Pork has long been a New Year’s Day tradition. The custom is based on the idea that pigs symbolize progress. The animal pushes forward, rooting itself in the ground before moving. Roast suckling pig is served for New Year’s in Cuba, Spain, Portugal, Hungary, and Austria—Austrians are also known to decorate the table with miniature pigs made of marzipan. Different pork dishes such as pig’s feet are enjoyed in Sweden while Germans feast on roast pork and sausages. Pork is also consumed in Italy and the United States, where thanks to its rich fat content, it signifies wealth and prosperity. They say the more pork in your meal, the more luck you will have.
The Southern New Year’s Day menu often includes greens, black-eyed peas, cornbread, hoppin’ john, and pork to help bring luck and fortune in the new year. Since I’m spending New Year’s day down South, I thought I’d share some of my favorite Southern spots that smoke up some good pork butts. Happy New Year!
Zeb’s BBQ- Danielsville, GA
This place has been around since the 1960s if not longer. Zeb’s is a small, family owned business, with grandmothers, mothers, and daughters holding down the fort. The interior is my favorite part of Zeb’s: communal style tables, with centerpiece of Sunbeam bread, hot sauce, paper towels, and other condiments, and walls are lined with racing posters and other memorabilia. Doesn’t get much more Southern than this place. They serve up tasty pulled pork sandwiches and one of my favorite brunswick stews.
Southern Soul BBQ- St. Simons Island, Georgia
My hometown spot for barbecue! I’ve been a Southern Soul fan since they opened in 2006 in a tiny kitchen in the Pier Village behind Palm Coast Coffee. It’s been inspiring to watch their brand has grown over the years and their food gets better and better. My go to order is a pulled pork plate: huge portion of pork with two sides (killer hand cut fries and greens). I love their smoked chicken salad too.
Saw’s BBQ- Birmingham, AL
Saw’s opened it’s first location back in 2009; a tiny restaurant with about 15 tables in a busy residential area of Homewood. It is always packed! In addition to the original Saw’s in Homewood, they have opened up Saw’s Juke Joint in Crestline, and Saw’s Soul Kitchen in Avondale. I first sampled Saw’s at Food Blog South and was blown away! Now every visit to Birmingham includes a pit stop at Saw’s. Each locale is a little different but they all serve up awesome food. Don’t forget the white BBQ sauce!
Southern New Year’s Day Traditions: Southern Living
Lucky Foods for the New Year: Epicurious