For Peg Leg Porker owner Carey Bringle, barbecue is more than a meal; it is a lifestyle. The veteran pitmaster’s low temperature and slow cooking method—a skill he said he picked up when mentored by his uncle in competitive barbecuing—means more time to kick back and relax with family and friends.
“I’ve been cooking barbecue for 35 years,” Bringle said. “It’s a way of life. It’s about firing up the smokers, setting out chairs and having fun with loved ones.”
Born and raised in Nashville, Bringle’s roots stem back to 1827 when his family settled in Covington, Tennessee, a town 40 miles northeast of Memphis. More than a century later, he said his grandparents played a crucial role in his love for Memphis-style barbecue.
“Growing up, barbecue was always the narrative,” he said. “My grandfather was a doctor and delivered the children of many well-known barbecue families, and my grandmother clipped out and mailed every barbecue story she could find.”
Despite more than 20 years competing in the Memphis-based World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest, Bringle waited until 2013 to open a restaurant of his own. Peg Leg Porker—a three-story building in The Gulch that was formerly home to Shannon Electric Co.—keeps things simple with appetizers and five entree choices such as pulled pork sandwiches and dry rub ribs, Bringle said.
“On a typical day, we’re going to serve between 250 to 300 racks of ribs,” he said. “On a nice Saturday, that number can jump to 350.”
Peg Leg Porker’s west Tennessee influence extends beyond the plate, Bringle said. Inside the concrete building, family photos and competition trophies tell the story of the pitmaster’s life and passion for barbecue.
“Everything you see in Peg Leg Porker is our family story,” he said. “When people come here, we want them to feel like they’ve known us their whole life. It’s more than a meal; it’s an experience.”
Peg Leg Porker
903 Gleaves St., Nashville
Hours: Mon.-Tue. 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Wed.-Sat. 11 a.m.-10 p.m., closed Sun.