wood N’ Hog’s daily specials and options for curbside and delivery. The pictures of their food make me hungry just looking at them.
The new location is on the north edge of Downtown Champaign on Walnut Street. I called my order in, and there were many street spots available when I arrived to pick up my order.
The first thing I noticed when I walked in to the restaurant was the delicious, smoky smell.
The interior of the restaurant was clearly new with black booths along one wall and several large circles on the ground denoting social distancing.
The counter at the front is open to the kitchen and the staff preparing meals behind it.
They had a television playing Hamilton, and I was entertained while I waited for my order to be ready. When my lunch was ready, I took it to go.
I ordered a bit of everything: the daily special, wings, ribs, and sides.
I tried the Friday special of pulled pork for $5.99. It came with one side, so I picked coleslaw. The pulled pork came on a soft sandwich bun and with mild barbecue sauce.
The pulled pork sandwich was a yummy mess. The pork itself was stringy and meaty with an intense smoky flavor. It was so tender and so good. The bun was soft and soaked in barbecue sauce. I chose the mild sauce for this, and it was perfect: both smoky and sweet.
The side of coleslaw was small. I had about six or seven bites before it was gone. It was pretty tasty. The slaw had a thin, white sauce that was creamy and sweet. I will be ordering a medium or large next time.
I also ordered the combination of half slab of ribs and wings ($18.25). The combo came with a half slab of ribs slathered in sauce next to a pile of french fries with three skin-on, bone-in huge wings lightly sauced with two pieces of white bread on top.
The slices of white bread were very soft, and one of them was squished into the wings. It fell apart when I picked it up. I had never tried white bread on my wings, so I tried it that day. It was pretty good; it was like a wing sandwich in a bite.
The wings: hot damn, they were fantastic. I love wings. I don’t think I’ve had wings in C-U like these. These were gigantic; these ain’t no Buffalo Wild Wings wings. The meat was smoky and flavorful. It was easy to pull the meat from the bones, and almost every bone was picked clean because the meat was so tender. I tried the mixed sauce on my wings, and it was a slow burn. I didn’t really feel the heat until after I’d eaten one whole wing; then, my mouth had a light, delicious burn to it.
Under the wings was a pile of french fries drizzled with the mixed barbecue sauce. They were so good. It was probably the sauce, but it was a perfect complement to the pork. Be warned: if you like crispy, crunchy fries, these aren’t them. If you like your fries a bit softer and saucy, you’ll love these.
The half slab came with seven good-sized ribs slathered in the mild barbecue sauce. The ribs were my favorite part of the meal. The meat was smoky (as Wood N’ Hog promises: All smoke, no joke), and the outside had a bit of crispiness to it. These ribs were the best part of the whole meal.
I wanted just about every side on their menu, but I calmed myself and ordered just three: baked beans, baked mac ‘n cheese, and cornbread.
I ordered the medium baked beans for $2.49. They were soft and delicious with a brown sugar sweetness. They weren’t anything special, but they were good.
The baked mac n’ cheese ($3.99) was bomb. It was definitely something special. Soft noodles with a creamy cheesy goodness, this mac n’ cheese had chunks of cheese and a good amount of pepper. This is a must order item.
Lastly, I tried the cornbread slice ($0.75). It was a decadent cake with corn flavor. The square was sweet and buttery with a good texture from the cornmeal. Next time, I would order two.
Overall, it’s a delicious, casual dining restaurant in Champaign. You don’t get to choose from 16 different rubs or sauces; Wood N’ Hog only offers three sauces: mild, spicy, or mixed. I found that you don’t need many choices because these three sauces are fantastic. The sides on the menu are all simple and classic barbecue sides. It’s the kind of dinner that you pile a little bit of everything on your plate, and if they mix a bit: the fries, the beans, the ribs, the mac, the slaw, then together, it tastes even better.
Wood N’ Hog is a straightforward smoky barbecue option that is definitely worth a try.
Wood N’ Hog
500 Walnut St
Su-Th 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
F+Sa 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.