Hogzilla BBQ Express
You can never have too much BBQ in town. Last month, a Battle Creek mainstay opened up a carry-out shop in an old Little Caesars in Kalamazoo’s Milwood Neighborhood
Hogzilla BBQ Express is on Cork Street at the intersection with Burke Street just to the northwest of Cork Lane Shopping Center. The building is a little tough to find. There is no big exterior sign right now. The Little Caesars sign is still there although it’s painted black. There are banners hanging on the side of the building, but they are kind of busy and the Hogzilla logo doesn’t really stand out.
The restaurant is a carry-out only with no seating inside the small shop. The interior has been renovated to get rid of the orange and black of the famous pizza chain and it really doesn’t even look like it used to be a pizza shop. Had I not noticed the old sign out front, I never would have guessed.
J and L stayed home while I drove across town to pick up lunch. J and I both like Pulled Pork so I got us each a sandwich. I got the regular for her which is served on a round hamburger bun while I got the large that is served on a hoagie roll. The sandwiches come with the option for either two sides or a side and a drink. For J’s sandwich, I went with two sides. I got the BBQ Beans and Grannie’s Mac and Cheese. With my sandwich, I got an order of fries and a can of Coke. The cost was a little over $18.
The food took maybe ten minutes to be put together in the kitchen. The whole time, the cashier, who is also the owner, talked my ear off. Very friendly guy who loves what he does. He could have just walked away until the food was up, but he stayed up front and just shot the bull with me until my meal was bagged up and I was on my way.
J and I have both eaten at the Battle Creek location on separate occasions. I ate there with a co-worker when it was known as Sonny’s BBQ Pit. We were there on a Sunday afternoon and took advantage of the buffet. I really liked it that day and looked for reasons to go back. J had a different experience a few years ago on Christmas Eve when she stopped there with one of her co-workers. She also wasn’t feeling well at the time and was hoping that was the issue. She didn’t really like the pulled pork sandwich she got that time, but was willing to give Hogzilla a second chance now that they opened a shop in Kalamazoo.
Unfortunately, J’s experience wasn’t much different this time. She likes her pulled pork sandwiches to be shredded sort of finely and she really likes a lot of BBQ sauce. This sandwich looks like it was hand pulled so there are big chunks of meat. There was also very little to no BBQ sauce on the meat. She tried adding some more sauce from the fridge, but it just didn’t do anything for her.
I, on the other hand, prefer my pulled pork sandwiches like this. My sandwich had the same hand pulled, slow smoked pork with a thin, vinegary sauce on it. The meat was very tender and I was even lucky enough to get some burnt ends. The bun had a nice toast to it as well and soaked up the thin sauce that was also pretty sparse on my sandwich…but again, I like the lack of sauce so I can just enjoy the meat.
J also struck out on the sides. The beans were in a pretty thin sauce and she said they were undercooked. On the plus side, she didn’t really like the sauce that was in the beans. Had she not given up on the sandwich, she may have tried dumping some of that sauce on the meat.
Grannie’s Mac and Cheese was very cheesy, but came out of the Styrofoam container in one piece. L wasn’t too wild about it and J was only so-so with it, but J did eat most of it. I ended up finishing off L’s and I didn’t think it was that bad. It’s probably much better right out of the oven when it’s a gooey, stringy clump of macaroni noodles.
My french fries were a big hit all around the table. The crispy, thin cut, skin-on fries had a Cajun seasoning dusting to them that all three of us really enjoyed. I ordered the fries as part of my meal, but J and L ended up meeting the majority of them. L really liked them asking for more faster than she could eat what was in front of her. J was dipping the fries in the sauce from the beans which made them very tasty.
So, the overall on Hogzilla BBQ Express was a mixed bag for us. I enjoyed it and would definitely eat there again. J wasn’t really impressed with any part of her meal and has kinda given up on Hogzilla.