Takeout offers made-to-order holiday


POSTED: Wednesday, July 01, 2009

The Fourth of July holiday is not complete without fireworks, blue skies and barbecue. If, for some reason you should find yourself without the latter, don't fret. Two of our newest take-out spots have you covered, and at a reasonable cost, to boot:


Before you even look at the menu here, you'll be caught in the spell of the smoky aromas emanating from Hog Island BBQ when Wayne Kauppi opens the door to his W'ham smoker, devised by BBQ grand champion John H. Willingham. Don't be surprised if you find yourself becoming too weak to resist incantations to sample beef brisket ($8.25), pulled pork ($7.95), chicken ($7.45) and babyback rib plates (half rack $13.95, full $24.75).

With every “;would you like that?”; I felt uncharacteristically agreeable.

“;Scalloped potatoes?”; Sure.




Hog Island BBQ


        1137 11th Ave. (behind Big City Diner) » 388-7784

Food: ;*;*;*;*
        Service: ;*;*;*;*
        Ambience: N/A
        Value : ;*;*;*;*


Hours: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesdays to Sundays Sundays Cost: About $20 to $30 for two




Sweet Home Waimanalo


        41-1025 Kalanianaole Highway (next to Natually Hawaiian Gallery » 259-5737

Food: ;*;*;*;*
        Service: ;*;*;*;*
        Ambience: ;*;*;*
        Value: ;*;*;*;*


Hours: 10:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. daily Cost: About $20 to $25 for two


Ratings compare similar restaurants:
        ;*;*;*;* - excellent
        ;*;*;* - very good; exceeds expectations
        ;*;* - average
        ;* - below average.




“;Coleslaw with dried cranberries?”; Yes, please.

“;You have to try the chicken!”; OK! (I'm rarely enthusiastic about chicken.)

Hog Island specializes in Memphis-style dry-rub ribs, my favorite, that is nearly impossible to find in sauce-loving Hawaii. They use 29 herbs and spices in their well-balanced blend. The only thing that would make it better - to my taste - is a heavy dose of oregano, but that may not be regionally correct.

If you must have sauce, they offer a light homemade version made of beer, molasses and tomato that I enjoyed most on the brisket. I'll eat brisket when working, but I rarely order it as a civilian because it's almost always leathery. This is the exception, the only BBQ joint where I'd be tempted to choose beef over sweeter pork. In case you're looking for something to bring to a Fourth of July potluck, the brisket sells for $12.95 per pound.

All the meats served here are slow-cooked at a low 225 degrees using oak pellets for a smooth finish that won't leave you feeling like a parched fire breather. What you get is an even crust, with a red smoke ring just below, and at

12 hours cooking time, you're left with a tender, non-greasy miracle.

Their version of a pulled-pork sandwich ($6.95) incorporates a large, clean dice of its wood-fired pork. Food takes a lot of styling to be picture perfect, but all the food here is dazzling to look at, as well as taste. They are that attentive to details.

Kauppi, a San Francisco foodie, took over the operation of the Golden Gate Park Golf Course and clubhouse in 2001, where he launched Ironwood BBQ to much acclaim. After moving here three years ago and finding nothing comparable, he decided to open Hog Island. It's easily the best BBQ on the island to date. All that's missing is the back yard or beach. They do some seating on the upstairs deck, sharing limited space with popular Himalayan Kitchen. Assume you'll have to do take out.


Driving along Kalanianaole Highway, just look for the horse figure outside Patrick Ching's Naturally Hawaiian Gallery, as well as Sweet Home Waimanalo's bright pink pig smoker, dedicated to the zucchini, bell peppers and other veggies that go into its black bean and corn salad, one of six sides available on its slow-smoked BBQ plates.

I had hit Hog Island first and felt a little guilty about pigging out on so much meat. I was wishing there was a place that offered the evil with its antidote, specifically, the antioxidant rich purple sweet potato.

True to the 'hood, the owners highlight Waimanalo greens and produce in their salads and sides, and I was ecstatic to find an Okinawan sweet potato and mango chutney salad as one of the healthful side dishes. There's also crisp bok choi slaw, and for more traditional types, old-fashioned slow-cooked BBQ beans and potato mac salad.

You can also drink in your vitamins in the form of an acai smoothie ($4.95) with blueberries, strawberries, bananas and apple juice, or golden Makapuu Point smoothie ($4.25) featuring papayas, mango, pineapple, bananas and soy milk.

Plate options here include St. Louis pork ribs ($9.95), slow-cooked pork ($8.50), tri-tip steak ($10.25), pulled pork ($8.25), kalua pork ($8.25) and Waimanalo honey-citrus chicken breast ($8.95). To go with those are your choice of guava chipotle, honey mustard or beer BQ sauce.

Meat here is also slow-cooked, for excellent results, tender and clean to the eye and palate. Considering the smoky aromas surrounding the small restaurant, the pork and steak have only a faint tinge of smoke flavor and I see little point of driving out of the way for barbecue this tame. The smokiest dish I tried was the fish taco ($7.95 for two), finished with cabbage, pineapple salsa and lime cream.

I'd be more likely to return for the sides, and considering the amount of meat we're normally exposed to, that may be a good thing.


Nadine Kam's restaurant review appears every Wednesday in the Star-Bulletin. Restaurants are reviewed anonymously. Meals are paid by the Star-Bulletin.